Gregg Hunter’s Newspace

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Back when I was hosting The Celebrity Table broadcasts from the legendary Hollywood Brown Derby I’d hear guest after guest order the fabled Derby Cobb Salad, certainly a good choice. But my favorite dish was the sautéed Catalina Sand Dabs which also happened to be the only fish featured on the menu.

Last I heard the delicacy could no longer be harvested near the Catalina shores due to pollution issues. There are other sources along the Pacific shores where the petit treats (less than a pound each) feed on crustaceans and get bottom trolled, then scaled and gutted and gently filleted while freshly moist and mild — but never ‘fishy’.

Possibly because they require such swift and careful prep, sand dabs (often billed as ‘sandabs’) are a rarity hereabouts. When I get the tasty urge I head straight to Frank’s Steak House. The dabs are $12.95 with potatoes or veggies and fresh-baked bread. Add $1.95 for a house salad or a hearty home style soup. Chef Jose finishes his specialty with a perfect lemon butter sauce sprinkled with capers. Mmmm—good.

Special as they are, the Sand Dabs are one of many reasons to dine here. It’s been several successful seasons since Jose Lopez, the popular former chef at Genio’s, acquired the local landmark and earnestly re-energized the inviting retro place. That special look resulted in a recent location shoot during which co-stars Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks were on the scene. Jose reports that Hanks was ‘one regular guy” and has an autographed shot with the super star as a keepsake.

Back to reality. Breakfast is served all day from 7 a.m. with several choices budget priced at $4.50. There are also daily lunch or dinner budget specials. It’s just $7.95, including soup or salad, potato and fresh veggies.

Entrees on the regular menu highlight a generous Top Sirloin Steak, $14.95, and a New York cut, $17.95, as well as fresh boneless Trout, $11.95, or fresh filet of Salmon, $12.95. There are Chicken entrees and Pasta specialties priced from $10.95.

A lengthy list of popular sandwiches is priced from $6.95 to $8.95. A cut of chocolate mousse pie, $3.95. It deserves your sweet consideration.

Family friendly Frank’s serves until 9 p.m. daily and there’s convenient self-parking. They’re located at 916 West Olive Avenue in Burbank.

For years most hot dog addicts cared more about what went on the wienie than what went into the grind which was usually a mix of pork, chicken and turkey. Then came the all-beef and Kosher dogs, definite though pricier franks. And now the Ball Park people have gone up another taste and price notch with its new and very tasty Angus Beef Franks. Can the Kobe dog be far behind? Pass the mustard!

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The Curious Palate

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