(When Mod Betty Makes it Big in L.A. she's gonna celebrate at the Smoke House! But until then she's sent her trusty Retro Road Reporter Keith Valcourt to scope out the scene)
Smoke House: “The Place To Meat” Burbank CA
No, the title is not a typo. The Smoke House in Burbank, California is the place to MEAT. The prime rib is prime. Juicy and delicious slabs of melt in your mouth beef. The steak and chops are cooked to perfection as they have been for the past 68 years.
You can tell this place is special just by looking at it from the street. The exterior resembles some sort of vintage “Members Only” lodge adorned with several decades old neon signs. You can see how cool they look during the day from my pictures. That pales to how amazing they are once the sun goes down. At night those signs transform into beacons of Rat Pack-esk hip and cool drawing you in.
Stepping inside the place is like stepping back in time. The lights are dim and the decor thankfully hasn't be updated since John F. Kennedy was in the White House. Wood paneling coats almost every wall. Red leather covers the beautiful booths. Some say it's too dark and you may need the flashlight app on your phone to see the menu, but I say light is over rated and the shadows only add to the mystique of the place. It lets you imagine the famous faces that have dined here, hiding in the shadows.
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were regulars back in the day. As were a who's who of classic film and TV stars. The close proximity to the Warner Brothers Studios (it is just across the street) and the place's old school ambiance make it a magnet for Tinseltown’s elite. George Clooney loves the joint so much he named his production company, “Smokehouse Pictures,” after it. Although there are no guarantees in life, I'm pretty sure on any given night you will see a movie or TV star eating nearby.
Now the Smoke House isn't cheap. If you want that, then you can go to Arbys. On average lunch, with drink and tip will run you about twenty bucks per person. Dinner between thirty and forty. But it's worth it. The portions are big and beyond the main entree' you get soup or salad and mountains of sides. The most economic thing on the menu is the “Special Burger Of The Month.” Don't be fooled, it's not simply a patty on a bun. The chef takes pride is creating a unique palette rocking experience every thirty days. When I was there the juicy giant burger was a bread free, wood fired chopped steak creation served on a bed of mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. It was so good you forgot it was simply a burger.
My favorite for lunch is the Tri-tip sandwich with it's moist meat and fresh baked bun. Dinner is always the the King Cut of succulent prime rib. For you non-carnivores they also offer a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood entrees. Are they good? My seafood allergies prevent me from ever knowing. But did I mention that the meat is succulent? There is also a “Dessert Tray” your seasoned waitress is obligated to bring to your table at your meals end.
The Smoke House has a pretty active bar area with live entertainment several nights a week (Wed thru Sat) if you wanna skip the meat and just grab a dry martini or High Ball. Just make sure you dress your “Mad Men” best to complete the experience.
Since 1946 The Smoke House has been the place to to meat (again not a typo) for special occasions. I just celebrated my forty-seventh birthday there.
I suggest the next time you have milestone to mark (or a friend with an expense account) you swing on in for a ring-a-ding good time.