I like driving to the top of a hill; the horizon comes ever closer and one never knows what to expect at the end of such journey.
This time however, I kind of had an idea: Castaway has a reputation as one of Burbank’s finest dining experiences, and today I was excited for it to nourish and delight yours truly.
The sun was on its way down, and a gentle breeze was flowing through the canyon after a long 99 degrees Fahrenheit day.
“Hi Tim, we’ve been expecting you, welcome! Would you like to sit inside or outside?”
This restaurant is inspired by the 2000 movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks’ plane crashes in the ocean and then he shipwrecks onto an uninhabited island in the Pacific.
The spacious wooden interior, the subtle art on the wall reminiscent of island life, the stylish use of glass: if I would have to shipwreck somewhere, I wouldn’t mind having this place close by.
“I’d like to sit in that booth, next to the window please.”
It was still warm outside. In Southern California, the majestic sun doesn’t rest until the stars push her out of the sky.
With a glass of champagne in my hand, I was overlooking the San Fernando Valley and the downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers in the back. I was checking out the menu and decided to try the Cheese and Charcuterie Bar which would come well-loaded with sparkling treats from all over Europe. My favorites ended up being the Culatello di Zibello, aka ‘little ass,’ from Italy and the Rulo de Cabra, goat cheese from Spain.
Then after careful consideration I was ready to choose the piece of meat I was going to devour. (I’m part-time vegan, but when some of nature’s best flavors are on the menu, I’m not in any position to limit myself.)
My server Brianna returned to me and requested a moment for her suggestions. I’m not one to be stubborn (don’t ask my ex-wife!), so I’d give almost anything a try. Brianna however appeared to be a mind reader and recommended the exact dishes I was considering. We decided that I would have the zabuton, from Snake River Farms, and the supporting cast was going to be the classic potato puree with chives and the asparagus with salsa verde.
As the food comes….
The zabuton, medium rare when I have the chance and sliced in four, had a gorgeous color palette from dark browns to deep reds, and a taste that reminds me why I’m not a 100 percent plant-based eater.
The potato puree is a blast, a perfect mixture of some of nature’s core elements, with a spicy touch of horseradish. If its taste would represent its nutritious values this could be a stand-alone main dish.
The asparagus came grilled and subtly sauced. It’s amongst my favorite vegetables and this one was exceptionally well done and very well eaten.
Once my plates were empty, I thought it to be a good time to continue my adjournment to the outside. The sun’s appearance on the 118° W was coming to an end, and while she was on her way to hide behind the mountain, I overlooked four deer that were grazing below me on the golf course.
The dessert menu was brought to me as a message in a bottle. I wasn’t at all feeling like Tom Hanks: this Castaway was abundant with, this time, the tastiest dessert in town. It was time for a passion fruit cheesecake, a perfect end to a tasteful evening.
After Castaway, it could only go downhill.
Castaway is located at 1250 E. Harvard Road, Burbank, CA 91501. They are open Monday – Thursday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. They have a full bar and their entrees range from $25 – $70. For more information, call (818) 848-6691 or visit castawayburbank.com.