Shabby and Chic: Riverside Cafe

a-matredA commercial I see on television often now is the one for Sour Patch Kids candy, where a chewy, sugar coated sour candy figure plays terrible pranks on people, only to get away with it because, “first they’re sour, then they’re sweet.” I don’t know anyone who’s charm is so big that they can actually get away with chopping off someone’s hair, throwing eggs with intent to hurt, and allowing a cheerleader to fall on her butt!

When it comes to a restaurant, however, there is a place that is so lovely and charming that it can get away with pretty much anything – even tables and chairs made out of cheap plastic straight from Home Depot.

Tucked away in the residential neighborhood of Burbank is Riverside Café, a roadside French bistro so tiny that you can drive by it and never realize that you just passed a little gem of a place. The restaurant serves selections from an authentic French menu, from French Onion Soup to lamb – a little difficult to believe from the extremely humble, bungalow-like exterior.

a-shephard-pieI ordered a medium rare Maitre’d (top), a 12 oz. steak smothered in rich and flavorful garlic butter mixed with a generous portion of chopped Italian parsley. The meat was a little on a tough side but a full juicy flavor burst in my mouth at every bite. My boyfriend ordered the Shepard Pie (above), a layer of seasoned, slow-cooked ground beef resting nicely between a bed of mashed potatoes from the chef’s daily offerings, with a side of crisp French fries (which I devoured most of, as usual).

A dining experience at Riverside Café is like having an intimate dinner at friend’s — a friend who has absolutely no sense of style with her not-so-chic-but-very-shabby floral table cloth and plastic furniture — but can cook up a wonderful and cozy meal that will compensate for all the shortcomings.

Riverside Café: 1221 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91506

★★★★☆

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