This week, Jonathan Gold reviews the West Hollywood mainstay Dan Tana’s. Although the restaurant founded in 1964 has been an iconic addition to Hollywood’s history, hosting everyone from "Axl Rose and Springsteen" to George Clooney, it’s the first time the Times critic has reviewed the institution. And though the food is mediocre at best, the Goldster doesn’t seem to really care. Here are the most important lines from the review:
If you are part of the family, you may get a dish named after you — veal Jerry Weintraub, scallopine Karl Malden, braciola Vlade Divac, chopped salad Nicky Hilton, steak Dabney Coleman — although if I were the late Jerry Buss, I might have sued to get my name off the rubbery shrimp scampi.
Dan Tana’s seemed too cool for the Goldster
The modest awning and the red-checked tablecloths assumed an outsize presence in my imagination, as one of the places, like Hyde or Totoraku, that just weren’t for me.
It’s the type of place that remembers your (poorly made) drink
I don’t particularly like the Old Fashioned here, the pre-Cocktailian kind filled out by a couple of squished maraschino cherries, but I like that somebody remembers my drink every time I come in.
Some of the food is bad, but it doesn’t really matter
I think this is the part of the review where I’m supposed to crack wise about the food at Dan Tana’s: the dry breadcrumbs on the clams casino, the bricklike stolidity of the fried mozzarella marinara, the mushiness of the chopped salad or the almost puddinglike softness of the famous sauteed whitefish. I could probably go on a bit about regional Italian cooking and how this isn’t it, [...] and weirdly enough, I don’t care.
Your pasta will be overcooked
This isn’t quite Angelini Osteria, but you do OK with the meat-stuffed cannelloni or the penne arrabiata, although you should be warned that al dente isn’t quite the thing here, and a side of pasta inevitably comes with the meat.
Get the chicken parm
The chicken parmigiana, crisp and annealed under a thick layer of marinara sauce and melted cheese, is exactly what you want when you come to a place like Dan Tana’s, and it shouldn’t surprise you that the eggplant parm and the veal parm provide almost exactly the same sensation.
Just prepare yourself for the bill
[...] Dan Tana’s is not about denying yourself things. The self-recrimination will come later, coinciding with the moment you get the bill.