By Any and Everywhere | June 13, 2016
When Elephant Bar closed in Burbank, I wondered what would fill the corner space in the Downtown area. Now we know the answer–Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill. Last week, the restaurant hosted a media preview of its 17th California outpost, which features a large bar and lounge area next to a spacious dining room. The main dining space faces an open kitchen with numerous booths and banquettes for guests. The menu features all of the main dishes that are Wood Ranch specialties, but there are three new ones that will only be served in Burbank. The Ultimate BBQ Sandwich is Carolina pulled pork, Carolina slaw, swiss cheese-topped brisket, kielbasa, grilled jalapeño and fried, shredded onions on brioche. Manny’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich is a stack of brined and fried thighs paired with peanut-cilantro slaw on brioche. Last but not least, patrons can nosh on smoked pulled pork nachos with Monterey jack and cheddar, black beans, jalapeños, salsa, guacamole and sour cream available only at the bar. Those nachos are also on the happy hour menu offered Mon-Fri from 3-6p.
Those familiar with Wood Ranch BBQ’s menu will be happy to know that its solid selection of house-smoked ribs and brisket, roasted chicken and Western Carolina-style pulled pork remain as signature offerings on the menu, along with burgers, steaks and salads. As a vegetable-lover, I can appreciate the focus on a mix of sides (many traditional, others on the healthier end of the spectrum), as well as nearly ten market salads. As much as we may love grilled and smoked meats, this is L.A.–we need options to add balance to the meal. The BBQ Chopped is a bowlful of Texmex ingredients with your choice of chicken or tri tip over mixed greens with ranch and bbq sauce. Notables sides include mashed sweet potatoes, grilled asparagus, fiery green beans, peanut cole slaw and mashed potatoes.
Speaking of balance, the menu features a few made-in-house desserts, including crushed Oreo cookie-coated balls of ice cream, peach cobbler, chocolate cake, and what Wood Ranch deems “the best cheesecake”. Wood Ranch Burbank opens today at 4pm for dinner. The restaurant will operate on a dinner-only basis for the first week and a half, launching lunch service on June 22.
The Guild’s new American fare hit Sunset Boulevard in April, and the restaurant hopes its take on Californian-inspired cuisine will prove to be a lasting addition to Sunset Boulevard. It’s in the space that previously housed the Screen Actors Guild (as well as a few other restaurants), so it’s a location steeped in Hollywood history. The rustic, wood-heavy design and architecture reminiscent of a quaint home foster a warm, intimate dining experience. It’s just the kind of spot you’d enjoy a glass of wine with a friend at the bar or nestle into the back and dine sweetly with a significant other.
The evening menu’s small plates includes a Cuban shepherd’s pie with picadillo and plantain crumble, bone marrow with braised beef tongue and crisped shallots, honey and bacon cornbread, and roasted rainbow vegetables in turmeric butter. Mussels with Italian sausage, Korean beef tartare, and the house’s own Game of Thrones lamb chops with pomegranate demi sauce are just a few of the larger platters. I always find room for dessert and enjoyed the milk & cookies whose best component is the creamy milk sorbet. In addition to this city’s insatiable need for new restaurants, The Guild will soon open its adjoining marketplace. Pick up artisanal goods and wine for summer parties at home, outdoor movie screenings and concerts under the stars.
The Guild’s patio is prime for people watching and enjoying sunny days and warm evenings. The restaurant serves dinner and bottomless weekend brunch, which seems to be necessary in today’s culinary landscape. Happy hour? Yep, it’s on deck as well from Mon-Fri from 5-7p and Sat-Sun from 3-6p.
Disclaimer: Both restaurants hosted complimentary media previews. All opinions are my own.