Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kate Mantilini, Industry Staple

In the few short weeks I’ve been working the “biz”, my stepfather’s restaurant has popped up in conversation several times. The actors I work with often ask me about myself and my background. Inevitably we pass through my public school teacher mother, lawyer father, and reach the point where I admit, “Well, my stepfather’s a chef." "Where?"  "Kate Mantilini!”

Nearly everyone in Hollywood knows Kate’s, the industry staple for agents and actors to attend lunch meetings or stop by after screenings. Considered gourmet comfort food, the restaurant is run by my stepfather, David Lewis, and his brother, Adam Lewis. Established in 1987 by their parents Marilyn and Harry Lewis after the success of their Hamburger Hamlet’s franchise, Kate Mantilini’s “provides wonderful, American home-cooked meals like (but a lot better than) Mom used to make.” Though one could argue I have a slight bias for this entertainment hot-spot, writing about Kate’s is easy – the food never disappoints.

Located on the corner of Robertson and Wilshire, Kate’s menu has everything you could ask for in American-style dining. From seared ahi medallions, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs, and Best of LA Magazine rated chicken pot pie, the possibilities are endless. After over a decade of knowing David and chowing down at Kate’s, I still have not tried everything on the menu. Both David and Adam are so hands on with their work that every dish is fine-tuned to perfection. The brothers also explore the new trends in Los Angeles cuisine, keeping their finger on the pulse and providing new delicacies as often as possible.

Recently, they joined the wonderful world of social networking with twitter and facebook, along with adding a brand new happy hour menu! Keep posted, as I’m planning an excursion to the lovely Kate’s with some friends and co-workers to get the full scoop on this deal. With $5 appetizers and martinis, I have a feeling this addition to the menu will be met with resounding praise.

My top picks, in no particular order:

“Our Famous Macaroni and Cheese w. Canadian Natural Cheddar” 

Available as an entrée or on the happy hour menu, this was my first and only choice when I first started eating at Kate’s as a 9 year old. It might surprise you to hear that this foodie was once one of the pickiest eaters on the planet, only desiring macaroni and cheese or spaghetti with meatballs. This mac and cheese, however, is not your average kid’s meal. Topped with breadcrumbs and swimming in creamy splendor, Kate’s kicks your childhood favorite up a notch.

“Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables and Creamy Horseradish”

Served Thursday – Sunday while they last, these succulent ribs are to die for. Slide off the bone tender, they are smeared with a slightly spicy BBQ sauce and dipped in David’s whipped into submission potatoes. If you can’t nab the special, go for the regular BBQ Ribs, just as delicious and a constant on the dinner menu.

“Crispy Calamari with Spicy Marinara and Lemon Basil Aioli” 

At both my high school and college graduations, David catered some of my favorites, including Kate’s signature white chili and grilled eggplant with buffalo mozzarella and salsa. The appetizer that was gobbled up in minutes, however, were the seemingly simple proscuitto sandwiches. Their secret --that decadent lemon basil aioli. Since calamari can so often be too chewy, too crispy, or be served with a bland marinara, Kate’s hits it out of the park. With the tangy amatriciana sauce and lemon basil aioli, the combo will disappear in minutes!

“Grilled Artichoke with Chipotle Mayo and Creamy Mustard”

David brings these bad boys home for my mother and I all the time. Steamed and then grilled with a little bit of lemon, salt and pepper, this starter is excellent to share or keep all to yourself!

“Kate’s Special Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Chopped Kale” 

Until the last time I ate at Kate’s, I hadn’t sampled their famous meatloaf.  I was under the impression that I didn’t like meatloaf, both in taste and as a concept. Boy, when I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I don’t know the special ingredient is, and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you, but the vigorous flavor in the meatloaf is absolutely sinful. Since trying Kate Mantilini's version, I have ventured to eat a few bites and nibbles of others, to utter disappointment.

* Other delicious options: seared ahi tuna with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, grilled double breasted chicken brushed with grainy mustard, jumbo shrimp cocktail, and the hot open face turkey sandwich… just to name a few!

Open Mondays 8-10, Tuesday-Thursday 8-12, Saturday 11-1, and Sunday 10-10, Kate Mantilini’s is always a treat. Their other location in Woodland Hills serves lunch and dinner, while the original Beverly Hills spot serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night. Happy hour runs Monday-Friday 4-8, and stay tuned for another review on that later this week!

Kate Mantilini
9201 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA


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