Last week I was invited to have dinner and check out Glendon Bar + Kitchen, a relatively new restaurant in Westwood Village. Considering I grew up in Westwood, went to high school across the street from UCLA, and basically hung out at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Lamonica's pizzeria and Aaah's during my formative years, I have a soft spot for the college town in my heart. Even though it's experienced a lot of ups and downs over the years, Westwood's culinary options remain on par for college students -- various coffee shops and cafés, Chili's, California Pizza Kitchen, BJ's Brewhouse and the infamous Diddy Riese cookies. The few upscale restaurants have either gone out of business (RIP Gardens on Glendon) or reside inside the Westwood's W Hotel.
View of Glendon dining room from second story lounge
Glendon Bar + Kitchen is a great alternative for those not interested in hanging out with buzzed college students or spending a chunk of change on a dinner at Palomino. It's run by two young guys who essentially wanted a place to hang out that had the vibe and menu of a sophisticated Hollywood restaurant without, well, the commute or the attitude. Think dim lighting, vaulted wood ceilings, exposed brick walls, and chocolate-hued leather booths custom-made by Jecco design that give the space a warm yet chic feel. They see UCLA professors sitting next to businessmen sitting next to grad students. The Glendon is definitely grown-up for a college town, but it's nowhere near stuffy.
Glendon Bar + Kitchen's Dining Room
The menu, as described to our dinner group, isn't designed to be groundbreaking. Rather, it's good food for a good price, which is nothing to scoff at. There's typical bar food like baked mac & cheese, addictive Cajun calamari, and a slider tasting trio including crab cake, chicken breast and beef. Entrées include a wide variety of salads, pastas, thin crust pizzas, sandwiches and dinner plates such as grilled salmon, coffee-crusted seared Ahi, the Glendon filet, and a "House," "Diner," and chicken burger. The dessert menu, filled with warm chocolate cake and an airy cheesecake with caramel was designed by Renee Faris of TLC's Cake Boss. If you plan on drinking, check out the bar's "All Day" $5 martini menu; or the Valentine's Day wine menu, arranged by "First Date," "Second Date," and "Third Date" options. A twice-daily happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. and again from 1o p.m. to midnight with a selection of half-priced food and booze.
Whiskey BBQ Meatballs (one of the group's favorites)
Roasted Goat Cheese Eggplant with "Hint" of Tomato (one of my faves)
Our dinner included a tasting of some of the chef's favorite dishes (Caprese "Tar Tar"), and we were also guinea pigs for a few kitchen experiments, e.g. potato and bacon soup shooter. After all was said and done, I have to give kudos to the Glendon for not misrepresenting itself. The food is tasty with some creative touches and a modest price point. Exactly what they're going for.
Black Bean Hummus with Pita Bread
Caprese "Tar Tar" & Grilled Baguette
Potato & Bacon Soup Shooter
Korean Pork Belly Tacos (Cured pork belly marinated in spocy Korean BBQ sauce)
Baked Brie & Fig Toast with Honey and Spices
Cheesecake and chocolate dessert, created by Renee Faris, of TLC's Cake Boss fame.
Glendon Bar + Kitchen: 1071 Glendon Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-2023.