The week-end pleasures of a movie and dinner are not easily obtained when in a mall. Aside from places like Westside Tavern, there are very few restaurants in malls where you would chose to go if you were not already there for a movie or a store.

Mika & I went to an afternoon movie, so we wanted something in the late afternoon and did not want to settle for the big corporate chains, so we tried Townhouse Kitchen+Bar in the Sherman Oaks Galleria. This place is especially worthy of a try during their TWO happy hours when drinks and appetizers are $5 (about half off regular menu prices) between 4-6pm weekdays and from 11pm-1am. They have rotating specials, like $3 Blue Moon Beer, and every Tuesday burgers are $5. It’s a place that is comfortable enough to welcome you in jeans yet nicely appointed enough to take a first date.

Service was top notch from the hostess to our waiter Greg and our small plates were so beautifully presented that our eyes feasted before our stomachs did. I had a glass of MacMurray Pinot Noir for $11 which was served in a stemless glass and when I commented to Greg how much I appreciated the way it was served, he said he was glad because some people prefer stemware. For restaurants and drinkers, stemless are much more practical and I don’t see why anyone would complain about a practical choice!

The first appetizer of Tequila Shrimp ($11.99) had a nice mango salsa and spicy bite. The shrimp were not spectacular, a bit undercooked and obviously not seared, but the spices and salsa helped made up for it.

We chose the grilled asparagus side which was charred and lightly salted with coarse grains.

And the beet lollipops covered in pistachios and served with a blue cheese dipping sauce that was so mild even Mika liked it (she hates blue cheese).

The Kurabota pork belly sliders were well seasoned, but a bit dry and they need either more pickles or some sort of spread on the wonderful buns to make them spectacular; we improvised by adding some of the mango salsa from the tequila shrimp which worked well. They were served with thinly sliced buttermilk battered onion rings and ketchup.

Our table looked like a party buffet!

It’s nice to have an alternative in a convenient location which serves good food and offers specials to night owls and day birds alike. Perhaps this Townhouse in the Valley would be a good place to spend next week-end during carmageddon when the 405 shuts down.

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