Sitting high up on the beautiful hillside in Burbank, is the recently remodeled Castaway Restaurant. With new management, a new executive chef and breathtaking views and design, walking into the modern space in the historic spot will truly make you feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore. Although I’ve enjoyed nights out from the traditional menu since their re-opening, it’s the exclusive ‘Chef’s Table’ that has me gushing to everyone and anyone who will listen.
In November, I was generously invited in to the restaurant to try the Chef’s Table and partake in this special dining experience in exchange for my honest opinions. I easily accepted this invitation, but truly wasn’t prepared for the experience I was about to have. My husband and I agreed, that at $125 a person, this would probably be a one time thing for us and for that price, we couldn’t wait to see what the cost of dinner included. It was pure magic. From start to finish…magic.
This is where I tell you straight up, at the beginning of my post, that Chef’s Table at Castaway Burbank is worth every single penny. It’s probably, actually, worth a heck of a a lot more than that and I’d go back. As a matter of fact, we did go back. And paid full price. It’s absolutely worth it and I couldn’t recommend it more.
Now, on with our amazing, exclusive experience.
The Chef’s Table at Castaway is a reservation only dining experience for 2-10 people at a communal table, prepared and served by Chef Perry Pollaci himself alongside his Castaway Culinary Family. Chef’s Table is only available on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:30pm and a $25 dollar deposit per person is required. Your reservation has to be made at least 72 hours in advance to allow the chef to custom create a menu specifically for you, based on the freshest, local and in-season ingredients. You are even asked about food aversions and and allergens prior to this menu being crafted.
And be prepared to spend the entire evening at the table. This dinner is a 6 course meal plus desert event that lasts 3 1/2 to 4 hours. It truly is an experience and so much more than going to dinner at a nice place.
Executive Chef Perry Pollaci was formally the Executive Chef at The Royce at the iconic Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena and another place I adore, Firefly, a staple spot in Studio City.
Burbank is lucky to have him.
Let me take you through my two evenings at Chef’s Table. The food..the feelings..the flavor! Oh, I’ve simply never tasted anything like the dishes that were served to me.
The first Chef’s Table sitting we had was in November and our menu was quite impressive. I’m certain I had no idea what a few of the items were, but I was extremely content to sit and wait until plates were set in front of me.
An amuse bouche is a single, bite-sized bite-sized hors d’œuvre. This amuse bouche had three different bites and they were delicious. From left to right, there was a steak tartar with caviar, a lobster-dog and a succulent piece of pork belly.
The second course of this first sitting was Wild Salmon Belly. When this plate was served, my husband looked at me with worry. He knows I have a hard time with soft fish. However…there was no way I wasn’t going to eat what was served. It’s like being at someone’s house. My mother always told me to eat what was served. Period.
I did not have to choke this down. This belly was delicate and soft like butter. And absolutely delicious. Something else I’ve learned I really love is forbidden rice, also known simply as ‘black rice.’ This rice is crunchy and paired perfectly with the softness of the fish. I love a mix of textures and this was a match made in heaven.
The pumpkin veloute was my absolute favorite dish of the evening. Serving as our 3rd course, this tiny pumpkin packed a punch of flavor I wanted to swim in. I mean it, this was worth the wait and although I had not a full understanding of all of what I was eating, I knew I wanted more. I would have licked this pumpkin clean, had I not been in a public place and wearing a nice dress. The Chinese 5 spice and lobster and pumpkin, it left me speechless. And that doesn’t happen very often.
The 4th course of the evening is one the Castaway is known for…the pink brink. The salt brick is heated to about 800 degrees and you are able to cook your protien to your liking. We were served Wagyu beef with a side of about 13 sauces and sides to dip for flavor enhancing.
The 5th course was a sampling of different different cuts of beef, and what I mean by that, are the most delicate and valued. This was my husband’s favorite dish served to us that evening. He was like a kid in a candy store.
Moving on to the last savory course, was the ‘Sweet Cheesus.’ It’s like a grilled cheese sandwich on steroids. Truffle cheese is all I’m going to say about this one. The one slice of this sandwich is all I would be able to handle. Truffles are magic mushrooms. And not like the kind that make you hallucinate. I’m talking magic. The aroma of truffles is divine and the flavor they add to any dish is strictly its own.
For the final course of the night, it truly is the Destroyer of all deserts. The pastry chef is doing things right, that is absolute truth. It was hard to even grasp the concept that these were all made right there in that restaurant.
Yes, this was all for us. To eat. To actually eat! I was so absolutely impressed with every course handed to us…but this one? This one ‘takes the cake.’ Ha! pun.
This first sitting at the Chef’s Table really, truly surprised me. We sat for nearly 4 hours and had 7 courses served to us. We enjoyed every single bite and had a spectacular evening. We left knowing that what we experienced right here in Burbank was absolutely worth $125 a plate and then some.
So, naturally we went back. My mother in law just turned 71 and we knew we’d love to take her to this dinner, as she really loves special experiences like this.
Here’s the menu for the second sitting we had:
Needless to say, my mother and father-in-law were absolutely pleased with our dinner. But I was more than pleased. I’m going to tell you why Chef Perry and Castaway will forever have my business.
This Amuse Bouche.
When Chef Perry realized that I had eaten at Chef’s Table before, not having had asked me. But because someone had told him or he remembered me visually…he changed what he was going to serve. Instead of serving me the same dish twice, he took time to instruct his team to make something new for me.
This is what Chef’s table is. It is the love of the executive chef for what he does, extended to you through a meal he personally oversees.
Thank you Chef Perry.
For this one, they created for us a 4 bite Amuse Bouche with a fried oyster with caviar, my first bite of octopus, truffle eggs on toast and a duck pate that was probably my favorite bite of the entire meal.
The second course was scallops two ways. I also ate my first bite of raw scallops in this meal and I was delighted. Plates were all cleaned on this one. Delicious!
The third course was the most impressive and probably worth the entire cost of this evening. Maine Lobster Truffle Risotto.
The truffles were brought out and shaved fresh for us right on the plate. The aroma these have is unbelievable. The box they are stored in was opened and the smell immediately traveled down the table. The eggs they made us as well as rice that was made for any dish where truffles are added, are stored with the truffles, as they are porous and digest the aroma of the truffles.
The 4th course of this sitting was another dish I’ve never had. Wild boar. While the boar was a delight to taste, the forbidden rice, gailan and thai glaze was the star for me. I could have eaten an entire bowl of it…but I’m glad I didn’t becaus we still had three more courses to go!
The 5th course of the evening was one we were all waiting for. It was the salt brick beef. This time around we were served A5 Wagyu beef. This, again, was the highlight of my husband’s meal, as he adores this protien…and the very best at that.
The sixth course was the sweet cheesus. We were familiar with this and I’m so glad Chef served it, as my father-in-law is a kind of grilled cheese connoisseur. He was in heaven. Because this ‘grilled cheese’ is taken so far beyond the next level, it’s in a class of its own.
And for the last course of this special birthday celebration is a destoyer sized plate of Castaway’s pastry chef’s very best. Everything is made in house and it’s so obvious it is. How amazing!
Chef’s Table at Castaway Burbank is the exquisite, exclusive dining experience you didn’t know you were missing. This special dining event is one I highly recommend.
For reservations and more information, visit https://www.castawayburbank.com/