You Really Can’t Bash on Bashan

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Bashanrestaurant.com I  3459 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208

Once again I forgot to catch a photo of the inside of the spot, but this one I took off their website is pretty much dead on. It looks like they used a wide-angle lens for the shot, because in reality, the location is REALLY tight. Not bad tight though, just tight. This photos also shows the venue during the day, we went for dinner, and it was dark, quiet and very “day spa” feeling.

The ladies here are really nice and welcoming, but it took our waitress about 20 minutes to take our order. I’ve got a feeling there was a mix-up amongst staff. No worries though, we weren’t in a hurry – moving on.

Look I’ve never been one to get in line for free food at a corporate engagement, I actually feel kind of awkward doing so. But something about getting a little amuse (gift from chef) at a fine dining establishment that just makes me happy. It’s the chef’s way of saying “check it out, we appreciate you coming to our spot.” It also gives you an idea of what to expect from the kitchen. This was a butternut squash soup shot & a red onion compote. It was awesome. Simple, silky smooth and completely balanced. Thanks Chef B., you are appreciated.

We ourselves have gained tons of praise from our Pork Belly dishes, so I tend to order it anytime I see it on a menu. Honestly, these guys slapped our version around like an angry Russian women would her undisciplined younger son. Served with Daikon 2x, Pickled Ginger and Garlic Puree plus Charred Shishito Pepper this semi-sloppy plated appetizer was OFF THE HOOK. Period.

Now I hate to be all cliche, but Fois Gras really is something I order anytime I have the opportunity. It’s my favorite edible compound on the entire planet, and it’s really hard to mess up (if you ask me). With that said, these folks really know how to cook this butter like fragile protein. Crispy and caramelized on the outside and marshmallow mushy on the inside. Accompanied by Cherry Puree, Brioche Crouton, Baby Tatsoi & Pickled Cherries – this was worth all $19.

Classic Oysters on a half shell served with Apple Mignonette & Cocktail Consommé. I must say, like Fois Gras, I almost always enjoy oysters. In this case (maybe because I was still basquing in the glory of that fattened duck liver) I wasn’t really too happy after consumption. I really liked the presentation with the dropper sauces, but overall it wasn’t something special. Moving on…

Here we go, a duck dish on the menu, means a duck dish on my table. Typically, duck breasts are served sliced paper thin and on a bias – in this case, not so much. These duck strips were more Jack in the Box “chicken tender” sized. Served over Baby Korean Radish, Shitake, Japanese Chives, Mizuna, Satsuma, Walnuts & a Sweet Miso Gochujang Vinaigrette – I can’t say I was really impressed. The duck was chewy, radishes bitter & sauce unhealthy in portion. If I had to rate it, I’d say 4 out of 10. Sorry, B.

So this one was the Niman Ranch Pork Chop with Apple Puree, Crispy Pig Ear Salad, Crépinette with Wholegrain Mustard Sauce. The plating was much nicer than what shows in this “flash” fizzled photo. Chops cooked at medium (thank god) and accompaniments one better than the next. Very well done for a lean pork-meat dish, which really should never be good. Pork is good because of its fat; way to pull this one off Chef B. – the apple puree saved the day.

Okay, I have a confession, I’m not a big Cod fan, but I love Black Cod soup at Sushi Bars; a must order if you plan on bombing. In this case however, these folks roasted it and paired it with Peppadew Peppers, Pearl Onion, Artichoke, Baby Octopus & a Fennel Broth. Subtle in flavor, but a great combination of textures and amazing in overall balance. Surprisingly, most of the flavor in this dish came from the peppers, with everything else serving as texture. Truth be told, those Pickled Peppadews were so damn good, that everything else just followed in stride. Light, healthy, simple – well done.

At $31 this was the most pricey plate on the menu, which to me means, “order me.” A 21 Day Dry Aged New York Steak, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus, Crispy Bone Marrow, Onion Ring & Veal Jous this plate of goodness was simply awesome. The onion rings were very much classic diner style, which was kind of a trip – but hey I’m down. The sauce (again) could have been a little heavier in volume. The crispy bone marrow however, dwarfed everything else and announced “hello, I’m about to change your life.” And it did. Start a FB page for it, cuz I’m ready to be a fan.

How can you possibly say no to a peanut butter banana toffee cake with caramel ice cream? You can’t right? Good, glad to hear I’m not alone on that stance. It was bomb, what else could I say. Next?

Italian Panna Cotta served chocolate mouse style in a martini glass. Smooth, cool, creamy and fresh. This one was quite good too. Not the best I’ve had, but hey “we don’t have our own pastry chef.” Whatever, I didn’t come here for dessert. Well done fellows.

Truth be told, we were planning on heading to the Bazaar at the SLS by Jose Andreas, but they were totally booked. So instead of heading to the West Side and dealing with all of the wanna-be super stars, we decided to stay close to home and try something new. Thanks to Yelp.com we found this wonderful little gem. Who says Glendale doesn’t have decent cuisine? Bashan is way past decent – and totally chill. Will go back FOR SURE!

Photos and Review Gracously Provided by Michael Kay of Kitchen12000