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Dining Review: The appetizers aren't bad, for starters

February 03, 2012|By Rebecca Bryant
  • Entree Chicken Piccata at Hollywood Pasta Company in Burbank on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Entree Chicken Piccata at Hollywood Pasta Company in…

The Hollywood Pasta Company in Burbank, opened last year by chef and caterer Kurt Ehrlich, doesn’t look exactly glam from the outside — its small storefront façade sandwiched on Burbank Boulevard between an alley-like parking lot and a liquor store. Inside, burgundy walls and elegant but crowded seating bring the tone up several notches.

Each time we’ve been, our party has been seated at a window. At lunch seating, two of us were put in the corner, at the end of a long table and bench that could have accommodated at least four more. At a dinner visit, our larger party was seated practically on top of an incredibly chatty regular, despite the dozen or so empty tables elsewhere. Each spot had a seat that was nearly impossible for the server to reach. Aside from the tiny aisles between tables, the décor is soothing, until you glance over at the flat-screen TV framed between two Italianate columns. I’ll have the lasagna with a side of Newt Gingrich and Piers Morgan, please. The sound was muted, but the effect on a night out with friends and family shouts volumes.

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We first visited the restaurant in November, soon after its opening. The Milano sandwich, with salami, mortadella, ham, provolone, with lettuce, tomato, onion and a nice balsamic vinaigrette came in a generous portion, with flavorful fillings, but on unfortunately dry bread. The same trait marred the restaurant’s garlic bread. On our later visit, the bread problem had been solved, and we couldn’t get enough of the garlic bread.

In fact, the starters at Hollywood Pasta Company steal the show. The garlic bread is salty, buttery and flavorful with just the right amount of cheese sprinkled on top. The salad is a nice mixture of greens, tomatoes, grated cheese and a creamy, slightly sweet vinaigrette. Minestrone bursts with flavorful herbs and plentiful vegetables with flat noodles floating in the savory broth. I could’ve made my meal on that soup alone. Roma bread comes on a pizza pan, its light, fluffy dough topped with artichoke hearts, eggplant slices, tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. We gobbled it all up, feeling nearly full by the time our entrees arrived.

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