Tag Archives: Castaway

Castaway Reopens With Updated Menu And Style

After an extensive renovation, Castaway has reopened with an updated sense of style and menu. Those fantastic, expansive views remain the biggest draw, but the new Castaway works hard to draw diners and bar-goers.

Long maligned for their dated menu and lack of service in years past, the new Castaway aims much higher and does well.

The new menu is not huge, but offers a good selection of appetizers, sides and entrées. We’ve really enjoyed the King Salmon with black rice and Chinese broccoli in a ginger-miso emulsion, the heirloom tomato salad, the ceviche and Dungenness crab cake.

Each meal starts out with a complimentary board of warm sun-dried tomato bread and basil pesto butter. It’s delicious and different.


Whole roasted Branzino at Castaway. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

In the steak department, Castaway offers quite a selection of cuts. We found both the filet of Cape Grim Beef and the American Waygu hanger steak tasty and well-prepared. The sides of mashed potato and broccolini are solid.

While I’m not over the moon about their mushroom pappardelle pasta – it seemed a bit bland and heavy, others in our group enjoyed it.

The big hit for me was the whole roasted Branzino fish. Presented on a wooden plank with roasted tomatoes, the fish is actually filleted and cooked and then reassembled, and the interior stuffed with pomme fourchette (mashed potatoes.) Although the fish was a bit overdone, it was still delicious. The tomatoes and pomme fourchette were excellent complements.

We also really enjoyed the cocktails we’ve tried, in particular the Wilson! and The Huntington. Castaway also has a strong wine list and selection of beer.


Sun-dried tomato bread and basil pesto butter. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We’ve been to Castaway a few times. The first time, the service and food were impeccable.

The next time was unfortunately chaotic, as the hosts dithered about whether to seat us, as requested on the patio, which had many open tables, or to put us inside. After much insistence on my part, and nearly 30 minutes after our arrival and reservation, we were seated on the patio.

I’m not sure why there was a problem with the patio. There were three 8-seat tables open, and several 4-tops, and we had a party of 6. In fact, those other two 8-seat table remained open, one the entire two hours we were there, and another was seated an hour after we were.


Castaway’s newly renovated patio. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Although we were brought water once seated, it then took over 30 minutes for our drinks to arrive, after a roaming host inquired if things were okay. Our waiter ignored us during that time. Luckily, I guess, it took about 45 minutes from placing our dinner order for it to be served, so the food didn’t arrive until after our first round of drinks did.

Once settled on the patio, we enjoyed our meal and the view quite a lot.

I’m going to give Castaway the benefit of the doubt… they are trying to do better and the confusion during our second visit there seems to be part of working out the kinks. Staff were incredibly nice and worked hard to make us happy, although it took some time to come up with solutions.

There were a few other missteps that same evening. The valet couldn’t find our car when it was time to leave and we waited for over 20 minutes for that to be sorted. Our windshield was cracked by an errant golf ball while driving up to the restaurant. One waiter accosted our waiter next to our table to tell him that we were supposed to be his table. It almost seemed a comedy of errors.


Castaway’s new patio is stylish and huge. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

When we visit restaurants such as Yamashiro, which deal with immense crowds of people and cars, everything runs so smoothly from valet to seating to service to quality of food and drink. Staff are pleasant and have immediate solutions, even if there is a wait or a problem. I have faith Castaway can get to that level of well-oiled machine with a little time and practice.

Castaway earns an On The Marquee for a delicious menu of food and drinks, stylish decor, good service and those amazing views.

Restaurant/Bar Info: Castaway is located at 1250 E. Harvard Road, Burbank, CA 91501.
(818) 848-6691. Castaway is open for dining Monday through Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  The bar is open one hour later than the kitchen, daily.

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Castaway Reopens for Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser After $10 Million Renovation

On Friday, April 27, popular hillside restaurant Castaway held a fundraiser, which allowed guests to see the newly renovated restaurant for the first time since its $10 million remodel. The restaurant will open to the public this Tuesday, May 1.

Photo by Ross A Benson

From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the valley was invited to make reservations and experience the completely revitalized Castaway before it officially opens to the public this week. All profit proceeds from the community fundraiser will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley.

“We at Castaway are very lucky to be able to call Burbank our home. Our neighbors and the community in this beautiful neighborhood have always been incredibly supportive of us,” said John Tallichet, owner of Castaway.

“We wanted to do something special and give back to our neighbors as we look ahead to introducing them to the new Castaway. We can’t wait to show Burbank what we’ve cooked up, and we couldn’t think of a better way to support the local community than through the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley and the important work they do to help our youth on their path towards a great future.”

Paul Coker Beverage Director stands inside the wine room. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Along with the renovation, the restaurant now has an entirely revamped menu, with new dishes and cocktails. Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” winner chef Perry Pollaci will be Castaway’s executive chef while Level III Advanced Sommelier and So Cal’s Restaurant Writers Association’s “Sommelier of the Year” winner Paul Coker will head the drink department.

Castaway was originally built in 1963, premiering as one of Burbank’s first casual fine dining restaurants. After the building was burned down in 1993, it was rebuilt and remained until last year. The renovation which started August 6, 2017, involved the complete teardown and reconstruction of the Polynesian themed restaurant.

Over the years Castaway has been a popular communal space for weddings and other private events. With the building’s several new additions, it is hoped to be an even more welcoming for the community than it has been in the past.

The new seating area includes a fantastic view of the valley. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

New additions include modernized banquet rooms, a catering kitchen space, a chef’s table which is positioned for guests to see into the kitchen, a wraparound bar, a meat dry-aging room, a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar, a multi-level patio, and more. All of the former decors has also been replaced with modernized tables and seating.

The remodel was led by Regional Director Ryan Smith, who has managed several restaurants in Miami Beach and Las Vegas.

“We built a whole new dining experience where everyone feels like a star, and every seat in the house is magic. From the moment you drop your car at the valet, your evening is bound to be sexy, fun and surprising, all while enjoying deliciousness, with incomparable service in a truly stunning environment,” said Ryan Smith, Regional Director for SRC.

The view is spectacular. (Photo by Ross A Benson


Known for its impressive view of the surrounding valley, guests will notice more seating without any obstructions.

Castaway is located at 1250 E. Harvard Rd. next to the DeBell Golf Course.



Emcee Clint Howard Helps Boy Scout Council With Fundraiser

Members of the Verdugo Hills Council (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The 38th annual Boy Scout Auction sparkled like a TV awards show Friday night at the Castaway. A surprise $150,000 donation made the proceedings even sweeter.

Master of ceremonies was actor Clint Howard, who starred in the 1960s TV series “Gentle Ben” and played the memorable role of Balok in an episode of the original “Star Trek” series.

Video tributes were cast upon the big screen, first from actor Gary Sinise and later by director Ron Howard, the emcee’s brother.

Clint Howard, MC for the evening and Sunder Ramani who gave the Opening Remarks for this years Big Strike Dinner and Auction. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In his monologue, Clint Howard was genuinely sincere when he said he had always wanted to join Boy Scouting as a youth, but his parents thought he already had too much on his plate with Burbank park and recreation sports and his acting career. He told the more than 300 guests that he believes scouting, which helps boys to gain strong values and build solid moral characters, “is more important than ever.”

Touting the theme “Changing the World One Scout at a Time”, the gala kicked off with a silent auction followed by dinner. Then came a surprise announcement of a major donation. Tom Carnahan presented the Verdugo Hills Council with a check for $150,000 from its Carnahan Charitable Remainder Trust. The gift was from Tom’s father, Joe Carnahan, who died six weeks ago, said Bob Black, who co-chaired the auction with his wife Dorothy.

“The donation was a secret until Tom made the announcement,” Bob Black said.

Former City Attorney Dennis Barlow a big supporter of The Boy Scouts checks out the bids his wife placed. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The gift neatly segued into the live auction, where scouts vice president of finance Sunder Ramani led the bidding with some comic relief provided by Clint Howard, who walked between the tables and interacted with guests.

Winning coveted live auction prizes were Robert Rector, who will be spending a day of golf and lunch with Clint Howard at the Wood Ranch Country Club in Simi Valley, and school board member Debbie Kukta, taking home a golden retriever puppy to meet her dog Cody.

All proceeds help the Verdugo Hills Council provide scouting programs for more than 3,000 boys who live in Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge.

Boy Scouts were in the house, helping spot bids and running prizes to happy winners. Eagle Scout Kevin Beebe directed the flag presentation and Homenetmen Scout Evana Grigorian sang “God Bless America.” The Rev. Wayne Walters gave the invocation.

Master of Ceremonies Clint Howard checks out the auction items, and watches his bids. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In the final video tribute of the night, Ron Howard reiterated his brother’s sentiments about Boy Scouting and all they learn on the road to becoming men.

“God bless the Boy Scouts,” he said adding, “I really mean that!”

BTAC Fundraising Event Honors Two

Mayor Awarded BTAC's Top Award for Citizenship.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Temporary Aid held their yearly dinner and fundraising event Friday at the Castaway Restaurant.

This year they honored Burbank’s Centennial Mayor Jess Talamantes, along with President/CEO Mark Goldstein of Entertainment Partners.   Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Olson was Master of Ceremonies, and a long time supporter of BTAC.

The evening started out with a silent auction, cocktails in the Valley View Room, then s sit down dinner was served with the program following.  The who of who’s of Burbank was in attendance.


Burbank's Mayor Jess Talamantes along with Mark Goldstein, President/CEO of Entertainment Partners, were honored by BTAC Friday evening. Also pictured is Barbara Howell, BTAC's CEO. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

No Burbankers, It Did Not Snow, It ‘Graupeled’ In Burbank On Saturday

Burbank residents (L) Agnesa Kirakosyan and Dvin Apelian, former Burbank High School students, made this 'graupelman' near the Castaway Laui grounds. They said their hands were frozen stiff, and they decided to name this guy Mr. Burbank. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

The talk around around town on Saturday was excitement that it had snowed in Burbank Saturday afternoon. Well, before you get too excited, meteorologists have explained that what you saw was not snow, but graupel, which is when water condenses around a snowflake. While it may look like snow on the ground, it is not actually not snow flakes, but the small icy balls that had formed and exploded when they hit the ground. By all reports, the only snow recorded in Burbank was in January of 1949 and January of 1950…..or was that just graupel also?

Photographer Ross A. Benson drove up to the hill area of Burbank and found graupel still on the ground in front of the Castaway sign on Harvard and Sunset Canyon and there was still plenty of the white stuff up at the Debell Clubhouse - try and find your gold ball in that stuff! (Photos By Ross A. Benson)

Photo By Ross A. Benson

National Charity League Hits The Jackpot With Fundraiser At Castaway Restaurant

The Castaway Restaurant was transformed into a glittering Monte Carlo casino on Saturday night as members of the Burbank chapter of the National Charity League and their guests rolled the dice and spun the roulette wheel, earning more than $10,000 for good causes in the local community. Dozens of high-rollers, decked out in their snazziest finery, turned out to bid on a dazzling selection of prize baskets, try their luck at an opportunity drawing for a beautiful set of diamond earrings and partake of a sumptuous array of culinary delights. Among the charities benefiting from NCL’s first annual Casino Night were Burbank Temporary Aid Center,