Sorrentino’s Seafood House was one of several Southland restaurants owned and operated by members of the Sorrentino family.  It was located at the corner of Pass Avenue and Riverside in Burbank.  A few blocks away was the more upscale Alfonse’s, run by the famous chef, Alfonse Sorrentino.  The seafood restaurant was reportedly run by two of his cousins.  Whoever ran it, it was a great place that at lunchtime was packed with folks in the entertainment industry.

I liked lunch at Sorrentino’s better than dinner, though both were great.  At lunchtime, most entrees came with an amazing kind of potato I’ve never encountered anywhere else.  It was halfway between the consistency of a baked potato and mashed — something like a pudding — and laced with onion. It was not listed as a side dish on the menu, which may explain why it didn’t seem to have a name. Every time I asked a waitress what it was called, the answer was “It’s just something the chef whips up at lunchtime.” He did not whip it up at dinner and believe me: I asked.

The photo above is of Sorrentino’s banquet room which got a lot of traffic from TV shows and movies holding wrap parties or press conferences. I rented it a few times on behalf of CAPS, the Comic Art Professional Society, back when I was on its Board of Directors. The food was good, the staff was great. The only reason I can imagine for its closure in the eighties was that they didn’t do as much business in the evenings as they did for lunch. An awful lot of deals were concluded and script meetings held in its lush, red booths. I miss it and I miss those potatoes.

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