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Bungalow 44
44 E Blithedale Ave.
Mill Valley, CA


A bun-hello to bungalow.
What kind of inquiring mind doesn’t case out a new restaurant? Not me. When they opened the doors, this bun had to get the down low.

The staff is newly trained so I have to cut them some slack. It’s okay that, at times, they were a little oblivious or overly zealous (hovering busser syndrome always makes you feel antsy.) The only real faux pas was when I was given a dirty knife (it had particles of dried food on one side.) I requested a clean one from the server who took it around the corner, and came back with it’s replacement which appeared to be the same knife that had most (but not all) of the food particles wiped off. Ew.

Charging $6.75 for a large Pellegrino seems more in line with a fancy restaurant than a casual neighborhood place. If they made it $5 it would seem more in line with the environment.

I need to point out that this was their first day of business so I need to come back and see what they are really like when they get going. Even though I didn’t eat anything that would qualify as delish, I think that they will find their stride and the place shows promise. UPDATE: See box below.

They have done a nice job with a minor remodel since they took the place over. The bar is intimate and they kept the TV for serious sports fans. The new design is warmer and cozy for those in jeans or business casual.

They have an interesting wine list but have no 375ml. bottles (which is always a nice option.)

Half Chicken ($17.50):
This pretty flatted half chicken came golden and specked with herbs and promise. Sadly, it let me down in the flavor department. A longer visit in a marinade/brine bath would have been time well spent and may have helped to alleviate the dry breast meat. The side of grilled asparagus looked delish, but was just a little limp from overcooking.
Kobe Burger ($13.95):
They described this burger as “fully stacked” It included good ingredients, but it was the ratio of ingredients that was unbalanced. The generous patty was topped with a single trimmed leaf of lettuce, one small slice of tomato and a truckload of mayonnaise.

You get to pick from a list of sides for each entrée. I chose the garlic broccoli-raab. They must have parboiled the vegetables to finish them in the sauté pans as the orders came in. Not only was the broccoli-raab overcooked, it was stringy, like flossing before you meal was over.
Onion Rings ($5.50):
Buttermilk battered, thinly sliced, sweet onions rolled in cornmeal, flour and spices. The larger pieces were still raw inside. The crunch of an O-ring should come from the crispy fried coating, not a raw interior. The creaminess of the green godessy sauce muddled the sweetness of the onions, ketchup was a better match.
  Update: as of Oct 1 2005: I had the onion rings again and they were cooked through (not raw like on my first visit.) The burger wasn't swimming in mayo during a later visit and the vegetables weren't overcooked. The chicken paillard felt like you were at diet rehab camp. Overall, it was better. I hope that they continue to work out the kinks to emerge as a solid and consistently good restaurant. Check the blog entry about it.  
Overall Rating:

Overall: 1 1/2 carrots out of 4.

Bungalow 44 is a little rough around the edges, but shows mucho potential. I'll return and report back later. UPDATE: after a return visit, some improvements. See above.


Bungalow 44 Bathroom Rating:

Just fine. Well stocked and tidy.


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