Eagle Rock has a long ethnic history and among the favored groups, Italians have always been well-represented. Even today, you can still see remnants of the old neighborhoods here and there, should you care to drive around the suburban streets that surround Colorado Boulevard. Among the establishments in the busy commercial district, you’ll find one of the few old school Italian restaurants serving the Eagle Rock / Glendale community.
Scarantino’s Italian Inn, located on E. Colorado Boulevard in Glendale near Eagle Rock, is an institution. Owned and operation by the Scarantino family since 1967 (according to their website), this restaurant is a “must stop” on any restaurant crawl in the vicinity.
Let me warn you, though. On-site parking is both limited and difficult to manage. Word to the wise: there is no exit in the rear of the lot, so be prepared to double back up the narrow entry/exit driveway . . . and watch for car and pedestrian traffic! We arrived just after they opened for dinner service on a weekday, so the parking lot was empty.
It only took a moment for us to be seated, a booth to the rear of the inn. Interestingly, we were placed next to a woman dining alone in a restaurant that was, for the most part, completely empty. My eating companion questioned the wisdom of that to me under her breath, but I explained it was for the convenience of the server, not the patrons.
I opted for the Osso Bucco and because it takes longer to cook than other choices, the waiter ran back to the kitchen to put in the order. When he returned, my companion requested the veal parmigiano with penne on the side instead of the spaghetti that normally came with it.
Within a few minutes, the waiter brought out the house soup, a wonderful homemade minestrone. Instead of the typical red broth that usually embodied such soups, this version was made from a lighter stock, probably bean-based with fresh vegetables and small pasta pieces added. It is one of the best minestrones I’ve ever eaten and the best part is it comes included with the meal.
Soon, the salad course arrived, again included with every entrée ordered. The greens and other vegetables were fresh and crispy. The homemade dressing, French style, was both tangy and sweet, a wonderful combination. My companion ate her salad with aplomb.
Then the main course was delivered. My plate was full with a generous portion of veal shank, covered in a light gravy with diced vegetables and spaghetti. The meat was tender, falling off the bone. The gravy was rich, but not overwhelming and the pasta was cooked to perfection. My wife was handed an equally generous slice of veal parmigiana and penne in red sauce. She noted that the veal was perfectly cooked as was the penne and the sauce was very tasty and authentically Italian. We both ate until full and still had plenty to take home for leftovers.
I would declare this meal perfect in virtually every way. You may have to work a bit to park at Scarantino’s, but I promise you, the effort is worth it.
Scarantino’s Italian Inn
1524 E Colorado St
Glendale, CA 91205-1514
Rating: ♥♥♥♥ (out of 5 ♥)
Price: $$½ (out of 5 $)