"All craft. All draught. All California." That's the slogan at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank and they mean it.
For years now, Tony's has been the place to go for great draught beer and sausages. Recently their commitment to locally sourced food has been taken up a notch. The vegan and nonvegan sausages are still there but a new menu of bowls, salads and snacks has been added plus some of the best chili this side of Laredo.
It's difficult enough for chefs to create delicious combinations that please many palates using all means available.
At Tony's Darts Away, however, they challenge themselves to work within strict guidelines for a greater purpose. They maintain close relationships with California produce vendors to meet their daily restaurant needs in a responsible and green way.
They adhere to strict guidelines when selecting meat and dairy products, always choosing hormone-free, antibiotic-free and cage-free. If an ingredient is not available locally or sustainably, they simply don't put it on their menu. They do this because responsibly raised meat and produce taste better, are better for the environment and support the California economy.
Thanks to the efforts of executive chef Caroline Concha, the resulting plates are often delicious and always guilt-free.
My craft beer-loving friend and I supplemented our refreshing Golden Road lagers with a number of dishes.
Fries are always a great way to start. The weekly fry special this night were the Greek Fries, topped with lots of chopped garlic and feta cheese. Any night, though, you can get the Sweet & Spicy Camote Fries, a French-fried root vegetable similar to sweet potato tossed in maple-chipotle glaze and crushed almonds ($7).
On the Sandwiches/Bowls/Wraps menu we opted for the Korean Bowl and Banh Mi (both $9). I was a little sad the bowl came more as a plate. Stacking bowl ingredients is integral to their enjoyment.
Nonetheless, I was fairly blown away by the vegan pork in this combo including rice, homemade kimchi and ginger. The marinade and cooking method of the "pork" rendered morsels amazingly similar to char siu, those Chinese spareribs with the red glaze.
The Banh Mi sandwich was beautifully balanced. We chose the nonvegan version with crispy-cooked pork belly, pickled veggies, cilantro, jalapenos and chipotle aioli on the same soft baguette they use for the sausages.
The West Coast Salad ($13) is a blend of thinly shaved fennel and cabbage topped with black sesame seeds, orange segments and garlicky grilled shrimp all tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. It was fresh and tasty — but my warning might be don't come to a vegan restaurant for shrimp.
The clear winner of the night was what's known as (Chef) Caroline's Famous Chili ($8). We chose the vegan version and I can only imagine the meaty one is even better.
A thick, dark red stew of arbol chiles, hominy and garbanzo beans, it comes topped with cheese and onions along with cashew creme, fried plantains and shaved chocolate. It had great texture and consistency along with occasional surprises of chile and chocolate.
Craft beer lovers already know to come to Tony's Darts Away for the 37 rotating taps.
Vegetarians know this is the place for hard-to-find vegan sausages. Eco-conscious patrons like the bottle-free, low-waste restaurant. Monday night, in fact, was packed with patrons at this casual, friendly bar (so casual the menu says, "don't forget — order at the bar!")
Now the rest of us have a wider menu to choose from. Knowing the food is good for us and good for the planet makes it taste even better.
Where: 1710 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
When: Monday through Thursday, noon to 2 a.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Prices: Snacks, bowls, salads and sausages, vegan or nonvegan, $4 to $13
Contact: (818) 253-1710, tonysda.com