Great live jazz, but menu and service need work

Glendale is not exactly known as a jazz mecca. We do have Jax Bar & Grill and the occasional special event at local theaters. But now, if it's in the cards, we have one more option — Thursday nights at Notte Luna Italian and Mediterranean restaurant.

The weekly event has been going on for a couple of months, but the proprietors are considering dropping it. They're not getting the audience they'd like. That would be a real shame, because the musicians at Notte Luna, Garner Bryan Thomas and Sergey Kyosayan, are top-notch.

Thomas, the saxophone player, has a smooth, powerful style and amazing lung capacity. His partner, Kyosayan, though not quite as accomplished, is definitely solid on the piano. They've played together for years and have good chemistry. When we requested a song not in their regular repertoire, John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," they good-naturedly obliged and did a bang-up job with it.

The night my jazz-loving friends and I were there, we were the only ones present, aside from some relatives of the musicians. It was a bit awkward, considering the restaurant holds around 50. Though not an intimate club atmosphere, the acoustics are excellent. Smooth strains filled the space and spilled out on to the charming enclosed patio. If the owners could just perfect their formula, Notte Luna could be a cool, back-alley jazz club.

I reviewed lunch at Notte Luna a couple of years ago and gushed over the pastas and excellent service. Maybe it was just an off night, but things have definitely changed on that front. The service was abominable. Though we were the only table ordering, the two servers were not attentive. In fact, it looked like they were texting or watching TV behind the bar.

When we asked for their wine menu, they had us look across the restaurant at the bar to try to read the labels on their one choice of Merlot and one of Cabernet ($8/glass). We ordered a cocktail instead and were brought a glass of red wine.

Some of the meals were not as described on the menu. For instance, the "grilled" veggies in the Insalata Mediterraneo ($8.95) were steamed, and the "baked" tilapia ($15.95) was breaded and sauteed. When given a choice between pasta and vegetables on the side, I chose pasta and was brought the same veggies as in the salad. We requested Parmesan more than once and it never came. The complimentary bread and olive spread, however, were fabulous, and the Ravioli al Funghi ($13.95) was as delicious as before.

If it were my place, on jazz night, I'd whittle down the menu to a few great plates for sharing, add a carefully selected wine and beer list and have a good server and bartender on duty. All in all, even though the food and service were below par and the place was empty, we had a great time that night. The music by Thomas and Kyosayan was excellent, and the vibe was relaxed. If you want jazz music to stay alive and well in Glendale, try to check it out next Thursday.

Lisa Dupuy is a music and food aficionado. She can be reached at



What: Live jazz at Notte Luna restaurant

Where: 113 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale

When: 8 to 11 p.m. Thursdays

Prices: No cover charge; Drinks $7 to $10; appetizers and entrees $6 to $20

Contact: (818) 552-4100

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