Valley Inn: Special Dinners, Comfort Food, Coach Wooden and Katsuya?

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of trendy restaurants and all the faux pretentious airs that go along with them. Molecular gastronomy, deconstructed, overpriced small plates and the like. Sometimes you just need a booth, a darker ambiance, and some good old fashioned comfort food. That is where the Valley Inn comes in — and where I have to say everything old is new again — and quite fun to boot.

The dining room. Photo: Karen Young

This Sherman Oaks (bordering Encino) restaurant has been a fixture since 1947. Generations of families make this their dining spot; couples consider it their secret local getaway where they can cuddle in a booth. Legions of celebrities and dignitaries have dined here. It was Coach John Wooden’s favorite restaurant. In fact, a lit up glass case in the entry way filled with memorabilia is a tribute to him. The biggest surprise to me was that Chef Katsuya is a frequent diner, and in fact, is involved in special dinners at Valley Inn (don’t miss important details on upcoming dinners to follow below).

For the last 13 years, Valley Inn has been owned by Sophia and Boris Brodetsky. When describing them, warm and friendly is an understatement. Get to know them and they treat you like family. Need advice? You’ll get it without asking!

Tuna Tartini Photo: Karen Young

It has that Cheers “everybody knows your name” feel, especially in the bar area where the bartender, Larry, has been there for 30 years. The wood bar itself is from the 1880s and was imported from England to San Pedro on a clipper ship. Need a good stirred martini? You got it.

They recently did a bit of décor updating while keeping the feel intact. The pink walls in the main dining room are now green, light fixtures have been changed and the booths and chairs have been updated.

Tenderloin Photo: Valley Inn

The dinner menu consists of steaks and chops, as well as specialties. I am personally a fan of the angus beef steak dinners which come with a choice of soup or salad, mashed potatoes and vegetables ($16.95 to $38.95). There are also a variety of classic sides for $6 each to add to the meal. The 16 to 18 oz prime rib dinner is $31.95. It’s all perfect for sharing. Specialties include chicken dishes, duck, ribs, seafood, pasta and classic burgers. And of course, they do offer specialties from 1947 — country fried chicken or oven roasted chicken. Sauces and soups are all made from scratch and are fresh daily.

Appetizers are fun  —the new ‘tuna tartini’ is an update, as is the ‘kitchen sink chopped salad.’ But who can resist classics like a lettuce wedge with bacon, lobster bisque, French onion soup and escargot?

The lunch menu includes spa specials, plus salads, sandwiches and freshly made soup. Price averages range from $8.95 to $13.95.

Chef Katsuya and Valley Inn owner Sophia Brodetsky at a special dinner. Photo: Valley Inn

Valley Inn offers specials that differ weekly. A full three course lobster dinner was recently $29.95. Other times there is a free bottle wine or desserts. It’s best to get on their email list to find out about the special offers.

Valley Inn is known for their special dinners. On April 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., they are hosting a special fundraising dinner for Japan sponsored by Chef Katsuya who is sending over one of his sushi chefs. Plus, there will be wines from Century Oaks, as well as  a silent auction and a concert by Masters of the Past.

The Russian Dinner includes entertainment, a feast and lots of vodka! Photo: Valley Inn

The biggest dinner of the year is the Russian dinner  (and the craziest) on April 30 which is a complete feast with an array of traditional salads, zakusi (small bites), borscht, pirojki, choice of entrée (beef stroganoff, roast baby chicken tabaka or classic stuffed cabbage) and dessert. And what would a Russian feast be without vodka? It’s all included for $79.95 per person.

They are also serving up a special Passover dinner April 18 to 20 for $32.95 per person and an Easter Brunch on April 24 (starting at $10.95) from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

Something has to be said for a restaurant that’s been around for 64 years. Check it out.

Make sure you get on their email list for weekly specials and special offers. Call for reservations.

Valley Inn 4557 Sherman Oaks Avenue  (818) 784-1163

Karen Young is the Founder/Editor of My Daily Find. Email

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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