While it's not a hard and fast rule, we generally avoid highlighting chain restaurants in this column, preferring to review independently owned businesses. Mom & Pop restaurants are a little hard to find in Burbank. So I was happy to see a new spot open up that is owned and operated by Chef Juan C. Oseguera and his brother. It's an unassuming little eatery in an old pizza delivery joint in the shadow of tall office buildings near Burbank's Media Center.
JC's Cuisine is not the type of place to take friends or clients out for a fancy lunch. There are only two tables and they're out in a chilly parking lot. But local workers may be interested in this little gem with hot, freshly prepared food for takeout or delivery that's well-priced and out of the ordinary.
Chef JC greeted our group of six (I didn't read the website's fine print) with a friendly demeanor and a sly joke or two. He told us he's worked in numerous restaurants over the years, cooking many different kinds of food. Now that he has his own place, he's creating "international fusion cuisine his way." For instance, don't expect his boeuf bourguignon to have been simmering all day. JC covers slices of flank steak with a burgundy wine sauce. His tasty paella is well-spiced with shrimp, mussels, chicken and chorizo fully integrated, not sitting on top.
JC is from Michoacan, Mexico, so as one would expect, there are a number of Mexican dishes, photos of which are posted all over the windows. I was secretly hoping for some outrageous mole or something but it wasn't to be found. Even so, JC's Burrito ($5.95), the house breakfast burrito, was large and satisfying. The same delicious salsa de la casa is found on the chilaquiles. The Inferno Burrito ($5.95) has nice chunks of marinated chicken but we think the Inferno Sauce was bottled buffalo wing sauce.
In my opinion, forgo the Mexican specialties and head for the international fare. He calls it Spanish, Italian and French-influenced, but there's American and Asian thrown in there. Yes, there's paella, beouf bourgignon and chicken parmigiana but there's also New York steak, beef teriyaki, honey port salmon and BBQ ribs. It's truly an eclectic menu, one that should perhaps be edited. But there's no doubt JC has skills. Grilled seafood, pastas and rice dishes are probably your best bet here. The clear favorite at our table was the Shrimp al Ajillo ($10.95). Delicate saffron rice and perfectly grilled shrimp come drenched in a tangy garlic sauce with roasted veggies on the side. If I were working close by I would certainly call in for a Styrofoam container of the stuff and a can of Coke. It would be just the little international adventure you need in the middle of a tedious day.
It is possible to eat in at JC's but don't expect niceties like glasses of water or stainless utensils. JC's delightful brother tried his best to accommodate our large party but it was a struggle. Online ordering is easy, though, so consider keeping JC's Cuisine on your electronic Rolodex for possible in-office lunches or entertainment industry catered affairs.
Where: 312 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank
When: Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Prices: International entrees, $6.95 to $12.95; Mexican menu, $4.95 to $6.50
More info: (818) 843-1335; http://www.jcscuisine.com
LISA DUPUY has reviewed over 200 local restaurants for the Los Angeles Times Community News. She can be reached at LDupuy@aol.com.