The Mulholland Eatery May Only Be in Calabasas but It Feels like a Getaway

The next best thing.

Sometimes you just want to feel like you are getting out of Dodge for date night, heading to someplace off the beaten path. Calabasas isn’t precisely that—yet somehow when my husband and I headed out for a Friday night dinner at the new eatery The Mulholland, it felt like a getaway. Although several restaurants line that stretch of Calabasas Road, known as Old Town Calabasas, the area felt calm and quiet with relatively little traffic. Not even a peep from Sagebrush Cantina across the street, which often blasts the tunes of the bands it hosts on weekends. My husband and I felt relaxed as we parked in the big adjacent lot, passed our keys to a laid-back valet, and strolled down the sidewalk to the eatery. (I later found out there was free parking at the Park & Ride lot a couple blocks away.)

An assortment of colorful cocktails

The Mulholland is located in the space of the former Bernard’s Wine Gallery. The three offspring of the owners of Bernard’s have taken over the space from their parents, transforming it into an attractive eatery with a farmhouse vibe. A plethora of appetizers and some raw bar options are on offer, but only six main entrees. They range from charred cabbage with apple, farro and rosemary ($25) to an 8-ounce prime filet mignon served with brussels sprouts ($56).

Crudité and dip appetizer

Knowing the connection to Bernard’s, I was surprised that the wine selection wasn’t massive or peppered with big-name labels. Instead the wine list feels thoughtful and carefully curated. The family, as I discovered, owns Coquelicot Estate Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, which produces organic varietals. Several of them are served here, along with an assortment of other varietals, mostly from California and Europe. Patrons can order any of them by the glass—a nice touch you don’t see often. A couple of rosés and an “orange blend” looked interesting; I’d like to try one of those on my next visit when the weather is warmer.

Film director Paul Feig guest bartending at an event

At the suggestion of our friendly waitress, we began the meal with a Caesar salad. It was a zesty dish made with flavorful chicory lettuces that tasted like they’d been picked that morning. In lieu of croutons, the salad was topped with razor-thin homemade red potato chips. We loved it. We also enjoyed another house specialty—a round of warm, homemade focaccia served with “pizza butter,” a reddish concoction flecked with mild spices.

Sautéed scallops in carrot curry with forbidden rice and Thai basil

For entrees, my husband ordered the Petaluma chicken, which featured a roasted breast along with a confit leg—slow cooked in duck fat—mushroom, and potato puree. This is a guy who eats chicken all the time, and I wondered why he didn’t order something more adventurous. However, he absolutely devoured the dish, proclaiming it “one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever had.” He was impressed with the moist, flavorful meat and the tasty confit. I ordered the sauteed scallops—for me, a gamble. Half the time I order scallops I’m disappointed. They’re either an underwhelming trio of medium-size scallops attractively assembled on a plate for $50, or they’re ridiculously overcooked. But these scallops were a delightful surprise. Three perfectly cooked large scallops arrived in a bowl of scrumptious curry sauce with baby carrots, forbidden rice—which had a wonderful chewy texture—and Thai basil. The sauce absolutely made this dish, and I didn’t leave behind a single drop.

The main dining area at The Mulholland

With delicious food, friendly service and a pleasing vibe, The Mulholland has all the ingredients of an enjoyable night out, whether a date night or an evening with friends. That said, it’s smart to choose the right seat. You have four options: the bar area in the front, an elevated main dining room in the middle; a narrow hallway-like space toward the back; or the large tented patio behind the structure. Unfortunately, my husband and I were seated in the hallway-like space, which has nothing on the floor, ceiling or walls to buffer sound. The restaurant was full that night, and the loud noise made conversation impossible. We thought it might simply be that particular space, but coincidentally, some of our friends were dining in the bar area and had the same issue. Our waitress said they are working on improving acoustics at the restaurant, but in the meantime, here’s some advice: If you are dining on a Friday or Saturday night or on a weekend for brunch (launching in June) during peak times, sit on the patio, which by the way, is dog friendly. On a warm summer night or morning, The Mulholland will feel like a sweet retreat.

Join the Valley Community

Receive the latest stories, event invitations, local deals and other curated content from Ventura Blvd.
By clicking the subscribe button, I agree to receive occasional updates from Ventura Blvd.