BEST PLACE TO HIDE IN THE DARK - 2003
We're not vampires. Really. But we do admit to having a certain aversion to sunlight. It's just so hot. And bright. But when we want to chill out and calm down, we make tracks for Durant's, a Valley legend since 1950. In good, old-fashioned style, Durant's keep the lights turned way down low, even during the lunch hour. If there are any windows in this joint, we haven't found them. The room is cloaked instead by deep red booths and walls, and black-topped tables, and manned by classic black-garbed waiters with sleepy attitudes. The menu is retro calming, too, with traditional selections like a beautifully juicy broiled T-bone. The meat is broiled on mesquite; we can see it sizzling as we come in the real entrance to the restaurant -- the back door, through the kitchen. This is hefty food to eat while shielded from the screeches of day, like "Fat Man's Specials" of thick-cut top sirloin, a full-pound hamburger, and even a 48-ounce porterhouse. Yeah, we could skimp and get an albacore tuna sandwich on Karsh's rye, with coleslaw or cottage cheese, but Jeez, we're at Durant's. It's nice and dark. We can eat whatever we want, get as messy as we want, take a nap, even, and no one will ever see us. Cell phones are strictly outlawed.