Now Open: Mo's Morphs Into Continental

What: Mo’s, which has been known as the unofficial Warner Bros. "commissary" for the last 20 years, has transformed into a new bar and restaurant: Continental. However, for all you regulars, have no fear because founding partner Jay Sadofsky and his new partner, executive chef Jesse Genovese, are running the place. The Lowdown: It’s still wood-centric but with a bit of […]

What: Mo’s, which has been known as the unofficial Warner Bros. "commissary" for the last 20 years, has transformed into a new bar and restaurant: Continental. However, for all you regulars, have no fear because founding partner Jay Sadofsky and his new partner, executive chef Jesse Genovese, are running the place.

The Lowdown: It’s still wood-centric but with a bit of a sleeker vibe without feeling trendy (no communal tables or backless chairs). Wood booths mix with tables. A private back room with copper wall trim and vintage paintings provides a sophisticated ambience. Nostalgic black-and-white photographs bring a cinematic, romantic air, while the outside patio with a black-and-white theme has a classic, mod vibe. A highlight in the bar area are the groovy, white, leatherette-covered barstools and a new, five-panel, 35-foot mural that wraps around two walls. Painted by Don Hanson, a longtime scenic painter for Warner Bros. (Ghostbusters, Die Hard and Jurassic Park), the mural depicts Toluca Lake as it looked in the 1930s—yes, there is a lake and a full view via the mural.

The History: The building is over 60 years old and was first the original home of the International House of Pancakes. It morphed into Hamptons in the '70s before becoming Mo’s. There are probably more star-sightings at this restaurant than any other place in the 818.

The Food: Mo’s was known for comfort food, and some of the favorite dishes still remain (including those famous salads). But with this changeover, Chef Jesse has created an eclectic (yet affordable) menu with international flavors, including Thai seafood bouillabaisse, baked turkey Bolognese, salmon with a cauliflower-apple puree, Moroccan chicken and even matzo ball soup. And of course the burger legacy continues with The Continental (choice of house-made vegan, angus or turkey patty) topped with pancetta, white cheddar and tempura-fried pickles. For non-meat eaters, there are a few options, including chickpea cakes made with Peruvian white beans. Decadent desserts include fried tempura banana split, salted caramel pot de crème and sundaes made from Dandy Don's ice cream. Lunch dishes include sandwiches and salads.

The Drinks: Classic with a twist is the cocktail theme featuring whiskey, scotch, rum and bitters. The beer list includes 14 on-tap choices and nine bottles mostly from California microbrewers like Cismontane, Stone and Ballast Point. Continental partnered with Doug LaGambina, owner of down-the-street neighbor Spin the Bottle Wine Studio, to curate Continental’s list. The list includes seven reds, six whites and two bubblies, all poured by the glass, representing wineries across the West Coast to the Finger Lakes region of New York, as well as Spain, Argentina, Italy and France. 

Continental is located at 4301 W. Riverside Drive. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday. 818-845-3009

Bar area with 35-foot mural of Toluca Lake circa 1930 that wraps around two walls. 

Front of the house

One of three back rooms that can be reserved for private parties.

The most changed is the patio, which has been redesigned into a sleek, mod space perfect for a meal or sharing plates and cocktails.

Bucatini carbonara with crispy pancetta, cremini mushrooms, Parmesan and fried egg

Food and cocktail photo credits: acuna-hansen ‚Äč

Thai seafood bouillabaisse is full of shrimp, bay scallops, calamari in a lemongrass-Kaffir lime-coconut broth with bok choy, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and tomato.

The famous salads from Mo's live on for lunch.

Vietnamese-style banh mi with choice of beef brisket, chicken or seared tempeh is available at lunch.

Salmon tops a cauliflower-apple puree, fennel, brussels sprouts, mustard greens with a mustard-caper balsamic sauce.

The Jay Bird is one of the vegan options: house-made vegan patty, Daiya cheddar, meatless bacon with vegan Sriracha Thousand Island.

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