Some say "sunday." Some say "sundah." But no matter what you call them, you suddenly see them popping up on menus all over town. From big - deal restaurants to newfangled diners, sundaes are back with a bang. Here are a few of the places you'll find them.
BISTANGO (133 N. La Cienega Blvd., (213) 652-7788). A fun place where the rooms are spacious, the service is kind--and it's open late. A superior introduction to California cuisine would be the gently grilled baby salmon with sun-dried tomatoes. Pizzas are Bistango's forte, and the ratatouille pizza, armed with jolts of garlic and riotously colored yellow, green and red peppers, is simply superb. On the dessert side, there are all manner of amazing sundaes. Try the Coupe Bistango, a gargantuan adult sundae made with homemade ice cream. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Pizza and dessert served until 1 a.m. All major credit cards. Valet parking. Dinner for two, food only, $30-$70.
CROCODILE CAFE (140 S. Lake St., Pasadena, (818) 449-9900). This no-frills establishment began with somewhat of a bang. Only hours after its doors opened, it was besieged by hungry hordes. The reason: good food at attractive prices. There's a really good burger, interesting pizzas and one pasta dish that delivers: linguine with tomatoes, ricotta cheese and basil. A clear-cut winner among the larger plates is the grilled chicken breast with papaya and chili-mint relish, fried plantains and black beans. And for dessert, what could be more patriotic than a brownie sundae? Open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. and Sat. till midnight, Sun. to 10 p.m. Beer and wine. No reservations. Validated parking during the day, valet at night. All major credit cards. Dinner for two, food only, $15-$35.
ED DEBEVIC'S SHORT ORDERS DELUXE (134 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, (213) 659-1952). Here's the ultimate theme restaurant. Forget about pirates and wenches and fantasy foods--walk into Ed's and you take a different kind of trip. It's a whole new kind of dinner-theater. The waiters and waitresses are all playing parts, and you can play right along with them. The menu: simple American dishes (none over $4.95) brought back from the '50s--hamburgers, chicken tetrazzini with frozen veggies, skinny spaghetti, farmer's chop suey and four-way chili. Let's talk hot fudge sundaes. For 35 cents, you can enjoy the world's smallest, a tiny gem served in a glass that looks like an egg cup. There is also a bigger version. Sun.-Thur. 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking. No credit cards. Dinner for two, food only, $7-$20. (Also in Torrance, 23705 S. Hawthorne Blvd., (213) 378-5454).
DIPPY'S ISLAND CAFE (213 Marine Drive, Balboa Island, (714) 675-DIPS). History oozes from the very walls of this '50s snack shop. It's mild and cozy, with much of the eating area in pale pink. Pink shirts grace the folks who wait on you. The dips rival those over at Philippe's, and they serve five of them, including a lamb model. We'll now fast-forward to the desserts, for they are to get fat for: carrot cake, old-fashioned with cream cheese frosting; a variety of fountain treats made with Breyer's ice cream; an exemplary hot fudge sundae that goes down oh so nice; milkshakes, ice cream sodas (how's that for nostalgia!) and malts. Thoughtfully provided are sturdy, wide-bore plastic straws that facilitate the consumption of these frozen treasures. Breakfast, Lunch and dinner daily. MC, V. Dinner for two, food only, $10-$20.
KATE MANTILINI (9101 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (213) 278-3699). "We thank Musso & Frank, Ollie Hammonds and Armstrong Schroeder for the inspiration for this menu," says the menu here. Kate was a boxing promoter in the '40s, which explains the presence of an enormous pugilistic mural floating along one wall. At the opening bell, dig into the great crusty sourdough loaf served with whipped butter. Start Round 2 with the shrimp cocktail; the shrimps are big and perfectly cooked. Clams casino is a good bet, too. For the knockout punch, order up the lamb shank with braised vegetables. For dessert, of course, a hot fudge sundae. Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-3 a.m., Sat. 5:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Closed Sunday. Full bar. Valet parking for dinner, validated otherwise. All major credit cards. Dinner for two, food only, around $25.
MORTON'S (8800 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (213) 276-5205). Morton's is a movie biz hangout, but you can enjoy this place even if you're not in "the biz." The food is simple, decently cooked and does not call too much attention to itself. In addition to grilled fish and good beef, there is a delightful grilled-chicken special with black beans and tomato salsa. Hamburgers at Morton's are obese, and the mountainous piles of French fries are rail-thin. Most people here seem to be dieting, which means that they are missing out on the extravagant hot fudge sundaes. What a pity. Dinner only, Mon.-Sat. Full bar. Valet parking at night. MC, AE, V. Dinner for two, food only, $40-$80.