Maru closing was a tough loss for the SCV. Truly. It was way ahead of its time, and light years ahead of anything anyone is currently slanging in the city. With that being said, its time to move past it, because there’s a new tenant that has taken over the vacant Maru space on Town Center Drive.
Thelma’s and Luis (hokey, cheesy, or awesome, I can’t decide) opened up with new tables, chairs, linens, artwork, a mirror, and a menu with asian flavor. By now everyone and their mother knows that Luis Diaz was executive chef at Chinois on Main under Wolfgang Puck. Anyway, I remember when Thelma’s Morning Cafe first opened up it was GLORIOUS! Like having our own little neighborhood Chinois right around the corner. I had many memorable dinners there with my family. Over time, the menu started changing and it became more mainstream. I didn’t go back for years until a few months ago when I stopped in for breakfast. It was pretty busy, but then again aren’t most breakfast places in SCV always packed?
Fast forward to a month or so again when I first heard rumblings through the grapevine that Luis Diaz was going to open a refined version of Thelma’s Morning Cafe in the vacant Maru spot. It would be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it was going to be more like fine dining. I was excited because I thought maybe they would have those Chinois-like dishes again and it would fill the void left by Maru and bring some REAL fine dining to this town.
At the Sierra Pelona Wine Festival a few weeks back, I had a chance to look at the dinner menu since they were one of the vendors. As someone who drops serious money on food and eats at amazing restaurants quite often, I felt the prices were a bit steep. Entrees were on average $20-$27 and appetizers were like $14ish. You know what else is steep? Rent at the Westfield Awesometown Mall, so I figured that’s why it pricey. I guess I had just hoped the quality would match the price tag. Shrug.
They do have Happy Hour from 3-6pm. Some of these items (hot wings, spring rolls, chicken/beef skewers) are not on the regular menu. We were a little late for HH but its nice to know its there.
They will also be having a Mother’s Day Special, which is a good value considering the regular menu prices. You actually save a lot!
Here is what our table ordered:
Thelma’s Burger ($8)
My menu was the only one at the table that said (the other ones didn’t have this written on it) that the burger comes with a “haystack” of bottomless fries…but our soggy fries came in a bowl and when we were done eating them we were never offered more. So YMMV on this one.
Sea Bass ($24)
New York Steak ($27)
The two above entrees were perfectly cooked and full of Asian flavors. The burger, however, left much to be desired. Having said that, the one positive thing about the menu is that there is something for everyone. If you want to have a simple dinner you can order a burger or a sandwich from the lunch menu (available at dinner time) and those items are reasonably priced. If you feel like having a baller night out in Awesometown and paying a hefty premium for your dinner, then you can do that too. So yes, its a bit expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You have options. A lot of parties came in, sat down, looked at the menu, got up, and left. So the reason I’m being so honest in this blog post is so that you know what you are walking into. Also, they don’t have a website and are lacking in the social media category. It was hard to figure out what days they are open, what their hours are, what the specials are, etc. I think a website (even a simple one) is so essential these days. Wix makes it easy! It only took me 30 minutes to make Rustic Eatery’s website! Fact.
For dessert we shared the tiramisu. Not sure the price on this one since they didn’t have a dessert menu. Thelma’s Cafe is still open in Saugus, so now they have two locations. The mall location offers breakfast so I’m sure it will be packed. I just don’t know their hours.
Thelma’s and Luis
24250 Town Center Drive
Valencia, CA 91355