The Old Town Junction is a Culinary Love Story & we're Infatuated
February, 2019 - Issue #173
The Old Town Junction is love, finally requited.
A longtime fan of Chef Daniel Otto, this is the moment - and the restaurant - I've been waiting for. I'm not alone.
For over a decade and a half, I've had the honor of meeting culinary teams, of being one of the first to taste their newest and best. That's how I first met Daniel many years ago, then the executive chef at a local fine dining restaurant. It was my first experience finding the chef to be as memorable as the food. He spoke with unrestrained passion about fishmongers and pastured eggs, local sources for buffalo meat and making his own ketchup. But more than anything, he talked of his deep desire to raise the communal culinary palate of his hometown.
But dreams are just that, until they are realized - and that's probably why it feels just a little other-worldly to walk into his restaurant, The Old Town Junction, on Main Street in Old Town Newhall. The space is all at once quaint and classic, always inviting while never forgetting that what happens here is magic.
It's because of the people as much as the plates. Servers can't wait to tell you about their favorite dishes - or what they're having at the next table over that you can't take your eyes off of.
Management is in the business of spoiling guests with attention and detail. "I'm so glad you like it! We make our own jerky for our cocktails," my tablemates and I overhear as what it means to be a truly-from-scratch kitchen which was explained unhurriedly.
Of course, the star of the show is the food - comforting, local, seasonal and perfectly presented. At Old Town Junction, the ingredients shine in generous servings on pretty platters - nothing has been left to chance and everything is crafted with intention, right down to the sliver of pumpkin-seed brittle adorning the spiced Pumpkin Crumble Cake.
Here are some of our favorite finds at The Old Town Junction... but we'll be back for more.

Our ebony squid-ink pasta, topped with clams, mussels, spicy sausage and crusty triangles of bread was so well received, no broth was left (politely) unslurpped. Lemony, garlicy deliciousness was made even brighter with the addition of chardonnay and shallot. This one is not to be missed.
Charred Spanish Octopus
Yes, they are whole octopi and yes, they are delicious. With white-bean puree, heirloom cherry tomatoes, morels, croutons, micro basil, butterfly pea flower emulsion and vinaigrette, these delicate bites have just enough crunch thanks to their fiery preparation that even the novice seafood eater is sure to enjoy them.
Pork Belly Confit
Melt-in-your-mouth moist, tender, smoky and succulent meat coupled with fresh radish, a peppy serrano and kimchi fried rice and sweet bits of charred pineapple made this dish disappear fast.
Lamb Burger
A real surprise turned into an instant
favorite, as this juicy ground-lamb patty served with harissa, pickled Persian cucumber, yogurt, roasted red pepper, feta and spring mix on a brioche bun seamlessly combined American and Middle Eastern flavors with aplomb.

Sophisticated Hound
Grey Goose vodka, fresh lime and grapefruit juices, a rosemary sprig and Hawaiian black salt make for smack-your-lips refreshment.
OTJ Lemonade
Get the Uber ready, because this bold mix of Suntory Toki Japanese whiskey, pineapple, fresh lemon, ginger syrup and mint is as strong as it is flavorful.
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