First let's get our terminology straight. By “brunch,” we don't mean precious, prix-fixe plates of nouvelle cuisine at Champagne prices. The only thing haute about The Castaway is its incomparable altitude. We're talking the mother of all-you-can-eat weekend smorgasbords — yes, with complementary bubbly. This weekend brunch is for connoisseurs of quantity, not quality. Request the Valley View Terrace. As you're shown to your table, take notes: Burbank's hilltop Castaway boasts seven different-themed buffet lines at an incredibly reasonable price ($28.95). From your seat, take a moment to admire the majestic sweep of the San Fernando Valley. At least the waiter assures you it's out there somewhere behind that heavy pall of beige haze. Sixty feet below, antlike duffers work the dogleg rough of De Bell golf course's eighth-hole fairway. But you're wasting precious forage time. For now, skip the bathtub-size chafing dishes tempting you with eggs Benedict and heaps of chive-and-pepper home fries. Resist the aromatic allure of the Mexican station and the sundry continental entrees and carving stations. What you want is there, nestled between the oysters and peel 'n' eat shrimp at the seafood bar: a mountain of steamed, iced crab legs, each sliced into neat, lateral halves by the band-saw chef. Don't be bashful. Load your plate. Then load it again. Top it off with bananas Foster. Now go home and book a 12-hour Pilates session. 1250 E. Harvard Road, Burbank. (818) 843-5013,

—Bill Raden

LA Weekly