Monday, April 11, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I hit The Yard, located at 119 Broadway in Santa Monica for dinner. This neighborhood gastropub was the creation of CJ Jacobson (Top Chef contestant). At 6:30 on a Friday night the place was packed, luckily they had an open table.
ON THE MENU –
I ordered the House Ground Yard Burger, which comes with Grafton Cheddar, grilled onions, heirloom tomatoes, shredded lettuce and 1000 island dressing. The meal arrived in about a beers time and looked beautiful. I got excited when I saw the heirloom tomatoes, because good tomatoes are something that most burgers, in my experience, lack. I just wish they were not cooked, because they would have been so much more flavorful. The 1000 island dressing scared me at first because I am generally not a fan, but I have to say, it tasted pretty good on this burger. The patty was an interesting conglomerate made of Ground Chuck, Ageel Angus, Short Rib and Pancetta. I was most excited for the short rib mix in the patty, but I couldn’t taste it. Don’t get me wrong, the meat was good, but not worth the price of each ingredient. The thick slices of melted Grafton Cheddar were awesome and possibly the best cheese I have ever had on a burger. The bun was delicious as well and I could tell the perfect amount of butter went into it. Both of these ingredients made me really want to come back to try the Thursday Grill Cheese special.
ON DRAFT –
This place has a ton of awesome beers on tap and in bottles. They also usually have a special cask of some sort. They even have “Taste the Tap” which is a taster of any 3 craft beers for 6 bucks, which was tempting, but I started with a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA on draft. Then I had a Double Bastard on draft with my burger, which was delicious.
ON THE SIDE –
The burger comes with a small portion of triple cooked fries (boiled, baked and fried). I inquired about them and they said that this method insure that the fries were crispy. I didn’t find them very crispy, but on the other hand they were thick home-style fries.
For a starter I got the Arancini, which were crispy risotto balls in spicy marinara. They were delicious and the marinara sauce was awesome. It tasted a bit more like a vodka sauce, but that was probably why I liked it so much. No doubt about it, I will definitely be ordering this next time.
Since the deserts looked so good on paper, I had to try one. I went with warm sweet potato doughnuts with Mexican hot chocolate. These were super fresh and the Mexican hot chocolate dipping sauce was really spicy. Both of them together were fantastic. And the best part about it, the spiciness tasted great with my beer.
They are only open nights, except for Sunday brunch, so get here early or make a reservation. The Yard is a perfect place to eat and/or grab a drink at after watching the sunset from the Santa Monica bluffs (about 150 yards away).
The burger was good, but was a little pricey for $15, however all the drink selections, the delicious appetizers and desert means I will be coming back soon to sample more menu items.
RATING – 8 out of 10
Check out their website here.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Located in Santa Monica at 1415 Montana Ave, Blue Plate is a popular little joint and when I say little, I mean little. They maximized every inch of the restaurant, cramming in about 20 tiny tables. I was relieved to find both staff and patrons in friendly spirits, maybe this is due to the white painted walls and big picture windows that allowed all of the sun shine into the room. Whatever it was, Blue Plate was definitely filled with returning customers and locals.
ON THE MENU –
I went for the Hamburger with cheese. This 12-dollar burger comes served with super fresh, delicious ingredients including crunchy lettuce, long cut dill pickles, sliced onions and a flavorful juicy red tomato slices. You have an option of cheese and of course I went with cheddar. The Angus patty was about a quarter inch thick and seasoned with plenty of salt. All of this was sandwiched between a Brioche bun. I usually don’t even like pickles on mine, but these tasted good. It comes dry so you will want to order a condiment. I went with mayo. All and all this burger is pretty simple, but that is not a bad thing.
ON DRAFT –
They do not have anything on draft, however they do have about 7 bottled beers. It is not your normal collection featuring some Lost Coast brews, Blue Star, Scrimshaw, Dos Equis, Allagash White Ale and a beer of the month that all run about 6 bucks. They also have a modest wine list that features at least one of each of your basic varietals.
ON THE SIDE –
The burger came with your choice of soup, salad, fruit or fries. Of course I went with the fries, though I was mildly amused to see fruit as a burger side option. The fries were skinny cut, super lightly golden colored and appeared to be cooked to perfection, but disappointingly they were not as crunchy as they looked. The flavor was there, but it was all dulled by the slight sogginess.
They are pretty crowded at lunch so I would go after 1:30pm. If you are cloister phobic, get your order to go unless you get one of the two tables on the sidewalk. They also have free parking in back.
The burger was very simple but the freshness of the ingredients especially the tomatoes was refreshing. And the Brioche bun was nice plus. The beer was good, but the fries were damp. Overall, I would go back. Who knows if it was, but it tasted like one of the healthiest burgers I have had in a while and that is pleasant for a change.
RATING – 5.5 out of 10
Check out their website