Location: 1755 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 971-4460
Date: October 4, 2016
Rating: Ok food, terrible management
I keep being reminded of Herringbone — partially because of its large signage on prominent Ocean Ave, partially because it always comes up in OpenTable.
To be honest the reviews and my sense that this really isn’t a chef driven restaurant really gave me pause.
The interior is huge and the build out lovely. They must have spent a lot of money.
Fugu tree! Never seen one of those before.
Even more interior.
Anyway the menu is straight up seafooder. Not super exciting but they have some lunch deals.
But after you read about the food make sure to check out my “experience” issues.
Pear and burrata salad. Grilled persimmon, mizuna, sunflower seeds, poached pear, oregano vinaigrette. Tasty enough salad if highly derivative.
Kale Salad. La Quercia Prosciutto, baby heirloom tomatoes, avocado, pine nuts, pecorino, lemon vinaigrette. Also a solid salad.
Lobster roll and fries. The lobster itself was decent, although there wasn’t enough of it. The bun was too solid and the lobster just sort of piled on top (there was a little slit/hole). Overall the sandwich half worked. The fries were fine. Not amazing, not bad at all.
The location is great. The build out nice. The food not super inspired but okay. However, the service and experience kinda sucked. First of all, they sat us then basically ignored us for like 30 minutes. We barely got drinks (these took awhile). Eventually we managed to get an order in. And this was lunch. Who wants to sit around forever with a one page menu at lunch? Then there were a few minor goofs with the order, but it took forever. The place was huge but seemed short staffed both on service and behind the line. The servers appeared to spend far long tapping on the POS system than interacting with customers. The gap between our order and the first course was like another 30 minutes. Then after the mains were plopped down and no apology was proffered, we mentioned something and the server became instantly defensive and blamed it on the (lack of) cooks. Now that may (or may not) have been true, but it was graceless. And he didn’t even begin to offer anything up (like a free dessert or even an apology). Another member of our party complained to the front and got the manager — who was also defensive and didn’t offer much else other than saying we should “call ahead” and come in and he would make sure the experience went smoother.
But it was clear watching the room that there was a process problem. Everyone was waiting a long time (and there were only a couple tables in the big room) and there was no manager visible. In fact there were long periods where no servers were visible (just busboys). Clearly this is a corporate place and everyone was just phoning it in. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back, which is a shame because it’s close and has a nice space. Maybe, and it’s a big maybe, I’ll give it one more try at dinner (but reviews online indicate our problem was not isolated).