In The Monster’s mind Del Frisco’s Grille (now open in Santa Monica) is an upscale version of TGI Friday’s for clientele who would never want to step foot in such a place (like The Monster). Others in LA are working with the same playbook (South Beverly Grill, Houston’s, Truxton’s). And that’s a-ok in this guy’s mind.
You come to this mini-chainlet (locations in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, NY, DC and more on the way) for solid American bar food in a setting that could work for a casual date or business meeting. You know there will be ahi tacos and kale salad and burgers so you won’t have to worry if the menu works for the table. You know service will be friendly and the prices won’t leave you calling your accountant afterward. And you know you will leave happy enough, though always wishing for a bit more.
Despite the horrid art and some questionable design elements (looking at you, ugly chairs and light fixtures) it’s a nice enough looking room, mostly meant not to be noticed more than it has to. There is a large patio fronting the ocean and pier, a bar to circle around and booths lining the windows.
The menu is what it is. Nothing is going to amaze your sense of adventure but most anything could tickle your fancy enough for a meal. At lunch-time there are apps, salads, flatbread, sandwiches and mains.
To start, The Monster opts for the kale and Brussels sprout salad because it hits two clichés at once but they are one’s The Monster enjoys. It’s pretty pedestrian as salads go, as if the mega-weight of cliché expectations makes both ingredients a little less exciting ultimately.
Next up are the Southern fried chicken sandwich with shaved lettuce, B&B pickles, sloppy sauce and frites and the West coast fish tacos with roasted tomato salsa, corn-jicama slaw, avocado, serrano-honey vinaigrette.
The chicken sandwich fares pretty well while the overdone fries fail. It is a nice presentation (they are trying here) but you’d do better with The Hungry Cat version down the street for the same price. Likewise, the fish tacos are fine, but Water Grill’s example a few doors down prove far superior.
All that being said, Del Frisco’s doesn’t fail at what it aims to be. A friendly, versatile spot that will satisfy enough when called upon.
Why go? TGIF
Monster rating: 3/5 Monsters
1551 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401