I can’t predict the future, but something tells me this summer is going to be a hot one.
Maybe I’m merely reflecting on past summers where temperatures at 8am were close to ninety degrees, but I would bet that 2017 will have a similar summer. With that in mind, I plan on spending many heat-stricken weeks at the beach. Santa Monica will most likely be a second home, and I can see myself becoming familiar with freeways. Sure I love living in Altadena, but there’s no beach here so this city can’t compare. In preparation of spending days lying out on the sand and running into the ocean I decided to search for more great places to eat in Santa Monica. It didn’t take long and I didn’t have to look hard as my search easily led me to the front door of Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern.
Jimmy’s or J-Fat is a casual tavern that sits on the popular Ocean Avenue of Santa Monica. With a variety of nearby eateries ranging from fancy like Herringbone to super casual like Shaka Shack, Jimmy’s finds itself neatly snuggled in the middle. The restaurant places a unique spin on American classics by having a menu that offers long-standing favorites with a creative culinary twist. The restaurant itself has a dark aesthetic with bits of color and lights to add a little vibrancy. Walking from the inside to the patio the tavern has a strong Americana feel and I can only imagine how exciting the restaurant will be during Fourth of July. After taking the appeal of it all in, I sat outside at the patio. The server, Habacuc greeted me and walked me through the menu, offering me a few of his favorites. Hearing him talk so passionately about the dishes he loved was all I needed. I ordered what he suggested and patiently waited (while people watching) for the food to arrive.
It didn’t take long for a couple of the starters and shared plates to reach. The first I tried was the BBQ Buffalo Style Meatballs ($14). A skillet of meatballs sat in a pool of spicy buffalo BBQ sauce served with a side of mild honey garlic ranch. From the first to the last bite of the meatballs they were spicy! Not to the point that you’re gasping for air, but just enough to make you take a few gulps of water. Even though the sauce is hot and you may start to sweat, it’s welcome. The spice gives the tender meatballs a nice kick that only adds to the flavor of it all.
Opposite of the spicy meatballs were the Charred Brussels Sprouts ($9) that came with Applewood smoked bacon, pine nuts, and maple syrup. The perfectly cooked sprouts have never tasted as good as they did at Jimmy’s! I loved that the maple syrup had such a deep oak taste with the right amount of sweetness that drastically enhanced what could have been a boring vegetable. Alongside the syrup, the crispy pieces of bacon added a greater degree of texture and crunch with an easy level of saltiness to the Brussels sprouts. This bowl disappeared quickly and I didn’t feel bad whatsoever.
As the appetizers were removed from the table, the two large plates I ordered filled the now empty space. The plate that grabbed my attention with little effort was the Jimmy Burger ($18). Since cheeseburgers and fries are my favorite duo since a refrigerator and an outlet, this had to be tasted immediately. The burger was topped with Applewood smoked bacon, spicy jalapeño jam, southern pimento cheese, and served with shoestring fries that were sprinkled with thyme. The size of it was a bit intimidating, but that fear dissipated the minute I took a single bite, from there it was all love. The second appearance of the bacon here was rich, sweet, and thick which paired flawlessly with the juicy and damn near heavenly certified Angus beef. As I went further into the burger I quickly found myself infatuated the sweetness of jam and how the jalapeno spice crept through quietly as I reached the end of each chew. It may not be the prettiest burger, as the cheese poured down the side and the girth of it all caused it to topple down, but it sure tasted like it was.
By this time I was quickly loosing room in my stomach. Knowing that I’m not a quitter, I dove into the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($22) like Michael Phelps at the Olympics. The chicken sat atop garlic mashed potatoes, was drizzled with gravy, and paired with green beans. The chicken itself was a little on the thin side under the nicely browned batter. The buttermilk taste was prominent and made the plate taste like the epitome of comfort food. Taking forkfuls of the chicken and scooping up mounds of the potato was delicious. The potatoes came with the small amounts of the skin which I liked, but as I tried more of them I found the potatoes had a stiffer texture and weren’t as whipped as I thought they would be. Not to be forgotten, the long string beans were cooked just right so that they were crisp and burst with great juiciness in each bite. Taking all of it into consideration as a whole, the plate was good but a thicker cut of chicken and creamier potatoes could have made the plate faultless.
Bringing the entire lunch to a close was the JFAT Nightcap ($10). The minute my eyes caught the description, I knew it would be perfect. A single cocktail comprised of Godiva white chocolate, liqueur, Bailey’s, and Dekuyper Buttershots. With the first full sip it was clear that the hot drink was so delicious. It was smooth, mellow, chocolatey, warm, and went down with a sweet taste that wasn’t overdone.
Parking my car, walking down the sunny street, and stepping into Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern was a nice introduction to the day’s lunch. Even more, I realized that Jimmy’s will be a great place for me to be on many of my hot summer days. From the start with the rich meatballs to the end with the delicious cocktail I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Jimmy.
Address: 1733 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (424) 292-5222
Hours: Monday to Friday – 11:30am to 11:00pm, Saturday – 10:00am to 11:00pm, and Sunday – 10:00am to 10:00pm
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Nice location
- Street parking only