I’ve been hanging out in all the wrong places in Santa Monica. I need to come here more often.
I feel like I should be in Downtown. Why isn’t this place Downtown?
Downtown L.A. is the labyrinthine monolith you probably think it is. It is walls and walls of concrete canyons blotting out the sky like any good Metropolis does. Downtown can be a little scary. It can be (yes) nest of Vipers and Thieves…
…but’s also old. Real old. Proper old.
I’ve written how Los Angeles has no center, but a couple of decades ago, Downtown was the center. You actually did things there. Glamorous nightclubs, drinking establishments both high and low end, eateries. It wasn’t Hollywood. No, Hollywood was over there. This was the center of the real Los Angeles…
…and then slowly but surely, people started to leave the center, and move out…toward the Valley, toward the Ocean. The center did not hold.
So, imagine my surprise, as I’m walking along ultra touristy 3rd Street Promenade, and there’s Misfit Restaurant and Bar. I must’ve passed it a million times when I was down here every weekend. Barely caught my notice.
Now that I write about Food all the time, this is a place I should have gone to a LONG time ago.
Outside, it looks like every other Southern California eatery. Just a place to grab a bite, a beer, and nosh the hours away.
But you go inside, and…
…oh, man, there’s that Downtown feeling washing over me.
It’s seriously old world in here. Every list of Old School L.A. should have this place. (I’m looking at you, Zomato friends). Wood paneling stretching up to a deco ceiling two stories above me. A Bar with rows and rows of Bottles waiting to be served, and above that, a collection of books sitting as decoration. (I don’t think they’re meant to be read and discussed like you would at Viet Noodle Bar).
And it’s crowded. Did I mention crowded? Seems like people in the know came diving in here.
This is a seriously nice place. I like this.
We’re seated. They don’t have a Chalkboard menu, but they have the next best thing, one that is printed out with Today’s date on it. Cocktails on one side, a focused menu on the other. Lots of salads of locally sourced ingredients. Lots of inventive cooking. Lots of stuff, me you and everybody else will like…a lot.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: As we enter the next phase of my attempt to try every Fried Chicken Sandwich in Los Angeles, I went with their Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and a side of their House Made Hand Cut Fries.
The Fries were good, but…c’mon…they’re fries. How badly can you screw them up? They were tiny little shoestring things, that came with the usual ketchup, and some honey mustard thing (looked like Chutney). Sweet. Not bad.
The Crispy Chicken Sandwich came with Jidori Chicken Breast (where have I seen that before), Fennell-Apple slaw and Spicy Mayo. And when they said Spicy Mayo, they mean…Spicy Mayo. It’s not going to hit you at first, or all at once, but…needless to say, after munch on this thing, you’re going to need to take a water break every couple of bites.
It’s a well stacked, deep, open-your-mouth-like-an-Anaconda sandwich. Because of the amount of crunchy cabbage and spicy mayo, expect there to be some structural integrity issues, even though Misfit has been good enough to provide you with a toothpick to keep the thing together.
All in all, not a bad sandwich. Actually, better than “not bad”. It’s good I’d have it again in a second. It’s not quite up there with Tom Bergin’s, or the one I had at Son of a Gun, but it’s in the conversation.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: One of the things I want to highlight is…something I’m not going to highlight.
Needless to say, after the Staff has cleared your table, and just before you get your bill there will be one more tasty surprise coming your way. Nothing gut-busting, just a tiny, tasty surprise. Everyone who’s been to Misfit’s already knows what I’m talking about. It’s one of those things that makes people fall in love with a restaurant just for doing a nice, out of nowhere, kind of a thing.
Also, it should be noted that Misfit’s isn’t hard to find, or particular hard to see from the street. It’s just in a place you don’t normally think of when it comes to restaurants along 3rd Street.
PARKING: Well, it’s 3rd Street, so it’s always an adventure.
There are a number of Public Parking Garages littered up and down 3rd Street (in this case, along 2nd or 4th). Consult our Santa Monica Parking Guide for locations. I will say, when I was there (At the time of publication) are a number of them undergoing some construction. There will be signs highlighting how many spaces are left in the Garage. Pay attention to them.
I will also say that I hung out at 3rd Street for about three hours. Got nothing in the way of validation from anyone, and paid a grand total of a $1 American to park. Great…deal.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar
225 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 656-9800
Monday-Wednesday: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Thursday-Saturday: 12:00 pm – 1:00 am
Sunday: 10:30 am – 11:00 pm