Truxton's American Bistro replaced the old sports bar 14 Below. (Photos by Michael Ryan michael@smdp.com)

Truxton’s American Bistro replaced the old sports bar 14 Below. (Photos by Michael Ryan michael@smdp.com)

For quite some time a crumbling, dingy white building on the northwest corner of 14th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard featured a “Coming Soon” sign for Truxton’s America Bistro. After months of zero progress to the dilapidated structure, the coming soon sign should have read “don’t hold your breath,” or “cutting through lots of red tape.”

Whatever the case may be, Truxton’s opened its door this past Monday. It feels strange that this day has finally arrived. The fresh facade looks good though, and it’s a nice addition to a Mid-City stretch dominated by car dealerships and medical buildings.

The biggest surprise, besides the fact that it finally opened, was that the service was completely on point for a new restaurant. Perhaps they were overcompensating, but from the hostess, to the servers, busboys and management, service was snappy and enthusiastic. So much for soft openings. Truxton’s certainly has hit the ground running.

The menu is jammed packed. Apparently “American bistro” means everything and anything. Pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, salads, small plates, burgers, breakfast, vegetarian, and other favorites such as curry bowls, brisket, and burritos all signal a red flag. Doesn’t a Cheesecake Factory-sized menu mean quantity over quality? In Truxton’s case the answer is no.

The Seoul Burger at Truxton's American Bistro, now serving a wide variety of dishes at the corner of 14th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard. (Michael Ryan michael@smdp.com)

The Seoul Burger at Truxton’s American Bistro, now serving a wide variety of dishes at the corner of 14th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.

High praise for the Seoul Burger, Blackened Shrimp Pizza, and Bistro Salad shared between myself and a friend. The burger was a fine mess of meat, kimchi, and a fried egg on a soft flour-dusted bun. The pizza was flatbread thin but held up under a blend of toppings including ham, mozzarella, shrimp and a spicy-sweet sauce. And the Bistro Salad was good enough to stand on its own as an entree. Three winners make me less skeptical of more specialty items like the spaghetti and meatballs, or the fish and chips.

I must also mention the Monkey Bread. Sounding like something from Guy Fieri’s kitchen, the light loaf of pull-apart bread infused with cheese and garlic is a Truxton’s must.

The full bar means fancy cocktails such as fruit-infused margaritas and mojitos. The beer list ranges from Coors to Chimay with a few surprises in between. And the wine list may even meet the approval of an aficionado like my fellow food writer Merv Hect.

The Monkey Bread is a must if you love cheese and garlic. Who doesn't?

The Monkey Bread is a must if you love cheese and garlic. Who doesn’t?

If you were expecting another gastropub or something more hipster-centric, think again. Truxton’s seems best suited for families, co-workers or any other group of indecisive eaters. At first glance Truxton’s resembles something along the lines of a Chili’s or Applebee’s. But the quality of the food exceeds any mega chain. It’s deceptively authentic.

 

If you go

Truxton’s American Bistro

1329 Santa Monica Blvd.

Santa Monica, Calif.

90404

(310) 393-8789

www.truxtonsamericanbistro.com/

 

Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike burning calories so he can eat more food. He can be reached at michael@smdp.com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/greaseweek