Located at what might be the best restaurant location in Los Angeles, the Del Frisco restaurant on the corner of Ocean and Colorado has a steady stream of people passing by day and night. The restaurant brings back good memories for me, for when I was in the wine business

Their Dallas Texas location was one of my best customers. And I remember some mighty fine Steak dinners there.

Times have changed, and steak houses are no longer in the NY style, with dark rooms and red leather booths. This restaurant has a large, attractive indoor seating room, and two outdoor seating areas, one facing the pier, with afternoon sun, and the other shaded facing the restaurant next door. Best of all the tables are well spaced apart, so you don’t feel like you are having lunch with the people at the next table.

The staff is well trained, with the male waiters in white shirts and ties, and the female waitresses in very short black skirts and black stockings. Personally, I find short skirts on waitresses a bit out of date, and suggest they too would benefit from the same black pants as their male counterparts wear. It certainly makes it easier for them to bend over to pick up something on the floor.

There is a very attractive selection on the menu: steaks are around $40, and some of the best reasons to go there would be the sweet potato fries and the soups, especially the butter squash soup. I love the brunch menu, especially the crab benedict. I’m going back one night for the BBQ ribs, which looked delicious.

But we went there for a hamburger. When I asked for it medium rare the waiter counselled against it, and said the patties were too thin to be cooked medium rare. He suggested instead the ground filet burger. So we went with that, and it was medium rare. But the meat reminded me of hamburgers in France, where they use high quality beef with very low fat content, which results in a burger that is dense, and not juicy. There are so many wonderful hamburger places in Santa Monica now, that I don’t think Del Frisco’s is the go to place for that. We didn’t try the “impossible burger” which turns out to be vegetarian, but I’ve heard good things about it.

Also I’m passing on the fried chicken on a waffle, which is too much food for me, and I’m not having salads until the current romaine lettuce scare is over.

There is a separate dessert menu, and next time we’ll try the lemon cake, but this time we had the molten chocolate cake which was excellent, and served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. That made it worth the visit!

The big disappointment is the wine list. The wines look to be priced between 3.5 and 4 times wholesale, which is much higher than most restaurants. There are almost no reasonably priced wines, and even the Malbecs, which I would expect to pay under $25 for, are at $75 or more. On the good side, there is a nice selection of half bottles (to my taste better than the selection of full bottles) but there is not a good selection of wines by the glass.

With the great “Meat on Broadway” restaurant a block away, with a broader selection of steaks and a better selection of wines at about one-third the price of the wines at Del Frisco’s, this restaurant has some shaping up to do. Still, there is plenty of good food on the menu and the service, location, and table spacing make this a nice addition to our local restaurants.

1551 Ocean Ave Suite 105, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Hours

Open ⋅ Closes 11PM

Menu: delfriscosgrille.com

Reservations: delfriscosgrille.comopentable.com

Phone(310) 395-7333

Merv Hecht, like many Harvard Law School graduates, went into the wine business after law. In 1988, he began writing restaurant reviews and books. His latest book is “The Instant Wine Connoisseur” and it is available on Amazon. Or you might like his attempt at humor in “Great Cases I Lost.” He currently works for several companies that source and distribute food and wine products internationally. Please send your comments to: mervynhecht@yahoo.com.

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