Things that bore The Monster: politics, talking about politics, politicians, lines, reality television and unfortunately, Josie Restaurant.

The restaurant does many things well.  It’s a classy space that utilizes farmer’s market ingredients and was well ahead of the now ever-present farm to table phenomenon.  And yet, last night The Monster found himself struggling to order anything on the menu and the service, while proficient, was definitely not warm.  With only two glasses of wine the bill still hovered near $200 and given we were celebrating Mrs. Monster’s birthday the food didn’t wow either of us.  In fact, the food was downright boring.

And perhaps even proprietor and chef Josie La Balch feels as much, given the opening of Josie Next Door, a paired down gastropub whose menu and prices are much more in keeping with current LA dining trends.  The Monster very much enjoyed a meal at Next Door recently at a fraction of the cost.

The menu features a small selection of appetizers such as a fig and herb crusted goat cheese tart with port-roasted figs and Oregon hazelnuts or a grilled quail wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon with lady apples, savoy cabbage and currants.  Entrees include a “tagine” of beef short ribs braised Moroccan style served with cous cous and a side of spicy almond yogurt or a Brittany salt-crusted Jidori chicken with pancetta-roasted carrots, Allen Brothers grits and Brussels sprouts as examples.

After much deliberation and absolutely no help from our waiter who languidly repeats “that’s great” and “that’s really good too” after The Monster asks about a few entrées the choice is cauliflower soup (wow, that’s boring just to type) to start and a “Campfire” trout served whole with blue lake green beans, sweet corn, jewel tomatoes and lemongrass nage.

The soup is…


The trout is…


The truffle fries…

Boring (and how is that possible?).

While all are cooked well it feels like The Monster is eating in 1998, not 2012.

Even the blueberry cheesecake to end the meals proves…


Why go?  When you speak people tend to fall asleep.

Monster rating: 2 ½/5 Monsters

2424 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405

(310) 581-9888

Josie Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Josie, Reviews

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