Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (JFAT) just opened up in Santa Monica, but from the flow of customers and interaction between staff and guest you'd never know it - it seems like it's been around forever. I visited J-FAT for dinner and I was pleasantly surprised. For starters I had never heard of JFAT's before so I did a little research before dining. All signs pointed to very casual - no fuss kind of restaurant in fact their Facebook page says they serve " straight-up, uncomplicated, hot-damn delicious, good food in a comfy & post-mod gastropub setting" I must admit I was expecting to find myself amongst a crowd of spring breakers partying it up college style being that it's so close to the beach, but I arrived to find a beautiful restaurant in between all the major Santa Monica hotels on Ocean Ave. Patio seating, bar seating, booths and high tables were all available. I took a booth right in the middle of everything so I can experience all of the loveliness that was so unexpected. I ordered a drink while I decided on what to eat. The Diablo for me of course because I love spicy cocktails. Turns out the Diablo was a bad choice - I now had a devil on my shoulder persuading me to order everything on the menu. If only an Angel drink had existed to help me make some healthy choices, but it didn't therefore I didn't. The Diablo's charm had worked on me and I proceeded to order all the appetizers in sight.
First to arrive was the ahi poke served with crispy wontons it was very fresh and the sauce was delicious. I barely had time to dig into it before all the other goodies started to arrive. The charred brussel sprouts came out and they truly were charred which I loved. They were super roasted and crispy and had a nice smokiness from the Applewood smoked bacon but not over powering at all and a little sweetness from the Maple syrup they are tossed. Then came the whiskey shrimp one of my favorites of the night. The shrimp came in a little cast iron skillet cooked in a creamy cajun served with a side of bread to soak up all the goodness and believe me it was GOOD! My only complaint was that I wish there was more bread served with it. I finished the bread and had so much sauce left over that I didn't want to leave, but I made my peace with it knowing I still had so much more to enjoy. Another favorite of mine was an unexpected one - the meatballs! They were great, so tender not chewy or rubbery like most meatballs tend to be. These were brought over for me to try; not something I would have ordered on my own, but I'm so glad I got to try them. They came in a buffalo BBQ sauce, If that sounds strange to you - that's understandable It was a bit weird for me too, but this is a dish you've got to try. The sauce was so amazing I even used it to dip my calamari in because I as much as I liked calamari I didn't love the remoulade it came with, but no biggy I was truly enjoying them with the buffalo BBQ sauce.
I had tried nearly all the appetizers and I was near the point of explosion, but the entrees arrived looking all grand and fabulous I just had to dig in. The Grilled Filet Migñon, served with cheddar jalapeno potatoes was absolutely delicious . I had a hard time imagining what the potatoes would be like because the menu didn't say much about them just that they had cheddar and jalapeños, but they arrived and I was happy to see a potatoes gratin style - thinly sliced potatoes layered with cheese and jalapeño. It was a great entree the potatoes went so well with the filet and the asparagus weren't just there to make the plate look pretty thety were cooked to perfection. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken was also a great choice an elevated American comfort food style dish.
Before I knew it dessert was sent over - Butter Pecan ice Cream. Oh no! I was so stuffed at this point but how the heck did they know butter pecan was my favorite? I mean SERIOUSLY, I LOVE butter pecan ice cream! "The Diablo" of course must have had a hand in this too. There's no way the waitress could have known my obsession for butter pecan otherwise. So even though I was full (that's an understatement) - I of course gave in to temptation and dug into that big beautiful pile of sweetness and I'm glad I did it had banana slices in it which I love with my ice creamand even more crispier , crunchier, sweet candied pecans that really made the dessert awesome!
It was such a great dining experience I left waddling , but thinking how lucky are these travelers and locals are to have such a great place to dine at just across the street from them. The place was in soft opening when I visited and it was already booming with business - the patio was full and more and more groups came coming in to dine. JFat's I may not have known you before, but I do now and I won't forget you!
1733 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401 P/ (424) 292-5222