Drunk After Work: Park Avenue, Stanton
The Place: Park Avenue, 11200 Beach Blvd., Stanton; (714) 901-4400.
The Hours: 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Deal: $4 well drinks, beer and wine specials, half-price appetizers.
The Scene: Park Avenue is well known for its bar, an understated reflection of the Googie style of architecture--think "The Jetsons": stars, parabolae, atoms, nice soft curves. Usually populated by people dressed nicely (waiting for tables at the popular restaurant), it does bring back the ambiance of the three-martini lunch of yore.
The Sauce: The beer selection is bog standard; wine is a much better choice here, with a decent selection of mostly California wines available by the glass and a huge list of bottles. Well drinks are the usual off-label bottles, though nothing terrible; go for a mixed drink and you may not notice it. If you prefer to call your liquor, the bar is well-stocked and the bottles clearly turn over frequently, but the prices go up significantly ($9 for a called martini, for example, over $4 for a well). Try a sidecar; it's something of a speciality of the house.
Seriously, what the hell was this supposed to be?
The Eats: Looked good on the menu, but contained some real clunkers. As an example, "caramelized onion tart" ended up being a round piece of what tasted like matzoh with a dozen or so rings of indifferently sautéed onions and a small handful of decent bleu cheese scattered across the top. Potato chips were a better choice, but some of the chips had been stuck together in the fryer, resulting in an unappealing, oily mush. More attention needs to be paid to the bar dishes, or they should be removed from the menu.
The Verdict: A cute oasis in still-gritty Stanton with an affable bartender who knows how to mix a drink, and a good value on well drinks, but not worth a special trip. Show up (very) early for your reservation if you want to try it out; the full dinner menu (as reviewed by our own Edwin), has some great surprises on it. Just skip the bar menu.
The Grade: C-.
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