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.
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-.