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Punch Grill - Wilshire and Santa Monica (review)

Checked out the new place, Punch American Grill on Wilshire in Santa Monica/West LA. Used to be Ocean Star. New owners spent a lot of coin fixing up the place. Inside is very clubby/modern with flat screen tv's, nice bar area, new booths, etc. Very nice. Menu has appetizers, soups, salads, entree salads, pastas, entrees, sandwiches, and desserts.

Prices for appetizers are a little steep - $9-$10 for a salad or soup. Sandwiches and Entrees range from $12 up to low $20s. There is a good selection of fish, meat, chicken, and pasta dishes. Apps look really promising. Onion Soup was good and hearty. Maui onion salad with avocado and manchego cheese was very tasty but portion was small. Caesar salad was solid too. Other apps we didn't have included pan roasted mussells, spinach fondue dip, roasted artichoke with aoli. Salads were very varied and sounded good.

Seared ahi sandwich was a nice portion. Bread was okay - not great but the ahi more than made up for it. Nice cut. Seared perfectly. Grilled chicken sandwich came on a tasty baguette with onions and cheese. Lots of sides to choose from but the onion rings may be the way to go. Some of the best I've had in LA - light, crispy with a peppery hint. Excellent rings. Desserts change daily. Service was professional and was very interested in hearing comments. The place doesn't have the best signage outside but the area could always use a new upscale lunch spot. We'll be back.

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  1. Could you please give exact address. Thank you

    1 Reply
    1. re: bocarw

      3001 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 90403-2301, NE corner Stanford if I remember correctly. Was formerly Royal Star, owned by Ocean Star in Monterey Park.

    2. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in this restaurant, very upscale. We were a party of four and the high-back booths gave us a little more of a "private party" feeling.

      The Texan in our group commented that this was one of the few places in the area that he could find a great variety of beef dishes. Personally, I prefer lighter food and settled on an aspargus/crab salad which really hit the spot. There's also burgers, fish, a great variety of appetizers (artichoke fondue!)...something for everyone.

      The bar is nicely set up and not too crowed (yet, anyway). Lots of wide screens and I could imagine it would be a good spot for Monday Night Football.They said they will soon be getting some music in on the weekends so I'll check in again to see what change that makes.

      From the street, I hadn't really noticed this restaurant but, now that I've been in, I'll go back and see how it evolves. Definitely a place worth checking out.

      1. wonderful place with warm, friendly service...everyone is eager to please and the food is all excellent

        1. we are looking for a new neighborhood place around santa monica i went on their website and just felt that the menu was all over the place- seems like an upscaled hamburger hamlet- i'll wait for some more hounds to weigh in- until then its- drago-nagao-nanbakan-capo-yada yada

          1. To: coastcash...

            I think you're selling yourself short by not at least going in and checking the place out. If the website said "hamburget hamlet" to you, you got the wrong impression. If you're in the neighborhood, give it a try! I'm glad we did.

            Oh, and there's music on the weekends now and it's getting a little busier so you might want to reserve in advance!

            1. Tried it- it was ok- bar area was busy- service was weak-food was mediocre-price was o.k.

              1. I recently visited Punch Grill whilst visiting from London. Despite living in a city that boast a fabulous variety of restuarant choices, Punch Grill blew me away. My boyfriend (Italian man who is a chef so you can imagine the food snobbery at hand) and I were both so impressed with the food, we will definitely return upon our next visit to Los Angeles.

                1. I had dinner at Punch Grill about a month ago. It was one of the best restaurants I've been to for a while. Everything was great. I ordered the tuna tartar and somehow I forgot I ordered that and ordered the seared tuna for my entree. The tartar was great. Anyway, as I bang my head on the table for ordering tuna twice....After a bite of my entree, I was wishing I had my friends dinner. She ordered the Filet Mignon. We had a great bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

                  1. I've been there three times and each time I have encountered really poor service. Unfortunately the poor service far outweighs the food experience which is quite good.

                    1. I will have a hard time liking this place as it took overf from the westsides only decent Dim Sum joint (VIP doesn't do it for me)! Royal star was the only place (including SF and Monterey Park) that I have seen the baked char siu bun with a egg-washed crispy crumble on top.

                      ok. now thats off my chest...

                      I will try this "American Bistro" thing out real soon. I sure hope its going to fit my idea of bistro (simple, hearty fare that is sourced fresh and seasonal). If so, this will be a real boon to the area!

                      BTW... I can't find the website, anyone got a link?

                      edit... found it: duhhh. its http://www.punchgrill.com/

                      1. If you enjoy interesting burgers, Punch has the best one ever - The Lamb & Feta Cheese Burger. Outstanding! Be sure to request it topped off with extra feta then the flavors become explosive. My mouth waters just writing about this burger. Can't wait to have another.