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As good as Chez Jay & The Galley in S M used to be

I am trying to find a casual neighborhood restaurat with the feel of The Galley or Chez Jay but with better food. Growing up in Santa Monica, I remember (maybe incorrectly) both of these restaurants having fantastic salad and steak. I have eaten at each of them recently after many years. The vibe is exactly the same but the food at both was mediocre at best. I am hoping this restaurant will be on the Westside but I will drive if needed. It can even be less casual but I do like the non-chain feel of these places. I know Cut and Mastro's have great steak but that's not what I am looking for.

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  1. Never been to The Galley, but I don't recall the food at Chez Jay ever being described as "fantastic" unless you were drunk.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      lol!! but its still so much fun!

      1. re: MRS

        Their bloody marys are killer, perhaps a little too much so.

    2. Try Tar and Roses - wonderful steak and salads - among other things. Corner of SM Blvd and 6th in SM.

      Never went to the Galley or Chez Jay so I may be off on the atmosphere. Biggest issue with T&R is how difficult it can be to get a reserve - and trust me, you need one.

      I also think Cucina Vecchio on Main St in SM may be a good place for you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dgusanz

        I like it, but it's too young, too hip.

        A good local's place someplace on the Westside then?

        Hal's Bar and Grill. Food is better than Chez Jay or the Galley, especially if you like a garlicky Caesar (that will stay with you until the next day!)

      2. Maybe HMS Bounty or Taylor's in K-Town.

        1. I've got to say Freddy Smalls, on Pico at Gateway, feels a lot like a neighborhood place like that. It's small, dark and a touch divey, though the interior is modern and cleaned up a bit. The food is out and out wonderful. The menu is not old school steak and salads though. Cocktails are delicious too.

          If that menu is too hip, have you checked out the Arsenal, a bar a few blocks west on Pico? Their menu is more retro than FS. I have not eaten there before though.

          1. How about Billingsley's, on Pico in WLA? The food and coctails are pretty mediocre, but the prime rib is nice and rare (all right, fatty too, but don't judge me, pork belly addicts!) and the corned beef and cabbage is OK enough. Throw in a salad with green goddess dressing, and don't forget to harmlessly leer at the charming drunken octagenarians (hey, they're cute!). The vibe is like doubling-down on Robitussion, minus the bedspins... One caveat -steer clear of the complimentary spumoni...

            3 Replies
            1. re: silence9

              Billingsley's food was worse than Chez Jay the last (and final) time I tried it. Arsenal wasn't much better. I will try Freddy Small's. The food is more important to me than the neighborhood atmosphere but I was looking for a non- chain casual restaurant with fantastic steak. Not sure if ths exists. thanks for suggestions!

              1. re: flowergirl

                Tar and Roses rib eye for 2 is sublime. Served with an arugala/shaved pam reg salad. It has your name on it!

                Throw in the brocooli with parm custard or the baby roast carrots with chermoula and you will keep coming back for more......

              2. re: silence9

                The food at Billingsly is like Rubituson too. Don't do it.

                1. re: Servorg

                  I loved Chez Jay when I lived in Santa Monica. But that was long ago.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Larry's is actually a great call, food is very good there, if you don't mind being a stones throw from the hipster Venice boardwalk scene. No steak, though I believe the menu changes frequently.

                    Golden Bull? I think that place is just as bad as Billingsleys.... Blue hair central. Über dated decor. Nice enough people though.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Ooh, how did I not know of Larry's?! Looks legit.

                      What do you recommend from the menu, foodwise?

                      1. re: spoonlicker

                        Only had the pork belly blt...good stuff w/ Damnation - Russian River Brewing to chase it down. Report back if you try it.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Where in fucks name is Larry's ?

                          I'd this the deli on windward a bock up from the beach ????

                          1. re: kevin

                            (Need to stop posting when hammered, bro). Larry's on Winward. Wasn't impressed.

                            1. re: cagey

                              Well, again, I really liked the one thing I had and their beer list was pretty damn impressive. What did you have that didn't hit it for you?

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Oh yes... don't get me wrong. Beer list was great, and you can't beat the location / view. The pizza was a little soggy and I think my response was slanted toward the OP's request for a place that "has the feel of Chez Jay's or the Galley." Larry's has a way more modern vibe, and was pretty packed out when I went there. Completely different direction from CJ, Galley, Billingsley's, Golden Bull, etc.

                                1. re: cagey

                                  I think I still might try their Porkalicious Pizza with sausage, bacon, prosciutto and chorizo sometime. It just sounded too good to not at least road test once...

                              1. re: spoonlicker

                                The grilled cheese and green curry mussels are both outstanding..... Good wine list also.

                            2. Only The Galley and Chez Jay are like the Galley and Chez Jay. There is nowhere else like these old school steakhouses, and the food is still consistent at both - unless you travel to Taylor's. For the italian version of these places, try Vito and Guido's.

                              1. There aren't any others like those two around here.

                                1 Reply
                                1. I can't think of the name of the place on Wilshire, south side of street, between Yale and 26th (I think). The original restaurant, an institution, is on 6th St. just west of downtown LA.>

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. My post got cut off. The place on the south-east corner of Wil.shire between Yale and 26th (I think). This is the 2nd restaurant, the first iconic one is on 6th St. just west of downtown LA. Help!!!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: buhhh

                                      are you thinking of pacific dining car?

                                    2. Yes, thank you westsidegal!!

                                      1. I admit I have never been there but would Musso and Franks fit the requirements? Not on the Westside, but everything I have read about it makes it sound like the right kind of place.

                                        Also, I supect it is atmosphereically challenged but Ushaiai (sp??) on Wilshire and about 26th in SM - argentinian steakhouse - might fit the reqs.

                                        Lastly, what about BOA Steakhouse on corner of Ocean and SM Blvd in SM. Have also not been there but have heard the steaks and sides are very good.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dgusanz

                                          I liked the food at Boa, but it is probably too $$ and too hip for OP's parameters.....

                                        2. I grew up in Santa Monica and love the Galley and Chez Jay. I have calibrated myself to the fact that they are not what they once were, just as Gladstone's will never be as good as it was when in was in the canyon on Entrada...but I'll still at least go to the first two.

                                          I like the Billingsley's recco and I've got a few more but it should be noted that if you are going for that feel, the food isn't going to be modern or particuarly fancy though some places I'll suggest can get spendy.

                                          In no particular order.

                                          Golden Bull (SM Canyon)
                                          Dear John's (Culver City)
                                          Buggy Whip (Westchester)
                                          James Beach (Venice) Note: not exactly old timey but then again, it's been there for around 20 years and has a really nice Ceaser and steak.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ellaystingray

                                            With all due respect, I must say that the one meal I had at Billingsley's was about as depressing and bad as I can recall. Not close to Galley or Chez Jay in any way, shape or form.