Sunset Bar & Grill is a formula. Every single restaurant that calls itself a "bar & grill" is exactly not different from every other restaurant that calls itself a "bar & grill." The only distinguishing feature of any bar & grill is...nothing. I just said they were all the same, except for Sunset Bar & Grill, which differentiates itself by...being on the Promenade! All you have to do is change the name, and you will still have that generic decor dominated by wood that remind me of my parents' basement converted into a rec room, a bar with a suspiciously sticky bartop, bar stools with an equally sticky quality, bartenders who are only half "there," waitresses whe are even less so, unidentifiable but recognizably bad rock music in the background, and an odd odor that smells faintly of the bottom shelf of a refrigerator.
Sunset Bar & Grill!
I had never eaten at Sunset Bar & Grill before because 1) if I wanted to eat at a Bar & Grill, I'd never drive all the way to the Promenade, and 2) if I were on the Promenade and were hungry, I'd rather go into high-performance shopping: on an empty stomach, which burns fat and makes clothes look better when you try them on. But I work here on the Promenade now and am cursed to eating all the over-priced mediocrity that festers for years on these three blocks because restaurants rely on a continuous supply of new, unsuspecting tourists rather than repeat customers. It's the balance for having everything else soooOOOooo good in my life.
Knowing that at some point I would have to eat there, we went there for a quick bite to get it over with. There was nothing particularly remarkable about the menu except that appetizers are half-price during Happy Hour, which lasts until 10 PM. Now that is remarkable, given the sorry state of "happy hour" in LA.
I don't expect to fall out of my seat over a vegetable quesadilla, so there were no surprises there. I appreciated that the tortilla was crisp and that the kitchen had been generous with the vegetables. I would be surprised if the julienned peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini had come from the Wednesday or Saturday morning Farmers' Market, but I know they weren't Green Giant, either. A little more cheese wouldn't have been a bad thing. The burger looked decent enough, but I was more interested in the French fries. They were decent, too.
I can't say I am dying to go back to Sunset Bar & Grill. Hell, I can't even say that I would go back to Sunset Bar & Grill at all, especially with it being remarkably unremarkable at such a high, Promenade price, but hey, with a late Happy Hour that features half-price semi-decent French fries, and if the stars are aligned just right, there might, just might, be a little Sunset in my future.
Sunset Bar & Grill
1240 3rd Street Promenad
Santa Monica, CA 90401