Thursday is the new Friday. Well, for many people, Thursday has always been the start of their weekend, and though I always joke like it is for me too, it never truly has been. *Ickie* conference calls fairly early on Friday mornings with the East coast, and since they’re three hours ahead and want to leave their offices not too late on a Friday afternoon, well...Thursday night means I’m in bed at a very responsible hour.
Responsible until recently, that is. Suddenly my company institutes a monthly happy hour. That’s no problem since happy hour ends by 7 pm, and it’s only once a month. But for the entire month before we made the official company-wide announcement, I was out doing “field research,” visiting all the local Westside bars being a very diligent, thorough researcher. The office ended up at Pacifico’s in Culver City for fostering communication, camaraderie, and networking. We'll see how well that works ;) Margaritas and so-so Mexican seafood once a month.
That’s only once a month, but since I was out doing all that “research,” I am now addicted to happy hour, particularly on Thursday nights. Sure, sometimes this means taking the Friday morning conference calls with Atlanta on my celli in the car on the way to the office, but a 747 flight of vodka and naughty late-night noshing is worth it. When they catch me silent, a quick “Oh, sorry, what was that? Driving under an overpass,” and they’ll never know that my Alka Seltzer Morning Relief fizzing in a cup of coffee hasn’t hit my system yet. *wink*
The most recent happy hour haunt is Shane Restaurant and Bar. To be quite honest, we walked into Shane long after the appointed happy hour ended, but at 9 pm, we were just barely getting our swerve on, so we crawled up Main Street from our launch pad. Next time, we’ll drive – Shane is at the far far northernmost end of Main Street. We settled into orbit at Shane.
Shane has been open for a while now, but I remember the buzz when it floated onto the scene. It was the great hip hope for westsiders, a new place to capture the attention away from somewhat tired Main Street standards. It was the setting for lots of social networking (doesn't that just scream "singles!?") circles, as well as those horrible speed dating things. But the buzz soon faded, as the reality sunk in. The decor and atmosphere are nice, but it’s set too far away from the rest of the action on Main Street. More importantly, the food was absolutely forgettable. We went there within the first six months of its open, and yep, I don’t remember what we ate. Forgettable. But I told myself I’d give it a second chance, maybe a few months for Shane to get into its groove.
Like the subtly lit sign outside, the interior is predominantly black and red, creating a dark, sexy mood. It’s a hybrid of sleek and contemporary Asian and oddly luxurious Moroccan. There is a dining area up front that converts into an extension of the bar after dinner, and there’s quite a bit of action on the back patio.
There are a few high tables around the perimeter of the dining area, which has a few lingering tables leftover from dinner. But it’s too late in the bar evening and still fairly early for dinner for Shane to be this empty at 9 pm. We could sit anywhere, but opt for a high table against the front window so we can watch the few people outside who do happen to pass by. Again, Shane is fairly far removed from the main drag, so there’s not much to look at on the sidewalk out front. A stretch Hummer limo pulled up front that looked interesting, but it was empty. Limo driver probably stopping at the liquor store nearby before his next pickup.
We get our personal poisons, and I have to bite my tongue when Stella Artois arrives at the table. I have a thing with Stellas. There was a time when my friend and Stella were hanging out a lot. It made me very very jealous, because I am not ashamed to say it – I am a jealous, possessive girl. Well, his Stella-phase has long since ended, but my friend still continues to drink Stella and it reminds me of the other Stella. *grr* It should be called Sarah Artois, not Stella. Actually, that doesn’t really work either, but we just can’t get into all the juicy details, can we? Oh well, I gulp down half my cocktail, and I forget about Stella.
I’ll just say it. Shane is boring. There are a few pretty people in there, but honestly, the place was half-dead, and if it weren’t for the little wooden bowl of bread that came to the table, we would have just pounded our drinks and gone back south on Main Street. But there they were – ickie little rolls that were horribly hard and burnt on the outside, yet suspiciously doughy and squishy in bad way on the inside. Lots of garlic – good, but not enough to make up for the rest of the bad. We covered them all back up (minus a few test bites) with the Miami Vice pastel peach napkin and laid them to rest.
The pizza we ordered was the most innocuous looking thing on the rather eclectic, unfocused, let’s-just-call-it-weird-okay menu. But it was incredibly salty. That’s to be expected from an anchovy, caper and kalamata olive pizza, but not so salty that I had to drink two glasses of water in addition to my cocktails. And not so salty that Friday morning I don’t wake up hungover because I’m water-logged. Every cell in my body has permanently bonded to every molecule of water like we’re about to go for 40 days in the desert.
That’s not to say the pizza wasn’t good, but I’m not going to say it wasn’t bad. The crust was a little too thick for the type of pizza it was. Shane has a prominent steel wood-burning oven against the back wall of the main room, but the temperature inside must be too high because the outside of the thick crust was cooked, but inside, it felt doughy – same symptoms as those rolls. I love anchovies, but these really were just too salty. They needed a short soak in water or milk or something for reverse osmosis de-salination (I just made that up).
As much as it makes me silently *ugh*, I admit that Stella came in handy at Shane. Along with all the water I drank to satisy my poor over-salinated body, I also drank the S
tella, which seemed to refresh me a little better. How, I have no idea, since I don’t like beer at all, but it worked on the pizza. Maybe it partially killed the taste of the anchovies, too.
What a shame that Shane let me down again, and this after at least year since they’ve been open. I had such hopes the first time, and even still a faint glimmer for that second chance, but if I can help it, there won’t be a third.
Shane Restaurant and Bar
2424 Main Street (@ Hollister )
Santa Monica, CA 90405