My Meal Cost: $8.94. Health Rating B. Yelp 3.5 stars
The journey north on Garey Avenue has been interesting. In talking with people in the community, they often ask me about this blog, where I'm at, and when will I get to their favorite spot. And this past week I was interviewed by a long-time print journalist (and college instructor in Journalism) who is working on an advanced degree and needed to do a video interview for his class. He asked some interesting questions concerning why I'm doing this, have I had any surprises, and how do I rate the restaurants that I dine at.
I explained to him that I don't consider myself a very good judge of the food because I know that as I've grown a bit older, my tastes and taste buds have changed. I now really LIKE spicy foods where I used to shy away from them. I've had the luck to have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world in places like Shanghai, London, and (only the best) Paris, as well as New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans. In looking over Jonathan Gold's best 101 places in Los Angeles, I've been to about 20% of them and really enjoy fine dining. I think I've also at one time or another been to most every fine dining restaurant from Covina to Rancho Cucamonga.
So what do I think of the Garey Avenue eateries? Most have been acceptable. While I post the yelp ratings on these places, I have a skepticism about how people rank on yelp. I'm pretty sure that the people who give a Garey Avenue place a 4.5 or a 5 are not comparing it to a dinner at Commander's Palace in N'walins.
This week brings me to Krazy J's. This is the spot that was previously the Fox Bar & Grill but has been rebranded (I believe it's the same management). The focus is now on Mexican bar food. The menu is identical to the menu at their Express place (nee Papa Tacos) with the exception that they don't have the Papa taco on the menu ?????
The ambiance is full-on sports bar with 10 televisions and a projection screen. The space is dominated by the bar which runs most of the length of the space with tables and booths along the eastern side and outdoor tables and a dining bar (or railing?) with stools. Above the indoor tables/booths is a bank of speakers which blare out rock music (when I arrived at 5:30pm the music was so loud I couldn't hear the bartender/waitress at all . . . she finally turned it down a bit).
I was given a menu and ordered one of the ten draft beers, Sam Adams, that they have on tap. The selection was fairly pedestrian with Stella Artois and Sam Adams about the most exotic next to Budweiser. As I mentioned, the menu was fairly familiar since I had just perused it last week at Papa Tacos. I decided on the Beer Can Burger, described as a 4 oz. quality burger stuffed with portabello mushrooms and a porter beer sauce. Then, looking down the menu, I saw one of my favorites, jalapeno poppers, stuffed with cheddar and cream cheese, wrapped in bacon. Yummy. The bartender/waitress informed me that they no longer served the poppers and that she'd working there for 5 or 6 weeks and they hadn't had them since she started, sigh.
A few minutes later the bartender/waitress returned to let me know that they also no longer have the Beer Can burger on the menu. Out of 4 burger options (an 8 oz burger, a bacon cheese burger, and sliders) they now only have 3 options. On her suggestion, I ordered the Chipotle Chicken Wrap which came with seasoned French fries.
The fries were doused in what appears to be Lawry's season salt. Reminded me of how I would add season salt at Bob's Big Boy from the shaker at the table. This salt was not quite as good, but acceptable. The chicken wrap: For some reason it came wrapped in aluminum foil. Were they afraid that it would not hold together or something? Not sure what that was about. The vegetables used in the wrap were fresh and tasty, however the chicken was breaded chicken nuggets. I looked at them and they were cut in small pieces but I wouldn't have been surprised to find that they were originally in the shapes of Mickey Mouse or dinosaurs. These were the kinds of nuggets you get frozen in the grocery store. Flat, flaked chicken of unknown origin and entirely tasteless. Would it have been so hard to have used some REAL chicken?
Perhaps the problem is reflected in the B health rating.
I guess this would be a good option for a beer after a concert or to watch a game but I think I'd stick to the Papa taco from their "express" location at the south end of the space.