Reviewed by Jeff Walker and Danny Walker

My Casual Dining Standard – Truxton’s American Bistro (Westchester)

Visited: Thursday night (3/20/08)
Locations: 185 Culver Blvd., Playa Del Rey, CA 90293-7659 (between Culver Place and Esplanade St.)(map)(link)

Phone: 310-823-6222  

Other Locations: 2518 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403 (map)
Phone: 310-449-1171

Solid, but unspectacular burgers cannot overcome a beach vibe that is too laid-back and results in long waits to get your food.

Deeper Insights:

The Shack isn’t as small and rundown as its name implies, but by no means is it a place for gourmet food or a trendy crowd. On the menu are a number of burgers and chicken sandwiches that come with a variety of tasty toppings. At a reasonable price, they are decent for a casual lunch or dinner with friends, but not ideal for your next hot date.

In fact, unless you’re going there for a few drinks (there is a full bar), karaoke or just have a lot of time to kill, you would best go when there is no crowd at all or simply stay away. On a Thursday night with an average-sized crowd, it took almost 30 minutes for diners to get their food. One pair of guys even waited that long for their potato skins.

Once finally getting the burger, it was filling and satisfying (albeit surprisingly lukewarm temperature-wise), but not worth such a long wait. The tiny kitchen could use an expansion, while the employees could use a bit of urgency. The relaxed beach atmosphere seeps its way through every bit of The Shack leaving it as a decent place after a day at the beach, but definitely not a destination spot.


Attitude: Hang loose, chill out, watch some sports highlights and think about the size of the next day’s waves.

Bathroom: Tiny bathrooms in the back that can be reached by both the restaurant area and the patio. Men’s urinal is practically in the corner of the men’s room, meaning you may get hit by the door. Stall was serviceable, but there was no lock on the door – there is one on the main bathroom door if you want to try that for some privacy.

Condiments: Ketchup, mustard and Tabasco sauce on the tables.

Crowd: Laid-back locals ranging from twenty to fifty, with the occasional college kids.

Décor: Beach vibe – hanging surfboards, wood tables, and promotional posters that adorn the walls. In some ways, it represents its name well as far as feeling smaller and more cramped than it is and not having the sleekest environment.

Dress: Come as you are.

Drinks: Soda and water from dispenser (free refills). Beer and hard alcohol available from the bar. $12 for a pitcher of Newcastle that served a little under 4 pint glasses.

Hours: 11:30 a.m – 1:30 a.m.

Line: At 8:15 p.m. on a Thursday night, there were only two to three people ahead in line, but the wait for food was quite long given the lack of line.

Music: Sports broadcast played softly over the speakers.

Order to Service: 30 minutes to receive food. Sit at a table and wait for name to be called.

Parking: Limited street parking. Parking available in nearby strip mall lot and a hidden lot next to the strip mall.

Payment Options: All major credit cards accepted.

People Watching: Unique crowd of locals that doesn’t provide a great pick-up opportunity unless you’re drunk, older or find a night when more co-eds show up.

Reservations: None.

Seating: A half dozen or so tables in the front seating area with another half dozen (including booths) further back. Seating also available at the bar and along a counter against the wall.

Service: Cashier was friendly, but was also forced to help in the kitchen when they got very behind on the orders. It took the busboy 10 minutes to clear off our table. The staff was unflappable under the face of pressure, but seemed to take much longer cooking the burgers than they should have. A larger kitchen would probably help solve this.

Smoking: Patio on the left upon first entering.


TVs: About a dozen TVs visible from the bar and the tables.

Water: Free in dispenser.

What We Ate:

Kelsey Burger (1/4 burger, Swiss cheese, bacon, avocado, BBQ sauce served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and mayo on a sesame seed bun): The burger was supposed to be medium, but came out medium-well and not as warm as desired. Despite the extra crispness, the meat still had a nice flavor to it. The bacon was not as fatty and limp as a lot of places serve it, while the avocado was fresh and decently portioned. The combination of ingredients made for a good burger, but definitely an unmemorable one. $7.25

The Shack Burger (1/4 burger, Louisiana Hot Link on top, served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and mayo on a sesame seed bun): The signature burger provides a decent meal, but overall uninspired. The hot links are moderately spicey but nothing that most people wouldn’t be able to handle. $6.00

Added French Fries: $1.25 with Burger

Tip: Get $1 off burgers on Tuesday nights.

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