Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Leaving On a Jet Plane, Via El Segundo

Richmond Bar and Grill
145 Richmond Street
El Segundo, CA 90245

A lot of people ask why we take our good friends Chuck and Stephanie to the airport so often. The simple answer is that they get a lot of vacation time, and head off to South Carolina to see their grandson. For most people, taking someone to the airport is one of the worst things you can ask them to do. It's right up there with asking someone to help you move, or asking a good buddy for money. Both, very unpleasant experiences.

For Katie and I, taking Chuck and Stephanie to the airport is never a chore. With all of our busy lives going on, it is one chance that the four of us get to talk. Joking about Chuck's advanced age is enough to take us from south OC, all the way up to Long Beach alone. Our payment for all this, besides the great conversation, is that Chuck takes us somewhere for dinner. I always get to choose, and Chuck has to pay. It works out pretty nicely for all of us, except Chuck's wallet. On trips where we have to drop them off at LAX, we usually hit up a place that's just south of the airport. That's what we did on this night, when we made it to Richmond Bar and Grill.

For those of you unfamiliar with El Segundo, it is a beach city, that is located just south of LAX. The city is known for its aerospace industry and its petroleum related business's. The few times we have been here, it can be characterized as a sleepy, little beach town. The downtown area has a long ago, kind of Mayberry type vibe going on here. Lots of independent business's and restaurants. As with many beach cities, we had a hard time finding parking here, but we almost always get lucky, and find a spot that is not too far from our desired restaurant.

Richmond Bar and Grill is located one block west of Main Street. This is not a big restaurant. They have eight tables and bar seating. They have been here since 1976, which just happens to be the same year that Chuck turned 80. Sorry Chuck, couldn't resist. Anyways, this was a very local crowd the night we were here. The USC game was on TV, and brought about some spirited cheers from the Trojan fans in attendance. Even with the local crowd entrenched here, the patrons and servers seemed warm towards us outsiders from OC. The menu is typical bar food; burgers, wings, hot dogs, and sandwiches. We were given ample time to put our order in, and this is what we ended up with.

I was real hungry, and very eager to spend some of Chuck's money, so I ordered two items, the first of which was this Bad Dog ($7.95) This is a hot dog smothered in five alarm chili, cheese, and onions. I promise there is a hot dog under all that chili somewhere. I was pretty pleased with this chili dog. The chili had a nice spice to it, there was plenty of onions, and the hot dog was definitely all beef from what I could tell. This is definitely a knife and fork hot dog, which usually goes against my principles, but I did not want to make a mess of myself in front of Stephanie. Predictably, the bun did get a little soggy under all of the weight dumped on top of it. For a side item, you get Richmond's Famous Chips. These are chips, that are cut and fried right here on the premises. To be honest, I give them credit for making these here, but I was not a big fan of these. Some were fried crisp, but others were kind of soggy, or not fried enough. They were seasoned with salt, but I would have rather of had fries.

Katie kind of threw me for a loop here, when she ordered this Tuna Melt ($8.25). This tuna melt was made with albacore tuna, jack cheese and tomato. Katie did not know what to expect with this, but she was pleasantly surprised. The cheese did not overpower, it was not greasy, and the tuna was definitely the star of this sandwich.

The rest of the entrees we got on this night were burgers. Let's start with Chuck's selection, the Pastrami Burger ($8.75). The burgers here are not massive. They are a third of a pound, so it was no problem for any of us to put these away. Included on Chuck's burger was of course pastrami, lettuce, tomato, and jack cheese. Man, they sure do love their jack cheese here. Chuck felt this burger was pretty average. He's a butcher by trade, so it takes a lot for him to be impressed when it comes to meat. He felt the pastrami used here was pretty lean, but did not offer much else to say about it other than that. He did get fries, instead of the chips, which was a good call. They are of course cut and made here, and were fried a lot better than the chips. These are the way to go here.

Chuck's much better half, Stephanie likes things spicy, (that always makes me wonder why she likes Chuck so much, but I digress). The Fiesta Burger ($8.95) appeared to be right up her alley. This burger had jalapeno pepper jack cheese, avocado, and grilled Ortega chilies on it. This burger left Stephanie wanting more heat. The chilies were not spicy, and the jalapeno jack cheese did not provide any punch. She felt the rest of the burger was kind of just average, (like her husband).

I was not going to be satisfied with just a chili dog, so you better believe that I had something else as well. The Blue Cheese Bacon Burger ($8.75) would be that other thing. This burger included crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, and crumbled blue cheese. Like everyone else, this burger left me wanting more from it. The patty was juicy enough, but I needed some mayo or maybe a blue cheese dressing on this to make it more moist. There was definitely enough lettuce on this for me to make a salad out of it. I liked the fries, better than the chips, although some could have been a little more crisp.

Thoughts on Richmond Bar and Grill? It was not awful, but none of us left here clamoring to come back anytime soon. Most of the food was pretty average, with the chili dog being a highlight for me. I was pretty impressed with the service, as local bars can get a little clicky, but that was not the case at Richmond Bar and Grill. We felt like we were regulars during our stay. I also thought the prices were on the fair side. A burger and fries for under $10 in a restaurant is about what you are going to pay for a value meal at a fast food place. Of course since Moneybags Chuck was paying, money was definitely no object. We look forward to their next trip, not just because Chuck will be out of town, but also because we look forward to taking them to the airport and getting to try a new place for dinner.

Out of five buckets of pine tar, (because El Segundo was home to George Brett, who had a famous home run taken off the board due to the use of pine tar, in a game against the Yankees, and came flying out of the dugout to protest), five being best to zero being worst, Richmond Bar and Grill gets 2.5 buckets of pine tar.

For more information about Richmond Bar and Grill, go to their website here:

Richmond Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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