Sunday, July 10, 2016

LAX Pickup With a Stop at Truxton's

Truxton's American Bistro
8611 Truxton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

We have been looking to explore more of LA, so when we were set to pick up our friends at LAX, we decided to see what restaurants were around the area. A quick search of Yelp lead us to Truxton's, which is only a few miles away from the airport, and looked pretty promising. We left OC an hour and a half earlier than we usually do when traveling to LAX, which gave us plenty of time to give Truxton's a try.

Truxton's has been around for ten years now at this Westchester location, which is not easily seen from busy Manchester Avenue. A good landmark to look for is the much more visible Paco's Tacos Cantina, which is situated right in front of Truxton's. Along with this spot, they also have another location, which is situated in Santa Monica.

Truxton's describes itself as an American Bistro, a restaurant where the neighborhood comes together to enjoy classic dishes which are reinvented using unique flavors from around the world. The menu definitely reflects this, as they have a wide assortment of things to choose from. A quick glance of the menu shows the influences of Vietnam, India, Korea, and Thailand just to name a few. There are plenty of appetizers, burgers, entrees, and healthier options, some with a global twist.

We got here at just after 8 pm on a recent Sunday evening. Even at this rather late hour, the restaurant had a fair amount of people eating here. Truxton's is one of the more comfortable restaurants we have been to in awhile. A high wooden ceiling absorbs a lot of the noise, so you can actually hold a conversation with your table mates, but the restaurant does have ambient noise, so it does not feel like you are eating in a mausoleum. The center of the restaurant has a nicely sized bar, which has 2 TVs above it. I was trying to come up with a restaurant that this feels like, and I could only think it was like a brighter, more open version of a Lazy Dog Cafe. Let's hope the food is better than at Lazy Dog.

When I hear the words monkey bread, I automatically think of the delicious cinnamon pull apart that my mom used to make on Christmas morning. The Monkey Bread ($4.75) at Truxton's is not like that, but still pretty tasty. This is a pull apart, but instead of being made with butter and cinnamon, it's made up of cheddar cheese and garlic, and served with three dipping sauces; marinara, garlic butter, and ranch. I really enjoyed this version. The bread was soft and cheesy, and the three dipping sauces kept me interested. I'm usually a ranch kind of guy, but I think I liked the garlic butter best with this. I can see why this gets a lot of love online from their customers.

Both Katie and I had salads here to start with, and for Katie it was an easy choice, the Truxton's House Salad ($4.95) would be her selection. Their house salad starts with romaine lettuce, and is then topped with plenty of feta cheese, tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, and an oregano vinaigrette to finish it off. She liked the lightness of this salad, and that they kept things simple and fresh. She'd have a hard time not getting this salad on future visits here.

Longtime readers of this blog know that it's almost impossible for me to pass up a Caesar on my first trip to a restaurant, and that was the case at Truxton's also. This Creamy Caesar ($5.25) had a different dressing than most, but was constructed very well. The dressing did not seem to be anchovy based, but had a smoother tang to it than a traditional Caesar dressing. Nice for a change. I was also a big fan of the shaved Parmesan and croutons here. They were big enough to have a real influence on this starter salad. Very good version of my favorite salad.

Katie really had a hard time making a decision about what to have for the main portion of her meal at Truxton's, but after some great debate going on inside her head, she finally made up her mind to have the Taos Chicken Sandwich ($14.98). This sandwich was anchored by a grilled chicken breast, with chipotle mayo, greens, pepper jack cheese, bacon, tomato, and avocado added to the very good torta style bun. She felt this was a great spin on a traditional chicken club sandwich. She liked the use of the torta bun, and the moderate heat from the insides of this sandwich. She opted to upgrade to sweet potatoes for an extra dollar, and was happy with the result. They were fried nice and crisp, with a tender inside.

With so many options on this menu, I'm almost ashamed to admit that I reverted to my old standby of a bacon cheeseburger. Truxton's version of this classic burger is called the Gilly Burger ($15.85), and it comes with shredded lettuce, tomato, applewood smoked bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, a spicy 1001 dressing, and crispy onion strings, all on a brioche bun. I liked this burger, but was not blown away by it. It had a lot of my favorites on here, but they kind of fell flat. The spicy 1001 sauce was neither spicy, nor did they add enough of it to make its presence known. I loved the Tillamook cheddar cheese, as it is one of the best, and it spreads wonderfully when melted. The half pound beef patty was fine, but the real star of the show was the brioche bun, which did an admirable job of keeping everything in line. I upgraded to garlic Parmesan fries for an extra dollar, which were actually pretty tasty. The garlic and seasonings actually clung to the fries, and did not settle to the bottom of the basket like other restaurants garlic fries are prone to do.

We still had an hour to kill before picking up our friends at LAX, so dessert was needed to stretch things out. Salted caramel, according to my dad is played out, and if a guy that still loves Peter, Paul, and Mary thinks something has reached its expiration date, then maybe it has. We still tried this Salted Caramel Carnival Sundae ($6.98), just to spite my dad and his trend theory. They use a salted caramel gelato here, and include caramel infused cinnamon churros and fresh whipped cream.  I kind of thought that this was going to be better than it was. The gelato here was a little on the runny side, and I think this would have tasted better with ice cream instead. I did not really get too much salt out of this, but there was plenty in the way of caramel. The churros were the best part of this, with a good amount of caramel inside of them, but it was hard to incorporate them into the gelato portion of this dessert.

Truxton's is a great option for people picking up or dropping off people at LAX. We are up this way quite a few times a year, and with their large amount of offerings on their menu, we look forward to coming back again and trying more of their food. The standouts for me on this visit were the monkey bread and my Caesar, but everything else was good, but not drive all the way from OC great. The comfortable feeling we encountered at Truxton's was not only due to the decor and feel of the restaurant, but also from the great service we received from our server, Stanley. He was personable, answered all of our questions, and perfectly balanced the fine line between making sure we had all that we needed and being too intrusive. We will definitely keep Truxton's in our mind when we are near LAX.

Out of five lions, (because this restaurant is located in the Westchester section of LA, which is also home to LMU, whose mascot is a lion), five being best to zero being worst, Truxton's American Bistro gets 3 lions.

For more information about Truxton's American Bistro, head to their website here:

Truxton's American Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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