Here's a name I didn't think would ever land on Tasting Page: Joe Jonas. Joe Jonas as in the Jonas Brothers, the former Disney teen pop music group. Seeing as the Jonas Brothers split in 2013, they've had a little time on their pretty boy hands. Joe didn't rest long and paired up with two New York restauranteurs (Matthew Hechter and Chris Brandon) to create a hip little restaurant, replacing Joe's Diner, on Main Street in Santa Monica.
It's a small slip of a place, but much improved since the Joe's diner days, though some locals may disagree. A compact patio sits on Main Street with a few elbow to elbow tables under heat lamps. Entering the large sliding wood framed doors, you'll find a long bar on one side of the restaurant, and several tight booths on the other. The atmosphere is lively (ie., loud), but fun, with exposed wood beams running across the high ceiling, and white washed bricks adorning the walls, giving it that ubiquitous Brooklyn vibe.
The menu isn't anything new or blow away, but the dishes were all well executed. Tuna is crusted and seared with an avocado and artichoke salad. Octopus is charred and cooked to satisfaction, placed in a Greek salad style mix with oil cured olives, chickpeas and onions.
A mushroom ragu is earthy and savory with bright notes layered on a bed of polenta. Another good vegetarian option is the grains and green dish, which is hearty enough to fill your non-meat eating friends.
Shrimp and grits were solid - creamy, well spiced, nice texture. Salmon, simple, but flavorful on a bed of grilled vegetables and greens.
The chicken, which I usually consider a throw away dish since it's an easy to make at home cooked meal, ended up being the sleeper hit of the night - succulent and moist with a perfect herbed crust.
Dessert veers off into unique territory with ice cream sandwiches, which I'd like to see someone really eat with the spoon given to you. Then there's the bread pudding that's more like a bread pudding tower. Both were unwieldy, but worth the effort to break down and a nice end to the meal.
While we didn't have any Jonas sightings during dinner, Hinterland is bringing a hip vibe to Main Street, with some solid fare for a fun night out.
2917 Main St., Santa Monica