NEXT DOOR BY JOSIE
UPSCALE LOUNGE NEXT TO FAVE WESTSIDE EATERY
Located literally next door to venerable west side restaurant Josie, where Chef Josie Le Balch prepares an uncomplicated menu of classic cuisine and comfort foods, ranging from the enticing Pan-Seared Duck with Savory Hawthorn Berry Sauce to the homey rib-eye steak with Pop's Peppercorn Sauce, is her latest venture, Next Door By Josie, a simple and sophisticated lounge serving wonderful cocktails, big and small snacks, and mouthwatering big plates in a more casual setting.
Josie describes her next-door retreat as “50 seats of casual deliciousness located, well, next door to Josie."
With the kitchen sitting in between Josie Restaurant and Next Door By Josie, the new location features a clean and modern aesthetic, including a cool cork wall, which adds a fun design to the space while helping to absorb sound.
Sit at the bar, where happy hour runs Tuesday thru Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. or have a seat at one of the cozy tables and order one of the bar’s savory signature cocktails for $10 apiece. Bartender Colleen Ford Morales pours a mean cocktail and her self-concocted Queen of the Desert drink, featuring tequila, grapefruit, lime, jalapeño and tonic, is refreshing with just the right amount of tart followed by a wonderful kick. Another great choice is the Cucumber Collins, made with gin, cucumber, lemon and soda. It’s light and refreshing, keeping it simple and ever so tasty.
If you’re planning just to grab a quick drink, you may want to order the Marinated Olives with preserved Meyer lemon and herbs for $5. They make for a great small snack while you enjoy a cocktail or two. If you want something slightly more filling, the Deviled Eggs with duck cracklin’, pickled beets, and scallion for $6 is an outstanding option. If you’re sharing a snack and you don’t care about your diet, order the decadent Beer & Bacon Caramel Corn for $5.
While the menu also includes simple items like Prime Dry-Aged Beef Burger on Bun, and a Natural Beef Hot Dog, you can also go with the more daring and refined selections, such as Dry Rubbed Pork Riblets, Wild Game Chili, and Mai’s Duck Confit ‘Bánh Mi.
Looking for a not so guilty option, I went for the Farmers’ Market Vegetable Pot Pie with white cheddar crust. While you may find its $18 price somewhat steep, it’s the perfect dish for any potpie lover, especially for non-meat eaters. It satisfied my potpie obsession without having to eat meat, which I’ve gone without since the beginning of the year.
Meat eaters fear not, among all the hearty choices, the Pan-Seared Prime Rib Eye, served with baby mizuna and Kennebec potatoes, was a hit at the table. We let Colleen behind the bar pair our entrees with wine and she so hit the mark. The rib eye flavor was really brought to life with a red 2004 Temranillo, ‘Riserva’ Baron de Ley. My potpie, which easily could have been paired with a white wine, was partnered with a phenomenal 2008 Barbera ‘Briccontondo’ Fontanafredda Piemonte. It’s my new favorite wine. And at only $4.50 a glass, I know where my new favorite west side haunt is.
Sweet tooth lovers take note, for $8 you taste buds will be in heaven. The Chocolate Walnut Brownie Torte served with whipped cream is decadent and so worth the calories. If you’re going to treat yourself with dessert, you might as well do it right. The Strawberry Ice Cream Profiterole served with market strawberries is the way to go if you diet can’t handle the guilt. Either way you’ll leave with a smile on your face, even if you’ll have to run a few extra miles on the treadmill to make up for it.
Next Door By Josie is located at 2420 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. Hours: Tues-Thurs 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri – Sat 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Monday. Lunch: Tues - Fri 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Happy Hour: Tue - Fri 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bar. Call 310-581-4201. Free parking in the back.