Brandon Hernández 5 p.m., April 24
Sneak Joint: Booze > Burgers
It looks like Ed Bedford mentioned the bottomless pasta bowl at this Mission Beach bar a while back. I didn't get a chance to dig into such a bowl of pasta, but I did stop at the bar for some other food. I liked the layout of the place: really open, small patio, comfortable seats, but the stools at the bar were jammed so close together it was actually difficult to belly up and order.
I tried a "bomb" burger, because there was a Wednesday special going on so the sandwich was only $5 with the purchase of a pint of beer. It was worth that, but barely. The bread was unappealingly dense and the burger hadn't been cooked with much in the way of skill so that very little charring or searing had happened to impart flavor into the meat. The fries lacked crispiness, although they were plentiful enough that there was no way I could possible finish them all.
Since I was hungry, I also put away an order of buffalo chicken meatballs ($7) that had little bits of celery in them. It wasn't the worst re-interpretation of buffalo wings I've seen, at least in principle, but the texture was unbecoming of a meatball; as though the chicken was borderline pureed and forced to stay together through sheer force of willpower.
Despite the fact that the facade of the building advertises food as a major attraction, it's pretty clear that Sneak Joint is much more of a watering hole in practice. The drinks menu lists copious amounts of sugary cocktails (available by the pitcher for relatively low prices), inexpensive beer, and designer shots. The extremely high ratio of ridiculously attractive girls--bikini wearing bartenders included--that fill the bar at any given time is probably a bigger draw than the food ever stands a chance of being.
It's not like that's a bad thing in the overall scheme, but it definitely informs the decision making process.
3844 Mission Boulevard
Open daily until Midnight