I have zero idea what pesto hummus has remotely to do with the concept of tenacity. Tenacity Chicken Sandwich. Shade's Oceanfront Bistro.
  • I have zero idea what pesto hummus has remotely to do with the concept of tenacity. Tenacity Chicken Sandwich. Shade's Oceanfront Bistro.
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Shades Oceanfront Bistro

5083 Santa Monica Avenue, Ocean Beach

After running around Ocean Beach's dog beach for awhile, I brought Loki over to Shades Oceanfront Bistro to grab some lunch. I mean, why give up on the idea some bikini-clad girl is going to walk up and strike up a conversation about how cute my dog is? If we just hang around OB long enough….

We hit the dog-friendly patio and grabbed a seat as near to the water as we could. Which wasn't really close enough — they're not all great seats — but I could still see the water and Loki could smell the ocean, so it was good enough.

The sunny patio on the right is not the dog-friendly side. That's okay, my dog prefers the shade.

That make a decent slogan for Shades: good enough.

I'm not slagging the place. It does what it does with relative success, serving a lengthy menu of sandwiches and burgers and, yawn, et cetera. Nobody's ever said, "Have you tried the so-and-so from Shades? It's awesome!" It's doubtful anyone will.

But a day like this, on the lookout for girls at the beach, well — let's just say a guy can't eat fish tacos every day and rely on the ridiculous, enduring cuteness of a fluffy terrier for everything. I wanted something a little lighter, a little less heavy on the fried food and maybe — dare I dream? — nutritious.

That, Shades can do. While the place offers plenty of fried fish and whatnot, it actually serves a lot of salads and generously veggied sandwiches. Better still, you may opt for a side of couscous instead of the ubiquitous some-kind-of-potato.

I did so, adding it to the so-called Tenacity Chicken Sandwich, which tops grilled breast meat with smoked gouda and pesto hummus along with lettuce, onions and roma tomatoes for seven bucks.

Is this sandwich gonna save my life? No. Will the couscous inspire me to traipse into the kitchen demanding someone, anyone give me that recipe? Of course not.

But with my trusty pet by my side, I had an inoffensive meal at an inoffensive beachside restaurant in the middle of the afternoon, and (almost) didn't miss the crunchy allure of fried cod or pollock on a corn tortilla. (Or halibut, if I'm just dreaming here.)

If Shades washed away in big surf, I wouldn't hold a fundraiser to bring it back. But I will stop in every now and again and make a show to the healthy girls who work hard and eat little all spring so they can gather sun all summer. I too, can eat healthy sometimes. Or maybe just a little healthier. But not too much.

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Dave Rice May 31, 2014 @ 6:13 p.m.

To a large degree, I think you've addressed the place pretty well, maybe a bit more harshly than I would.

This is one of my wife's favorite restaurants. While I certainly think it puts out solid food and a good variety of it, everything is perhaps a buck or two more than it could be for what it is - solid, but not outstanding. But the atmosphere is nice (and probably what those few extra dollars are paying for), and I do enjoy their flatbreads, fish and chips, chilaquiles, omelettes, and a few other things - the sandwiches not so much, the bread is always a little crusty for my taste, even when I'm in the mood for crusty bread.

The silly sandwich names are a carryover from Craves, a sister venture a couple blocks up Newport that existed for a year or so before folding a few years back. The focus was on healthy food, with lots of new-agey names for sandwiches like Clarity, Peace, Power and so on.

My best friend, however, actually does go around proclaiming to people "Have you tried the crab-stuffed flounder from Shades? It's awesome!" with some frequency.


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