Living in the San Gabriel Valley since 1997, I have no clue why I never ate at Clearman’s Galley at the border of Pasadena in San Gabriel. OK, not true. I didn’t eat burgers until 2010, so it wasn’t high on my list despite offering more than just burgers. Eh. Whoops. I’d always heard nothing but praise for “The Boat” but that transformed to a dull murmur once the legendary familiar boat was taken away and the Clearman’s Galley was rebuilt into a cafetaria style pseudo sports bar. Following a hankering for a good old fashioned cheeseburger, my mother and I decided to pop in for lunch one day and finally put our curiosity to rest.
By far and wide, the best items on this plate were the garlic toast (something Clearman’s Galley seems to be consistently skilled at) and the fried shrimp, which we found to be succulent under a perfectly golden exterior. The “salad” was a joke; it was just a pile of plain iceberg lettuce. That isn’t a salad. It’s a pile of iceberg lettuce. The fries were wimpy, with mushy, limp centers and lukewarm at best, while the fish was mediocre and forgettable.
I had been craving a cheeseburger for weeks and was hoping this cheeseburger would live up to its hype. My first warning sign that I might be in for a disappointment was when I spied the gloppy, depressed looking chili that I had to be asked not to be put on my cheeseburger. When I finally tasted this it was, without a doubt, the blandest, saddest cheeseburger I have ever had the displeasure of eating. Really. A chewy, glutenous bun and meat so flavorless it out to be criminal to call it a burger. No cow on this planet deserves such a tasteless fate. It is my opinion that, unless this is the Original Tommy’s Burger, a burger should not be that reliant on chili to make it palatable. I couldn’t even finish this sadness.
Wow. What a chore it was getting these milkshakes. Between a combination of apathetic service workers and a temperamental milkshake machine, it took roughly 15-20 minutes to receive these. I applaud the one young man who spied the watery, pathetic sludge the machine initially churned out; his keen eye for quality control was admirable. Though the wait was a touch silly, and you can see there is a slight consistency issue, these milkshakes were still pretty darn delicious.
Now, the 64 million dollar question: Would I return or recommend Clearman’s Galley? Meh. If fried shrimp, garlic toast (and maybe chowder? as an elderly patron suggested) and beers are your thing, I say give it a go. Opinions on the new boat are all over the map; unfortunately, though, mine is in shark-infested waters. While I won’t be returning anytime in the foreseeable future, I am very interested to know your opinions and experiences with Clearman’s Galley.
7215 N. Rosemead Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA