While the allusions to owner Dominic Lombardo and Rat Packer attitude with just a hint of made-guy style run rampant in this landmark watering hole, the Venice Room really is a neighborhood joint with longtime regulars who've been singing along to Big Al's eclectic, encyclopedic collection of karaoke for years now. And you can't go wrong with a thick New York strip you grill and season yourself, particularly on Monday night when the deal drops to $10 from $14 for steak, a French bread loaf, baked potato and bottomless green salad bar. Savor the searing while the natives get rowdy. They welcome strangers in a blithe “No one here thinks they're too special and neither should you” way. When you're offered a dark, handsome grin and hear “Very suspicious!” from behind the bar, you'll know Jose is on deck. His cocktails always seem to taste better no matter what gin he's using. 2428 S. Garfield Ave., Monterey Park. (323) 722-3075.

—Abel Salas

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