On paper, a night out at Tarpy's Roadhouse sounds like a lousy idea. Set on a fast-moving, inland highway, between Salinas and Monterey, it's a good 15-minute drive from where you likely are staying on the seacoast. The logo for the place is goofy, as is much of the decor, despite its historic bones (a roadhouse of some sort or another has existed on this spot since 1917). Let's just say it: Tarpy's looks like it was conceived in the late 1980's—an unhappy big hair moment for restaurant design if there ever was one (the lighting alone ages patrons by a good 15 years).
Bottom line: make the drive. You won't regret it.