West Hollywood: Seafood & Cocktails at Connie & Ted’s
Los Angeles has seen a proliferation of New England style seafood joints popping up around town. One of the latest is Connie & Ted’s from famed chef Michael Cimarusti who also owns Providence. Connie & Ted’s is named after his grandparents.
The restaurant is beautiful and appears to float above Santa Monica Boulevard. When I first heard about the restaurant concept years ago, I imagined a little seafood shack. Looking at the restaurant, I would say it seats more than Providence- way more. We sat on the outside patio since the bar was jam-packed.
I started with Sailor’s Delight after asking our server of his opinion on the Indian Summer (tequila, Cocchi Americano rosa, valerian tea, lime, blood orange) and Catalina Eddy (Jamaican rum, demerara rum, housemade banana cordial, honey, lime). I had mentioned I didn’t want anything overly sweet and he thought I would like Sailor’s more. And it was. Summer is such a great time for fresh fruit and the drink was very balanced, with just the hint of sweetness from the strawberries. I liked how the rhubarb as well as the lemon was subtly tart.
Sailor’s Delight – dry gin, strawberries, rhubarb, lemon, egg white, soda
I had ordered the housemade pickles to munch on before we got our meals but I wish I saved these to go with the lobster roll. They were perfectly crunchy and not too salty.
We aslo got a half doze oysters for the three of us though I secretly could have gotten a half dozen for myself. Maybe even a dozen. I love oysters so much and Connie and Ted’s were very fresh. Presentation was also very lovely with the crushed ice and strands of seaweed. We asked for the chef’s choice and got a couple of Coromandel, Crystal Point and Hama Hamas. I preferred the creamy Hama Hama but Crystal Points are always great as well.
The fries were on the cold side when they arrived with the lobster roll and our server was quick to exchange them for a piping hot bunch. The fries were excellent with the roll with big chunks of lobster. As mentioned, I wished I saved the pickles for this dish.
My friend had the New England boiled dinner which had a bit of everything. The seafood was very clean and just a squeeze of lemon juice was all that was needed to bring out the fresh flavors. The corn was also the best. Summer produce is really the best. The dinner included lobster, clams, mussels, sausage and a bit of potatoes plus the corn. If you haven’t spooned up all the broth, I’d say go for dipping your fries in it.
To balance out our meal, I ordered the wilted spinach. We ordered it with the bacon but next time I’d get it without. I loved the smokey flavor it imparted but it was a bit too salty for me.
The other cocktail I tried was the Ted’s Cup. Bar Manager Laura Lindsay explained Chef Cimarusti’s grandfather Ted loved dark spirits. This is a variation of a Pimm’s Cup which had many versions– generally most are familiar with the gin version. Laura made a house liqueur based on Scotch to honor Grandpa Ted. It’s delicious and went very well with the food.
Ted’s Cup – housemade Scotch-based liqueur, mint, cucumber, citrus, birch beer
For my own meal, I ordered Ed’s Portugeuse fish stew. Like the boiled dinner, it had a little bit of everything. I was having so much trouble deciding what to get since I love seafood. The solution is of course coming back to try more dishes. Or go with a bigger group next time.
The stew included fish which in this case was hake, a firm white fish, clams, mussels and the flavorful linguica sausage. It’s the same sausage in the boiled dinner. I loved that the bread were cut into breadstick pieces. It was almost architectural how they were arranged.
My friends wanted some other desserts but had only enough room to share one. I fought to get the rhubarb pie and I’m glad I did because it was amazing. The top crust was almost like a cobbler and it wasn’t too sweet. I should have gotten another Sailor’s Delight to pair with this pie.
Connie and Ted’s is such a great addition to the neighborhood. The next time I go, I’m going to try to get into the bar to ogle the Scotch selection and try more of the cocktails with a bunch of appetizers. Peeky toe crab cakes, asparagus salad, Angels on Horseback (bacon-wrapped oysters) or the burger would be my picks.
© The Minty 2013