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Service Issues and Sublime Oysters at Connie & Ted's

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<a href="http://www.elizabethdanielsphotography.com">Elizabeth Daniels 5/13</a>
Elizabeth Daniels 5/13

The hotly anticipated Connie & Ted's hit West Hollywood in June, with chef de cuisine Sam Baxter running the kitchen under overlord Michael Cimarusti of Providence fame. Since then, they've received everything from critical acclaim to local love, but the word isn't necessarily universal. The stylish seafood restaurant, perhaps one of the best examples of the current zeitgeist of seafood shack pervading the city, does have some detractors. Below is a compilation of the opinions, mostly positive, and some not so much.

The Too-Fast Service News: "The entrees came out quickly (again, too quickly). My husband's fish was not great, I am very sad to report. For being so rushed, it was actually a tad overcooked and seriously under seasoned. My shrimp was not scampi-like at all as it too cried out for salt and pepper (much less garlic)...The downside to the experience was the rushing (that, without a doubt, tops the minus list) and feeling like we'd better leave so they could turn over the table." [Chowhound]

The Word from Jonathan Gold: "Oddly, the weakest part of the menu here is the grilled catch of the day: bluefish or halibut or king salmon that has generally spent a bit too long on the fire and whose default herb crust — you can also ask for it to be grilled plain — tends to overpower the fish..But there may be no restaurant in Los Angeles that treats its oysters with more reverence, utterly fresh Sweet Petites, Naked Cowboys, Kumamotos and a dozen other kinds, opened skillfully and served brimming with their sweet, briny essence. I have never had a meal here without ordering some, and I have never been sorry I did." [LAT]

The Oyster & Wine News: "And then there are the oysters: oysters Rockefeller and deviled oysters, fried oysters (in a sandwich) and raw oysters. Connie & Ted's may currently have the widest variety of raw oysters in town; an incredible treat..If there's one downer about the oysters at Connie & Ted's, it's the lack of wine worth pairing them with. Cocktails go well with grilled calamari, and beer is a great accompaniment to that oyster sandwich. But a platter of oysters demands a great glass of wine." [LA Weekly]

The Reservations News: "I reserved two seats a month in advance on opentable. NOTE: if you can't reserve a table, try calling them. They only book a certain number of seat on opentable, so you'll have better luck trying both." [Yelp]

More Service News: "It was already going gangbusters (the night Prop 8 went down in flames). Found a seat on the porch while waiting for my friends. The bar area waitress came out several times and completely ignored me, I couldn't even get her attention, in that small space. I finally did, and she was too busy for me, she said so without quite saying so. And she never came back....I went inside. Asked the hostess and the guy who was managing the host station about getting a cocktail while I waited inside, and explained what happened on the porch. They were appalled and apologetic, and said they'd get someone to help me. Nope, didn't happen. I went up and asked again, and again nothing. Then one last time, and finally I got my cocktail. On the house. Whoopee." [Yelp]

The Word from kevinEats on Opening Night: "Though there were a couple service quibbles on this opening night, the food itself was almost all on point, yielding familiar, comforting sensations that nonetheless displayed the deft touch that you'd expect from a brigade that cut its teeth at the pinnacle of fine dining in Los Angeles. You could tell that there was a certain finesse, a certain clarity of flavors to the cooking here, making for a worthy sophomore effect from one of the City's most respected chefs." [KevinEats]

The "Chowda" News: "New England Clam Chowder – without a doubt the best chowder on the West Coast and the rival of any chowder in New England" [Refined Palate]

The Word from Darin Dines, Who Went Much Later: "We got the textural contrast in this crab cake, but it still left us wanting more. It may have been slightly overcooked (being rather thin) and we were looking for bigger chunks of crab for more of that sweet, fresh flavor in each bite....given Cimarusti's resume and specialty with seafood, the food didn't have the same precision in execution I'd come to expect. I would probably return at some point to give the restaurant another try (perhaps for the expanded dinner menu), but I'm not in a hurry." [Darin Dines]

The Design & Layout News: "Had lunch on a weekday recently without a reservation, and although it was a very hot day, sitting on the patio was all that was available. Not only was it bearable, it was absolutely pleasant with a comfortable/casual but well-thought-out design, attention to the details and tables placed at a comfortable distance from each other." [Yelp]

The Lunch & Lobster Roll News: "Came back during Saturday lunch hour, surprised that we were able to get a table right away since dinner is always packed. Came back specifically for their lobster roll - which you should get hot instead of cold. The toast is buttery-warm, and perfectly crispy. The lobster is chunky is not dressed with sauce which allows you to taste nothing but sweet, freshness. I really love this place!!" [Yelp]

The Santa Barbara Uni News: "What really stole the show was the live Santa Barbara uni. If you go, and it's there, get it. It came in that very afternoon from the only female uni diver in California! It is served with buttered toast, so simple and perfect. I can't go to a restaurant like this and not get a lobster roll (it's a problem) so that's what I did. You have the choice between hot or cold, and butter or mayo. I went hot and butter but I think next time I'll go cold and mayo. Overall it was a great meal and I will definitely be going back." [Sequin Harvest]
·All Connie & Ted's Coverage [~ELA~]

Connie and Ted's

8171 Santa Monica Boulevard, , CA 90046 (323) 848-2722 Visit Website

Connie & Ted's

8171 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046

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