This week, LA Weekly critic Besha Rodell returns to share her take on Lost at Sea, the new project by restaurateur Santos Uy (Mignon, Rice Bar, Papilles) and executive chef Tim Carey (Papilles). The Weekly critic describes Uy’s restaurants as having "more personality in their door frames than many restaurants exhibit in their entirety," and Lost at Sea is no exception.
However, while Uy and Carey’s Pasadena seafood restaurant is "cozy and appealing," it is "nowhere near as lovably odd as Uy's other projects." That isn’t to say the technique here isn’t exceptional. Carey is "a fan of doing things the old-school way, of doing things right." That results in beautifully prepared fish dishes:
I've always been impressed with Carey's dedication to traditional skills over cheffy showboating, his ability to present dishes that adhere more to classic fine-dining standards than they do to modern trends or sloppy rusticism. This is beautifully apparent in his butter-poached lobster, which comes with some of that fluffy velouté as well as sweet batonettes of butternut squash, Fresno chili and meaty lobster mushrooms. There are knife skills and technique in use here that few working chefs even know anymore, let alone use. [LAW]
Unfortunately, there are a few missteps, too:
There were cooking issues at Lost at Sea that seemed as though they stemmed from a rushed kitchen: a curl of octopus with mole that was seriously over-salted; a hunk of monkfish that had that gorgeous golden crust but was too raw in the center and weirdly rubbery as a result. [LAW]
Ultimately though, B. Rod declares that, "regardless of salt and service issues, I'd still rather eat here than at half the slickly perfect restaurants in town." Lost at Sea walks away with two stars.