Echo Park’s newest seafood sensation the Lonely Oyster debuted last Thursday, September 8, with a crowd-pleasing menu of seafood towers, salmon crudo, baked clams, and more. Owner Don Andes, who also operates Little Joy Cocktails in the neighborhood and Out There Bar in Twentynine Palms with business partner Joaquin Reyna-Donaldson, previously operated the Holloway in the same location as the Lonely Oyster for seven years.
The 2,000-square-foot space, which was last occupied by the short-lived Italian restaurant Amaro, has been converted into a maritime clubhouse, complete with a “modern minimalist” design that emulates the feeling of being aboard a boat or in the captain’s chambers, says Andes. The restaurant seats eight at the bar, 50 in the main dining room, and 20 in the garden patio. Construction on an additional 500 square feet of alfresco dining space should be completed by month’s end, bringing in 30 more seats.
Behind the stoves is chef Carlos Lopez, who previously cooked at Rekondo and Kokotxa in San Sebastian, Spain, and Avra in Beverly Hills. Highlights from the menu include a plethora of raw seafood options like a scallop carpaccio and Peruvian ceviche, along with hearty mains like a lobster roll trio featuring Connecticut-style, Louisiana-style, and curried lobster on brioche buns.
The Lebanese branzino with house-made hummus, pita, and grilled vegetables draws influence from Lopez’s upbringing in Puebla, Mexico. “My hometown has the largest Lebanese population in Latin America. The main street food is a pork shawarma taco,” Lopez tells Eater in an email. “I really tried to execute the beauty of that union with this dish, highlighting my roots with Middle Eastern influences.” (The full menu is below.)
Most notably, the raw bar is staffed by a team of seafood experts excited to educate diners on the finer points of what’s on the menu. Snag a seat upfront to learn about the sourcing, flavor profiles, and sustainability of the ingredients served at the Lonely Oyster. “We’ve brought in Dillon Turner, a NorCal native and master educator to elevate the experience and give credit to the work that goes into the process of all things oyster,” general manager Sam Valle tells Eater. “Learning about the environmental influence, or merroir, of what creates good seafood brings a newfound appreciation for what is on your plate.”
Wines and cocktails are on hand for imbibing. Sommelier Adam Ohler’s list embraces California- and European-produced wines and offers over a dozen red, white, orange, rosé, and sparkling picks by the glass. The cocktails are intended to pair well with the fare; an early hit is the $17 house-special martini made with gin or vodka, vermouth, olives, and a lemon twist. A raw oyster on a half shell with a heap of caviar can be served alongside for an additional $13.
Brunch service is set to start this Saturday, September 17, with smoked salmon eggs Benedict, lobster hash, and banana brioche French toast on the menu.
The Lonely Oyster is open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and on weekends from noon until midnight.