October 18, 2013

Connie and Ted's West Hollywood

Two words: Michael Cimarusti. Need I go on or are you already hooked? The chef of Providence, one of LA's top restaurants and likely on every foodie's bucket list, created his version of a Rhode Island seafood house. The space used to be an old diner, but you'd never be able to tell by looking at it. As you walk up, there is a large patio. Step inside and you find a large informal dining room and open kitchen. Guests are greeted by a giant glass case of lobsters waiting to be assembled onto one of their famous rolls. Because of the large open space, you feel like part of the magic as you watch the masters at work behind the raw bar shucking oysters and turning out mouth water seafood platters. If you love seafood, this is a great place to be.

Cocktails: Porch Swing, Bloody Mary, Narragansett Cooler

12 each
We stopped in for Sunday "brunch", so of course we had to order some cocktails. The Porch Swing was my favorite. Made with sauvignon blanc, cognac and grand manrier. The bloody mary had a nice kick with more clam flavor than others I've tasted. We asked that it be sent "spicy" and it had a nice hit of heat. The Narragansett cooler was hard to pronounce, but easy to drink. Who doesn't love bourbon, ginger ale and orange juice? There are plenty of other options including a good beer list if you're not in the mood for a cocktail.

Oysters: Kiwi Cup (left) and Kusshi (right)

3 each
The oyster menu had a nice variety with at least 12 different oysters listed. I decided to go with the smaller varieties. The Kusshi is a west coast oyster that looks similar to a Kumamoto. The oyster might be small but it packs an intensely clean flavor. The Kiwi Cup is from New Zealand and had a richer and creamier taste that's very different from the Kusshi. If you're not into oysters, this would be a good place to try them. The staff is quite knowledgeable and will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Santa Barbara Uni

Being big uni lovers, we couldn't resist the fresh Santa Barbara uni and lucky for us, we got the last one of the day. It was perfect: creamy, sweet, and fresh. I did have some flashbacks to our meal at Maruhide Uni Club and wished there was a giant bowl of uni as opposed to the few spoonfuls we each tasted. The Uni came with what looked like buttered toast but we ate the Uni straight. This is a must if they still have any when you go.

Rhode Island Clear Chowder

9 bowl
What is Rhode Island chowder? It's a brothier version of the New England clam chowder without the roux. In my opinion, it's better than the New England clam chowder because you can really taste all the flavors in the broth. The chowder was loaded with large pieces of clams and chunks of potatoes. This was so good I think I caught someone trying to lick the bottom when we were through. Go with the bowl, you'll be glad you did.

Shellfish Marinara with clams and mussels

This giant tub of mussels and clams were cooked to perfection. I thought I knew what clams and mussels should taste like, but I was wrong. Thank you Connie & Ted's for showing me the light. Every piece was plump, juicy and fresh like they were just pulled out of the ocean. The rich tomato sauce added a nice acidity to the dish and had some heat in it as well. Don't be afraid to ask for a spoon so you can get more sauce with each bite.

Housemade ice cream: mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, pistachio

6 each
All the ice cream is made in house and mint chocolate chip was by far the best I have ever tasted. It's made with fresh mint which adds a bright punch to each bite. The mint chocolate chip literally changed our lives...it was so good that we have been ruined for other mint ice creams. The butter pecan was also unbelievably good with huge pieces of pecan and you could literally taste the butter in the ice cream. The pistachio ice cream highlighted the velvety smooth consistency of the ice cream and what real pistachio ice cream should taste like. It was amazing how they could get the pistachio flavor through each bite like that. The ice cream alone is worth going back for.

We had a great meal at Connie and Ted's and can't wait to go back for more. The experience from the wait staff to the dishes all show how much the restaurant respects the seafood. Each dish was prepared and seasoned to highlight the freshness. Have you eaten at Connie and Ted's? What did you think?

Connie and Ted's

8171 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046

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