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OPENING NIGHT

At Connie & Ted's, oyster shuckers and angels on horseback

June 05, 2013|By Dominic A. Riley

Stepping to the doors of West Hollywood's new seafood shack, Connie & Ted’s on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Hayvenhurst Drive, is like landing in an episode of the Jetsons. A curved roof, shiny elm planks, brushed metal and splashes of red trim are reminiscent of Googie architecture: so modern, they feel futuristic. But upon entering, the glowing lobster tank, feverish oyster shucking and metallic baskets of fried seafood transmit not a space odyssey but a voyage at sea.

Chef-owner Michael Cimarusti of Providence takes diners to the East Coast, where he spent his childhood, with a menu of simple and familiar seafood dishes. A raw bar features 16 varieties of oysters, served with horseradish and mignonette. Clam chowder comes in threes in the "Chowda" sampler, hot buttered rolls topped with flaky salt are served in a cast iron pan and oysters wrapped in smoky bacon -- angels on horseback — straddle pieces of toast atop a lemony cream sauce.

"Everything's the best seafood I've ever had," said one diner whose rolled-up pants and scruffy beard made him look a bit shipwrecked.

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Wait staff in blue and white baseball tees with striped aprons served up popular favorites on opening night including fish and chips accompanied by a mound of fresh-cut fries, hot or cold lobster rolls on toasted bread, fried clams, offered with or without bellies, and a seafood boil with lobster claws, linguica sausage and corn.

The wait in between courses gave diners ample opportunity to sip Connie & Ted's $5 introductory whiskey punch, or select from a list of cocktails by Laura Lindsay, including Ted’s Cup featuring a house-made Scotch liqueur, cucumber and mint, and Sailor's Delight, a mix of gin, rhubarb, strawberries and egg whites.

A preppy dressed diner in polka dots and a trench coat sitting just beyond the bar commented to another, "I sure hope this place works out, because there aren’t any good seafood places in the area."

8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-CRAB.

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