Picture this. Young boy grows up off the coast of Rhode Island's shores. Said boy learns how to clean & cook fish from his grandparent's daily catch. Some 30 years later, he opens Connie And Ted's – a humble homage to his family.
Before moving to OC last year, I had the pleasure of taking in my "Last Supper" at Providence in LA (rated #1 on Jonathan Gold's "101 Best Restaurants" for the LA Times. After meeting the master behind it all, chef Michael Cimarusti, and discussing our shared love of seafood from Rhode Island, he let me in on a little secret.
Who'd a thought, I'd be dining at that little secret just days before my birthday this year. So, as my gift to you, here's my review on just 1-week-old Connie And Ted's.
- finally a REAL Rhode Island SPLIT toasted bun Lobster Roll with a ridiculous bounty of Buttery Lobster Chunks that were so tender, they fell apart in my mouth $20
- another hard-to-find this side of the Mississippi, lightly fried, but sadly a little chewy, Fried Clams with Bellies, Tartar Sauce & perfectly golden 'n crisp 2-day blanched Olive & Canola Oil French Fries $16
- creamy not oily with a likeable burnt Parmesan Crust, Macaroni & Cheese Side $5
- well balanced sweetness, crisp not soggy, liked the thin strips, Cole Slaw Side $5
- took me back home and the spicy sausage took over the sweet Clam flavor, Stuffies with Linguica Sausage, Red Pepper chunks, Garlic, Butter & Breadcrumbs $9
- Jo's Wicked Good Chowda Sampler: 1.) Rhode Island simply stole my heart with straight fragrant Clam Juice, Chicken Broth & Butter 2.) New England was thin not thick and tasted just as good but with Cream & Paprika added 3.) Manhattan was the best I ever had because it wasn't watery, yet velvety with great Tomato depth, Potato rounds, Carrots & Celery $11
- Bacon Oysters & Bread OH MY!, only for lemon lovers like me, Angels on Horseback a.k.a. Oysters wrapped in Bacon atop Bread with creamy Lemon Butter Broth $12 for 3
- soft 'n gummy with simply Raw Pecans, Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- fresh not sweet, yet still Gone in 60 Seconds, Sailor's Delight with Dry Gin, Strawberries, Rhubarb, Lemon, Egg White & Soda $12
- my kinda drink, strong and bitter with Lemon essence, Royal Treatment with Gin, Dubonnet Rouge & Lemon $12
We visited the restaurant on day 4 of being open, and were more than impressed how it was run like a tight ship. Our waiter, David, gave us great suggestions (although my New England palate already knew what to order). The silverware was changed at every course, and we weren't waiting long for food long. The portions were real and big enough to split family style without spending a 'mill.
Did I mention the attention to detail? Like the coasters with Crab & Lobster icons, the wait staff's Oyster themed T-shirts, and the nod to New England's Salt Water Taffy, instead of Peppermint Candies as you exit.
Speaking of, Connie & Ted's took me home to Rhode Island. A refined home. Not quite the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. But, a modern-built home with old beach cottage charm. And, most importanly, recipes passed down from generation to generation with a gentle wave from the Pacific.
8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046. 323-848-CRAB.
P.S. This last bite is dedicated to Uncle Geoff.