We checked into our hotel last week and went exploring for something to eat for lunch. We came across the Blue Oysterette, a charming little crab shack right on Ocean Avenue. It is small and cozy with a studied casual air and a great front of the house, not to mention it's just across from Palisades Park and the Pacific. Owner Jenny Morton, who also owns Blue Plate on Montana Avenue, went for a neighborhood kind of place rather than something glitzy. The menu is smart too. Pretty much everything that people love about East Coast seafood; oysters, clams, mussels, lobster rolls, fish 'n' chips, steamers is listed on the one-page menu. The selection of fresh oyster and some of the menu is listed on a chalk board outside the restaurant and above the counter in front of the kitchen. It is right next door to BOA, a great steak place on Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.
A striped awning defines the sidewalk terrace outside with three wooden picnic tables. Inside, designer Tim Clarke of Tim Clarke Interior Design has given the Oysterette a designerly take on the clam shack with a pearlized white leatherette banquette and galvanized metal tabletops. A metal starfish adorns the stove hood, and a narrow counter runs in front of the kitchen, the better to watch the frantic goings-on there. Antique glass bottles turned into hanging lamps march down the length of the small space. A round mirror framed with writhing brass octopi is hung at the very back of the room. Everyone seems to be having a great time and at every other table seems to be a regular customer, which is always a good thing for a seafood place.
I decided to have some oysters and tried six of the east coast Barnstables, which were briny, fresh, sweet and delicious. The waiter told us the selection changes daily and they only buy enough for a single day's needs. I had a lobster roll with dressing, the brioche bun was soft and there were large chunks of sweet lobster with just the right amount of mayonnaise. I happen to love brussel sprouts and my favorite way of preparing them is grilling, so it was a pleasant surprise to get one of my favorites. Just as an aside, tossing them in olive oil, paprika and garlic powder before grilling gives them a really delicious twist. Lisa had the shrimp Cobb salad with shrimp, beets, avocado, bacon, Bleu cheese, tomato, egg and dill dressing. Nice combination of ingredients and also delicious. I was tempted by the big bowl of steamed mussels they were eating at the next table in either white wine, lemon and garlic, or (my choice) a smoldering red curry sauce; they are a deal at $16, too much for one person, but perfect for two or three to share. I will also be returning to sample their bouillabaisse with Safron for $24. Great service, reasonable prices and delicious food add up to a great little restaurant in a perfect location for a lazy day “people watching” at the park or for a romantic dinner for two.
Blue Plate Oysterette Menu: http://blueplatesantamonica.com/bpo/home/