Anyone know of a great Oyster/Raw Bar?
I enjoy the oysters at King's in Calabasas. They generally have 6 varieties, the wait staff (usually) can tell you about the oysters, the prices are reasonable, and the oysters are always good. In my opinion, the hot tip when the weather is warm is to get there before 7, sit in the outdoor part of the bar area, have some oysters, and then order one or two of the happy-hour items -- fish tacos, fried calamari, a small po-boy sandwich, that kind of thing -- and one of the draft beers. If you are REALLY lucky, Howie Mandel will be there. Yee HAW.
Hungry Cat is wonderful, pricey, has marvelous food, and last time I went hard to get a table. Sitting at the bar is pretty nice, though.
King's in Calabasas is kind of a hidden treasure. I've never had anything off the dinner menu, but I have really enjoyed just having oysters and a glass of chilled white wine. A bit down-scale in ambiance, yet not authentically downscale like Acme Oyster Bar in New Orleans, but its inoffensive. I always feel like I've scored a bargain here - it's good and satisfying.
We like Ocean Avenue Seafood, in Santa Monica. Casual quiet, good service. We like to sit in the window, but they have a nice bar you can sit at, and they have an oyster/wine sample thing that's fun. I think they also have an Happy Hour offering at the bar, but I can't find it on their site righ now. I think they are owned by the same people that own King's and Water Grill.
Went to Anisette this weekend, actually, on a whim, walk-in, in the afternoon. We had the cheapest plat de mer for 2, with 4 each clams, oysters, shrimp, mussels and a dish of crab salad, then we split another dozen oysters. The plat, while good, with fresh delicious items, looked underwhelming, the dish was so large - all that ice and those four tiny mussels! The freshness of the seafood was wonderful. the house white carafe was lovely - perfect with the seafood. The decor is beautiful in a very studied way - I wanted to like it but I couldn't suspend disbelief that it was contrived. Just as contrived as the fake seafood-shack decor of King's. Here's the not-so-hot part of my impression of Anisette - The prices were incredibly high. $18 for a half dozen oysters?
I think they have a Happy Hour, but it wasn't while we were there. When we arrived the place was almost empty - one other couple at the bar, another trio came in while we were there. The bar staff told us immediately that the kitchen was closed and the only items available was the raw bar. OK - not even a lunch menu? In Santa Monica on a Saturday afternoon? Hmm.
Also - while we were there enjoying our meal, we were subjected to a loud and foul-mouthed rant by one of the other customers nearby - some over-achiever telling his friend a story about his girlfriend, thanks for sharing the fact that you're an a**hole, a**hole! - I'm no prude, but I would think that the bartender would politely ask someone using that much profanity to keep his volume down so others can enjoy their $100+ food and drink?