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May 4, 2009 01:03 PM

Your favorite Seafood Shack-type restaurant?

I am searching for the seaside seafood shack type of restaurant of my New England upbringing in the LA westside. What I'm talking about is the alarmingly simple seafood preparations that taste best with hours-old seafood, preferably served outdoors, at big, old wooden picnic tables.
Counter service is fine, ambiance is only a secondary concern, however, seaside location is best but likely impossible due to land prices.
Food is simple seafood, steamed clams, mussels, more of the steamed/ sauteed with wine and butter style than the "everybody into the fryer" school of thought.
Also missing the Rhode Island style clamcakes I grew up on but I doubt there's a lot of those floating around (although I've heard LaMille does them--haven't tried em yet)
As the days get warmer, these cravings are getting stronger, so...
everybody, what's your favorite place for uber-fresh, stripped down seafood?

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  1. I know what you asking for. I don't know why but California doesn't have seafood shacks. I'm from Connecticut and New Orleans with a lot of summers spent in Delaware eating crabs.

    I've settled on THE BOILING CRAB in Alhambra
    742 W Valley Boulevard
    Alhambra, CA 91803

    And you might like THE HUNGRY CAT in Hollywood

    3 Replies
    1. re: Hershey Bomar

      How about The Crab Cooker (two locations; Newport Beach -the original and best) and Tustin.

      The king crab legs are especially good (probably the rest of the menu is good too, but we only ever get the crab). As stripped-down as it gets: paper plates, and wine is in the same plastic cups that they bring to pour your beer in.

      1. re: mikester

        The whole menu is tasty. Love the manhattan style chowder. The grilled fish is great. When local lobster season is here, the split grilled lobsters are delish.

        And, IMHO, they make the best cole slaw ever.

      2. re: Hershey Bomar

        I try to get my fix of boiling crab at least once a month so it is definitely on my hot list. If you are on a time constraint this might not be the best place because the wait is often 1-2hours.

        The Hungry Cat is a hidden gem. I recommend their crab cakes and half/whole lobster.

      3. Quality Seafood at the Redondo Beach pier will pluck the clams, mussels, crabs, oysters and lobsters right out of the salt water tanks and steam them for you. Another option would be Neptune's Net on PCH at the Ventura County line. Across PCH from the beach. I've neve been impressed with their food but it is a fun destination.

        1. You're bummin - they don't know what clam cakes are out here. See our discussion & recipes here.

          The best shack type place that's near me, don't know where you are, is Malibu Seafood, on PCH, north of Pepperdine. Great fresh fish & seafood, made fresh. Closed Mondays, I believe.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            i swear I saw them on the menu-- as "Rhode Island style clam cakes"-- at LaMille in Silverlake. Unfortunately I was there for early AM coffee and didn't order them for research. In hindsight, I should've dipped them in the coffee.

            1. re: jdwdeville

              Yeah, what's wrong with you, a little clams in the coffee? My Dad used to eat them cold for breakfast! Amateurs!!

              Never been, and a strange place to find them, but now I'll have to try the place!!

              And now, Mom ,who lives in FLA now, says "Fritters are much smaller & denser than the true RI Clam Cake.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Well, not that strange to find clamcakes at Lamill if you consider that Michael Cimarusti who designed the menu is from Providence. But they are tasty there.

          2. I remember calling the clam fritters if were talking about the same thing.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JAB

              Maybe, but fritters connotates more of a Southern thing, in my little New England mind, and a flat fried item, as opposed to RI clam cakes, which are balls of fluffy tender dough. That's just me, tho.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                "balls of fluffy tender dough" That's how I remember them from my youth in CT, MA & RI but, remember them as fritters and not cakes. In any case, now you've got me craving something unobtainable in SoCal.

                1. re: JAB

                  So sorry! Now you know how I feel!!

                  Hey, if you're nice, you can can come by & we can have a clam bake!!

            2. Wishing So.Cal would have the seafood shacks like they do in New England but Neptune's Net in Malibu might fit the bill..classic dive but gotta love it!


              5 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Neptine's definitely falls into the "everybody into the fryer" school of thought described above.

                  1. re: Cebca

                    Bad vibes and no dogs. I mean it's such a dog tied to the picnic table kinda place.

                    I'm bringing home Boiling Crab tomorrow for my sister who is visiting with her kids. Shrimp, crawfish, and blue crabs, yum!

                    1. re: Hershey Bomar

                      has anyone tried the fresh, live seafood side of Neptune's Net, especially the lobsters served with drawn butter? is that any good?

                    2. re: Cebca

                      Many people don't realize that there are two sides to Neptunes. I mean "sides" literally -- the left side has all the fried stuff along with burgers and such, while the right side has fresh/live crab, lobster, clams, and the like. The fried side is disappointing, but the last time I tried the fresh seafood it was pretty good. (Admittedly, that was a while ago.)