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Sep 7, 2009 01:04 PM

First Peak: New England Style Seafood Shack Finally Available in LA: BP Oysterette in Santa Monica

My biggest shock in moving out to LA was the complete lack of casual seafood shacks like one finds on the Jersey Shore, Cape Cod, Baltimore, etc. Gladstones, with it's low quality, poorly prepared, overpriced fare never counted.

I read about this place some months ago and have been anxiously awaiting its opening, which occurred earlier this week. We opted to get there on Saturday at 11:30 AM right when it opened for lunch so that we could avoid a long wait. (They do not take reservations.)

We feasted on amazing oysters and clams on the half shell (they offer four varieties), grilled oysters, authentic steamers and broth, and a beautifully-buttered succulent lobster roll.

We look forward to going back another time to also try the ceviche, chowder, fisherman's stew, crudo, and fish tacos.

All-in-all, great food, decent wine list, excellent and friendly service, and fair prices. Salvadore, the manager, gave us hints of what is coming in the future once they get things going. Most notable on the list for me is Ipswich clams, yay!! We also asked him why the salmon, which was the daily crudo offering that day, was farmed Atlantic when clearly all the other fish was better sourced and of much higher quality. He blamed it on convenience and ease for their early stages, and indicated it was his intent to procure wild down the line. He is still getting organized with his fish suppliers as he does not have enough room in the restaurant to meet the oyster demand. He is already getting two shipments a day.

This place is a gold mine. THey are working on some logistics so that people can put their name on a list and hit the promenade. But for now, try to go during an off hour (I am not sure when that will be) so the wait is not too excessive. But don't let the wait deter you - it's worth it.

Please visit my blog for food pix as well as pictures of the menus with pricing.


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  1. This place looks like a "must try" for me, just to get some grilled oysters. Nice selection, although I wish some fried full-belly clams were on the menu. Thanks for the tip!

    3 Replies
    1. re: SaltCod

      He promised the full-bellies were coming soon...

      1. re: SaltCod

        Good food, although as others have noted, pretty pricey.

        1. re: cosimoto

          I've looked through their menu, and in that hood, it is definitely NOT pricey.

      2. For those of us who aren't clairvoyant, the location is:

        Blue Plate Oysterette
        1355 Ocean Ave.
        Santa Monica, CA 90401
        (310) 576-3474
        - check them out on twitter, web site does not reflect new location yet

        1 Reply
        1. re: DiveFan

          sorry, I meant to include that, thanks!!!

        2. I thought the clam chowder ($7) was very good (nice shot of clam liquor in the broth) but, while the lobster roll (pricey at $22 if you are used to the shacks but in line with Hungry Cat and Ocean Avenue's prices) was tasty and served on an authentic-style buttered bun, I was a bit put off by the addition of a lot of lemon zest. Looking forward to trying the steamers next and, when they finally arrive, to the Ipswich claims.

          2 Replies
          1. re: New Trial

            I thought it was pretty good, although a bit pricey. We had half dozen oysters in a half shell from BC, half dozen oysters rockefeller, steamers and crab dip. It is a lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon on the outdoor patio, and there definitely is a lack of similar places in LA. I really miss Pearl's Oyster Bar and Mary's Fish Camp in NY, so this is a decent replacement. Will be back to try the lobster roll.

            1. re: New Trial

              fyi - a lobster roll in nyc runs $30 as of last week at Mary's Fish Camp!

            2. I like the casual but upscale atmosphere, and I am thrilled to have a place closer than quality seafood to satisfy my soft shell clam (steamer) cravings.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Mateo R

                I love QS, but that parking lot ambiance never quite did it for me. Plus, no wine. Now if only BP gets live uni... ;)

              2. Hopefully Blue Plate Oysterette is just working out the kinks (or else stick to the oysters) because the lobster roll was mediocre at best. Besides being overpriced with little lobster, I agree with New Trial it was way too lemony and overwhelmed the lobster. Truly, the best thing about the dish were the chips.

                3 Replies
                1. re: loveagoodmeal

                  The sandwich contained enough meat to what I estimate to be most of the tail and (1) claw from a small one and a quarter pounder lobster. I have had them with more meat, but it was certainly not a stingy portion. Also, the meat was soft, juicy, and not overcooked. It tasted like it was actually removed from a lobster by hand as opposed to factory processed. It is about the same size as the one from hungry cat, and about the same price at $22. Think about the labor and cost involved to produce something like this. If we were in NE it would be cheaper b/c it would be local, but not that much cheaper. I would not begrudge them the price. Being that the last time I was in Cape Cod (more than 10 years ago) the lobster rolls were much cheaper than $22, I was curious what to expect today. So just for laughs, I checked NE Chow and Google for local lobster roll prices these days, and they look to be $16-$20 on average. $22 for a maine lobster roll in los angeles is perfectly reasonable.

                  I agree the lemon zest made it not authentic, but it did not bother me.

                  1. re: wasabica

                    can you get it without mayo and just butter and the lemon zest?

                    1. re: kevin

                      Not sure. I think it was made to order so that is possible. I will note that it was more buttery than mayo-ey, which probably also makes it less authentic. Mayo was lighter vs hungry cat