Santa Monica Seafood - first time visit review
Decided to check out Santa Monica Seafood at 1000 Wilshire (I never remember addresses but this one was manageable). I was a bit apprehensive about going, because i am usually only a fan of seafood places that are 10ft from the water and serve your seafood served in newspaper - the rest of them i walk out felling ripped off and underwhelmed (Hungry Cat - oh did i say that out loud?)
SANTA MONICA SEAFOOD
Would I go back: Yes
Oysters- Taste: A / Cost: C+
I had the Malpeque (Prince Edward Island) - I wish i lived during the 1880s in NY when raw oysters were a penny each because I could really eat a lot of them (but on the negative side, i'm thinking the oysters must have been served awfully warm). I have to say, while $3 an oyster is overpriced (think about it $36 a dozen - wtf - is this Gladstones?), the size and taste was perfect. I was impressed with how the oysters were shucked - very clean. very cold, mild flavor, slightly sweet slightly briny, plump without being "Farmer's Market" large and unyielding (if you tried an oyster at the Grove's Farmer's Market you know what I mean-- yuck). Overall very impressed- probably one of the better oysters I have had in a long time.
One other thing, the cocktail sauce was just cocktail sauce - and that's a good thing. I really don't like when restaurants serve that vinegarette (starts with an M - too lazy too look up spelling) with my oysters.
Cold Alaskan King Crab Legs
Taste: Did not try / friend's dish
My friend got these -- they were $4 bucks for a leg or two. I have to say they looked fine, but honestly, I need a bucket of these crab legs dumped on a table - HOT - with butter and a bib. This was a sad little crab on the plate with a little fork and a little cocktail sauce. He didn't seem to comment on the leg, but i'm sure it was fine.
Steamed Mediterranean Mussels (with white wine, tomatoes, garlic, and grilled ciabatta)
These were really great and for $9 a generous plate. Just like the oysters, these too were from Prince Edward Island (Go Canada!). Probably the best mussels I have had (see my Jitlada review of over-hyped mussels failing to live up to expectations: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697135). The mussels were clean, fresh, and worked well in the broth. The only element of the broth that seemed slightly out of place were the cut up tomatoes- didn't add anything. But i did like that the garlic pieces were on the softer side as every time I have mussels in wine broth the garlic is crunchy and useless. I will be bringing my fiance back to have these puppies. you know, come to think of it, the broth did need a bit of salt, but because I am in a good mood -- and just added it on my own -- I won't change taste to an A-
Cioppino (from menu: "A traditional fish stew with clams mussels, fish, shrimp, calamari, in a spicy tomato sauce with grilled ciabatta"
$15 for the plate -- very generous portion, that I could see going for over $20. Friend got this and i tried some -- nice hint of heat and fresh seafood throughout. Come to think of it, it seems all sushi and seafood are frozen at some point so instead of saying "fresh seafood," maybe we should starting saying "man this was some really great, successfully defrosted seafood"
What they could Improve: A little bread and butter would have been nice; bring down the cost of oysters