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Aug 18, 2013 05:12 PM

Connie and Teds, a Review

We had a reservation for Saturday afternoon and were seated promptly. Our waiter was David and he was fantastic.

The restaurant is done really cool, with a modern and nautical decor. Seating ranges from booths, tables, high tables with high chairs and the bar.

We were seated at a tall table, and I was concerned the chairs wouldn't be comfortable, but they were.

We liked everything we got, but some items were favorites over others.

Rolls - well worth the money, hot, fluffy, buttery and delicious. Alot of care is going into these, hence why they aren't being handed out for free. Five to an order.

clam cakes - these are true Rhode Island style clam cakes. Balls of doughy goodness studded with chopped clams throughout. Good, but filling, our were cooked nicely and the tartar sauce was tasty. I think there are complaints in these because people are expecting something akin to a crab cake, which these are not.

steamers - generous portion and easily shareable. They were delicious with no sand, served with the traditional melted butter and broth. These were thoroughly enjoyed.

Fried clams with the bellies - the only way to eat fried clams in our book. They were plentiful, not sandy and not greasy. They come with French fries which were good, but too many fries to eat them all if you are sharing other items. Best fried clams I've had on the west coast ( I'm originally from Massachusetts and go back frequently) as good as some I've had back east

Broiled cod - yes it's small but it's better to have a quality smaller piece of fish than. Large cheap piece of fish.

Lobster roll with butter - the person who got this said the lobster was cooked perfectly, wasn't rubbery, unfortunately the lobster flavor was overwhelmed by the paprika and other seasonings.

Indian pudding - I loved it and have never seen it out here. It's a cornmeal pudding with molasses and spices served warm topped with ice creAm. Nobody else in my party liked it but I loved it

Blonde was good, very large with Carmel sauce and ice cream, very good, but very sweet.

Peach pie , very good, nice peach flavor, one crust pie with a crumble topping. Crust was flaky and good.

Everyone liked the vanilla ice cream, it was creamy with good flavor. I would definitely order the ice cream as a sundae another time.

So glad to have this out here, we will definitely be back.

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  1. Nice to hear from an NEer. Thanks for reporting back!

    1. Clams look good. Do they do a clam roll too?

      3 Replies
        1. re: jessejames

          Yes they do, but I wanted the maximum clams possible. Clam rolls are served in traditional New England style,rolls

        2. Would love to like this place, but everyone comments that everything is either fried, smothered in a coating fo some kind, or buried in some kind of flavoring that sounds so unappealing.
          What's wrong with steamed clams? - Nothing to my way of thinking.
          Lobster & oysters - you can have my share, regardless of preparation.
          Desserts - likewise.
          Just don't get the allure of this place.
          NO, I am not from RI, but from LA!

          26 Replies
          1. re: carter

            carter, check out the menu, just because what we are ordering are fried doesn't mean that is the case. The catches of the day can be prepared plain, they have steamed shrimp, crabs, clams. There is a fish stew.

            1. re: carter

              NO, I am not from RI, but from LA!

              Exactly why you probably don't appreciate a restaurant such as this, and the fact this type of food, done well, is so hard to come by in LA.

              1. re: carter

                I had me some of the best Manhatten clam chowder ever. Followed by a perfectly sweet steamed lobster. Also some steamed soft shells. Nothing fried. ITs the TRAFIC that will keep me away.

                  1. re: carter

                    <<What's wrong with steamed clams?>>
                    Nothing is "wrong" with steamed clams, except that no one took to time to properly fry them ;)

                    Actually, I loved the steamers at C/T and am looking forward to trying the fried ones.

                    1. re: carter

                      It's not 100% true, but it seems like everything you want eat on the menu is.

                      I went finally the other night, for the clams with bellies. The tables around us all seemed to order a single entree (either lobster roll + fries or hook burger + fries). And not much else (maybe raw oysters). I can't help but that that that is the way to go.

                      For two of us, we have the chowda sampler + a bow lot New England Chowder. An order of fried clams with bellies, and a lobster roll with hot butter. Then Indian Pudding, and Huckelberry Whoppie Pie. Also, a blackberry saison for drinking.

                      The meal was nice, but way too much. Maybe the combination was not good, but I calculated the calories to be over 2,000 per person, which is the entire daily allowance for most people in a single sitting. I was so full I couldn't eat for 24 hours.

                      If I did it again, I would either get just chowda + Indian Pudding, or just fried clams and fries.

                      The chowda's are good, though maybe not the absolute best versions ever. Very clammy though =)

                      The fried clams with bellies are just about the only real deal on the West Coast.

                      The Indian Pudding with homemade ice cream is a serious contender for best dessert in LA. Its luscious, creamy, sweet, but not too sweet...a little savory. It's perfect. The whoopie pie was mediocre by comparison, though not bad.

                      The lobster roll is ok, but has a bit too much paprika.

                      Good surprise of the night: the house-made ketchup is very good. Get malt vinegar for the fries anyway though =)

                      Bad surprise of the night: the house-made tartar sauce sucks (for me), because it's super creamy, but with not enough of the tartar flavor...very sad. If you love a super creamy, and not particularly relish-filled tartar sauce, I guess you'll be ok. I like something a little running, with more of a zing to it though.

                      All-in-all, I was semi-happy with the experience. I guess New England seafood is always pretty costly. I'm unsure of whether the meal I had was worth $60/person (tax + tip included). But on the other hand there's nothing else in the category that compares to it, and the beer list is excellent. Would I rather eat at Bucato, Bestia, Tar & Roses, Rustic Canyon, Bäco Mercat, etc...? Most nights probably so, but it's tough to directly compare.

                      I think if you want fried clams with bellies this may be your only legitimate option. I recommend sharing them though, because even though you only get about 10 of the clams, they are behemoths, and WILL put you down for the count.

                      You really need to come to Connie and Ted's knowing what you're getting into. It might have also been far more cost efficient to only get a single entree (the clams + bellies and fries alone is over 1,000 calories per serving and would leave you with approximately a $30 bill with tax + tip; and I feel that that is what you would order as a standalone meal in a New England seafood shack based on my time out East).

                      In the end, I feel it is weird that Connie & Ted's is listed as a potential candidate for best new restaurant in the James Beard Awards. It's more of a specialty restaurant that is good for very particular things, than an outright outstanding restaurant in every sense of the word.

                      On a final note though, you can get non-fried foods there, from a Portuguese fish stew, to seafood marinara, or lightly grilled calamari.

                      I would recommend going in as large a group as possible to share things.

                      All in all, I enjoyed it, but I wish I hadn't felt so sick after eating there. I am going to consider that my fault for over ordering and refusing to believe that the clams would stay good overnight though.

                      1. re: BacoMan

                        I was surprised by James Beard nomination dining experience and food were just OK. nothing really remarkable or memorable.

                        1. re: foufou

                          The nominees are not to be announced until March 18th.

                          Connie & Ted's was listed on the semi-finalist list. Which, by the way is...

                          Best New Restaurant
                          The 404 Kitchen, Nashville
                          Aragona, Seattle
                          Ardent, Milwaukee
                          Asta, Boston
                          Bar Sajor, Seattle
                          Betony, NYC
                          Brindille, Chicago
                          Carbone, NYC
                          Casa Rubia, Dallas
                          The Cavalier, San Francisco
                          Chi Spacca, Los Angeles
                          Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood, CA
                          Coqueta, San Francisco
                          The Elm, Brooklyn, NY
                          Estela, NYC
                          Fish & Game, Hudson, NY
                          Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe
                          Laurel, Philadelphia
                          MilkWood, Louisville, KY
                          MW, Honolulu
                          Nico Osteria, Chicago
                          Pêche, New Orleans
                          Pinewood Social, Nashville
                          Ribelle, Brookline, MA
                          Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C.
                          Serpico, Philadelphia
                          Tosca Cafe, San Francisco
                          Trois Mec, Los Angeles
                          Uncle Boons, NYC
                          Virtù, Scottsdale, AZ

                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                            Yeah, mea culpa. I meant semi-finalist.

                            In LA, if Chi Spacca doesn't win it I won't be surprised, but very disappointed.

                            I with I was lucky enough to have been to all of the restaurants on that list though.

                            It still doesn't seem possible to me that Connie & Ted's is anywhere near Chi Spacca, or Trois Mec though.

                            I am really curious who the finalists will be though.

                            1. re: BacoMan

                              I've been to Chi Spacca once, Connie & Ted's half a dozen times. I think my experience at Connie & Ted's was more fun and satisfying. - and I stuff myself too much (but that's because I find the food somewhat addictive). I liked Chi Spacca a lot - the short ribs I had didn't quite connect with my hope and expectations (they were more like the Korean variant - thin, chewy and sweet. Did I like it? Yes, Loved? Not so much. But I'm going to get more excited over fried clams and good french fries that I will over Korean BBQ - which I never find myself craving. That's just a taste issue. And that might come into play with the Beard people. (they definitely have an east coast bias, and that could figure in their judging - C & T is a west-coast reverent bow to a humble east-coast cuisine. And it works for me.

                              Trois Mec? Their reservation policy (tickets!) leaves me confused, amused and a bit frustrated. The concept of an funky pizza joints works for me. And I supposed if I make a couple calls - i can get in. But I've yet to be knocked out by Ludo's cooking. And there are so many other places to go that I know i will like. I'll get their eventually.

                              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                As I've posted before, nothing I had at Chi Spacca made me want to return. If (and it's a big if) I ever return I'll try some of the other items like the pork chop of the giant steak and see if my opinion changes. As of now there are too many other places that beckon to make a return visit to CS...

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  the trotters @ chi spacca were legendary.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    Yeah, for sure. All of the cured meats are insane there. Colby is the master of salumi in LA. Even the stuff I don't love is still fascinating on his affettati mist board.

                                    Have you had his foaccia de recco? Seems weird for a meat shrine, but it's numinous perfection.

                                    1. re: BacoMan

                                      nah, only been once. did not expect to like the trotters at all, but it ended up being the most memorable dish (for me).

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Too bad.

                                        I still haven't gone to Charlie Trotters just yet.

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          You never know how things will go there, but I have never had anything bad. I rarely feel like I can order just about anything on a menu and have it be mind-blowing.

                                          What else have you had there?

                                          I highly recommend going back to try the Moorish Lamb, Chicken Diavola, Tomahawk Chop, and Foccacia de Recco (also the whipped lardo with house bread, the house pkcles are great too).

                                  2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                    Weirdly enough, the one item I have avoided at Chi are the Korean short ribs. I just don't see the point in them being on the menu.

                                    I have had had almost every single other dish on the menu though.

                                    The only ones I have not had are the Veal Rack, Pork loin Al Latte, Razor Clams, and Branzino.

                                    I'm hoping to go soon and change that =D

                                    You should come with me! =D

                                    1. re: BacoMan

                                      Razor clams were delicious, but still had a little grit in there. I've never had a razor clam yet where someone has managed to remove all the grit.

                                      A challenge!

                                      1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                        I have heard that it's impossible to remove all of the grit. The staff have been trying to convince me to get the razor clams for ages though. I may finally relent next time, as an accompaniment with the veal.

                                        I LOVED the testa frittata actually. I think it's one of the most unique dishes anywhere in LA, with the Calabrian chills, prawns, and thick egg, with an incredibly viscous layer of the best headcheese I've ever tasted melted on top. Never had anything else like it, totally forgot!

                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                            Can I ride your Coattails too ?

                                            I'd love to hear some of those crazy larger than life stories. :)

                            2. re: BacoMan

                              Just like any other animal from the wild, clams come in all different sizes, and they will vary in size, shape & taste depending on lots of factors, like season, ocean variables, and where they were harvested.

                              So I wouldn't generalize that all orders of fried clams will come with about ten huge order for the clam roll was filled with more than ten, and they were small to medium sized. Still delicious though, thanks for your report!

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                I wasn't complaining about the 10 clams in the order. They were quite large, and overly filling.

                                Did you have the clams with bellies in the clam roll?

                                What else comes in the clam roll?

                                1. re: BacoMan

                                  I wasn't saying you were complaining about them. I was clarifying for the readers who may come across this thread that the size and amount of clams will vary.

                                  Yes, the whole clams come on the clam roll. They also put some lightly dressed cole slaw in the roll, which was fine for me, though not traditional. And it's on the same griddled roll as the lobster roll.

                              2. re: BacoMan

                                If you didn't like it all that much, then why did you overeat

                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                  Like I said, it wasn't necessarily bad. And it didn't seem like the clams would survive a night int he fridge to me. I have a bad habit of being unable to throw good food way unfortunately, so I made the decision to eat the clams.

                                  The only thing that was outright bad to me was the tartar sauce. The clams themselves were not bad.

                                  I may have fucked up by eating them all and not believing I could save them for a night. That's why I didn't make a new post with a review.

                                  I think I was at least partially to blame for the less-than-stellar experience. Other than the tartar sauce... maybe just personal preference, but I've never had to resort to eating clams with ketchup before...

                            3. nice report lisa! :> i can't wait to try the clam bellies on my next visit.

                              one note from my own experience: i never had any of my lobster rolls "overwhelmed" with paprika or other spices. very weird. mine were always nearly perfect and my favorite lobster rolls in town.

                              can't wait to go back again. :>

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: chowseeker1999

                                Maybe someone got heavy handed with that one. Good to know

                                1. re: chowseeker1999

                                  I found the lobster roll to be overwhelmed the other night when I went.

                                  To me, the only really good lobster roll in LA is SoaG's. Maybe I am just not a lobster roll person though.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      I really liked the lobster roll at the Connie and Ted's, but I like Lobsta Truck better, if you're taking cost into account (I might still like it better, even if you don't).

                                2. After reading your report, and that of Baron who was at C&T the day before, and JG's review in Saturday's LA Times, I really looked forward to my first meal at C&T. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but after years of lusting for this kind of shellfish in LA and accepting BP Oysterette"s steamers because it was the only crap game in town, I was raring to go. First, let me give you my background. I was born and raised in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, NY and was taken to Lundy's and Randazzo's, two of the better seafood restaurants adjacent to the docks in Sheepshead Bay before I went to grade school, so from an early age I knew the difference between good and bad looking and tasting shellfish.

                                  I arrived at C&T this evening 10 minutes before it opened at 5PM, and got a spot at a meter right in front of the incline leading up to the restaurant. A really good omen. When the doors opened I walked in and was impressed with what I saw. It is a good looking, well designed restaurant. I asked to be seated at the Oyster Bar, and was. I looked at some 8 feet of oysters stretched out in from of me, covered with ice, and to the left of the oysters was a lobster tank half full with crustaceans. I ordered a beer and looked at the menu. I knew that there was no way I could eat all the stuff I wanted, so I decided to start with a dozed assorted oysters, the rolls which were truly delicious, and a cup of Manhattan Clam Chowder. The oysters were good, fresh, cold and tasty. The chowder was not what I was used to, but again was good. I then discussed the rest of the order with my waitress, who suggested that I have the steamers, and then see if I had room for more. I agreed. Some 10 minutes later my plate of steamers was put before me. I immediately saw that the clams were very small, and that the cup with the broth was not just broth but some concoction. I asked the waitress what it was, and she said it was a salt broth. Never heard of that one before. I opened up a clam, peeled back the skin, dipped it into the broth and tasted it before I dipped it into the melted butter. Eech. Took that off the plate. Fortunately there was enough broth on the bottom of the dish to dip into, but it really didn't need any, since there was no sand in the clam. I bit into a clam, and knew that this was not a good taste. A good steamer, besides being twice as large as those served me is sweet, really sweet, and is a joy to eat. These were not. I told this to the waitress, who sent the manager to see me. I told him about the clams, and he said that sometimes they get large clams and sometimes small. I said that if they let their purveyor give them whatever they get from the East Coast without culling, there will be no consistency. I was terribly disappointed in the steamers. A Californian who has not had good steamers before would not know how it should look and taste, and might wonder what all the fuss is about. I am going back to C&T in a few weeks with some other people because I want to have the fried clams and lobster roll. The clams will be different because these come to the restaurant in a large pail, already shucked. I'll let you know what I think of the fried clams and lobster roll.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: pizzafreak

                                    I've got to say, as a former NE-er myself, you were pretty brave to order steamers there. Since I've lived here, close to 20 years, I haven't had the guts to order anything they call steamers out here. It just seems next to impossible, to me, to replicate the experience you grew up with on the east coast. Steamers are the smallest soft shelled clams. I'm assuming they are flying them in from the east coast, as you cannot get any soft shelled clams here, but I can't help but think I will be disappointed, as you were. Thanks for taking one for the team. PS - I think you will enjoy the fried clams & lobster roll much better, I certainly enjoyed mine.

                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                      Quality Seafood at the Redondo Pier has live fresh Ipswich steamers in tanks. You can pick out the ones you like. They will steam them or you can take them home. They have all sorts of shell fish live and fresh.

                                      1. re: Baron

                                        Thank you, I have yet to make it there....thanks for the reminder!

                                        1. re: Baron

                                          Thanks, Baron. I'll go there and give it a try.

                                          1. re: Baron

                                            I couldn't care less. When they purport to be a quality eastern clam shack and serve a dish that is IMO less than acceptable, they open themselves up to criticism.

                                        2. re: pizzafreak

                                          Hi Pizza. My experience with the steamers was better than yours. I remember Lundy's. when I get in the mood for steamers I go to the Redondo Pier and steam em at home.
                                          I would like to have bluefish bet never see it in LA. All the good seafood houses have disappeared. Like Jack's at the beach. I'll give Connie n Teds another try. I just wish they were on the westside. They've only been open a couple of months. I'd like to hear about how they do with grilled fish.

                                          1. re: Baron

                                            We had the simply grilled alaska halibut. It was perfectly grilled and moist. Portion was small. There was no way it was enough as an entree.

                                            They had bluefish on the menu the night we were there.

                                          2. re: pizzafreak

                                            I said that if they let their purveyor give them whatever they get from the East Coast without culling, there will be no consistency
                                            I wonder how the manager and Chef Cimarusti felt about you telling them how to better run a restaurant business.

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              i'm going to agree with porthos here. i mean, o.k., you didn't like the steamers. i get that.
                                              but do you really think they know "less" about steamers than the average east coaster?
                                              i mean, they are professionals, aren't they?