For years, jealous Angelenos have longed for the oyster and clam experience offered daily at Brophy Bros. on the smaller pier in Santa Barbara. To eat the freshest fish that the sea has to offer while actually staring into heart of the deep blue Pacific Ocean has been sadly lacking in SoCal…until now.
Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica looks and feels like nothing else in LA. Hell, forget Santa Barbara, this place could be in Portland, Maine were not the chicks attractive and wearing the shortest of skirts in mid-November.
Obviously, oysters are the main draw and the place cleverly chalk boards the deep-sea selections and let’s you pay by the one instead of forcing a half dozen down your throat. Pacific Northwest pearls are currently in season and offer a fruity succulence with a hint of green apple.
The menu itself veers toward all things oceanic (although a ½ pound kobe beef hot dog stands out for the carnivores). The fish and chips are among the best we’ve had in LA. Meaty, flakey ling cod bathed in a sheer, crisp batter absolutely melts in the mouth with a healthy dose of malt vinegar. The fries are uber crispy and seasoned with sea salt and random herbs that make them the perfect partner to an ice cold beer, especially the fruity ales on draft from Maine.
The “Just Hooked” section of the menu offers four or five fresh fish grilled and topped with your choice of marinades – lemon and caper butter, garlic-pesto and Ximinez tomato salsa, made with mint, shallots and a tangy vinegar from the south of Spain called Ximinez which is balsamic’s subtle cousin. Over stripped bass, the fish was proud to have given up the ghost for the fork.
Clam chowder has a light consistency and the powerful aroma of bacon to make it more than a comfort meal. A lobster dog – claw meat in a hot dog bun – seems overmatched with a mayo slather that swallows the sweet flesh. Sides are ordered, and thus annoyingly priced, separately, but the farmer’s market green beans sautéed in garlic and roasted peppers smelled amazing.
The prices are steep — $20 for a fish entrée and $15 for the smaller plates. But then can you put a price on a 75-degree November day looking at the Santa Monica pier and the ocean beyond? The place is small and fills up quickly, but there’s always room at the bar which provides a perfect view of the ocean to your right and fish frying dead ahead.