Any Fish You Wish...

Rustic and quaint are the words that Knuckle & Claw use to describe themself and I'd have to agree! The patio seating on Main Street is absolutely charming, as are all of the servers. We had a delicious lunch here, and although it's a newcomer to Santa Monica; it's sure to be a hit! Chloe Dahl and Nikki Booth opened their second place here in Santa Monica about a month ago.((the first is in Silverlake). Here's a fun fact: Chloe is the granddaughter of Roald Dahl author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! After spending summers on Martha's Vineyard, Dahl is bringing beachy goodness to the west coast. The Lobster Roll ($20) served on a Rockenwagner bun is over 1/4 pound of lobster knuckle and claw meat, flown in daily, served with both butter and mayo and Booth's special spices! This sandwich is outstanding! New England Clam Chowder ($9) makes a hearty main dish too. It is rich and chock full of big juicy clams. For dessert we had the Whoopie Pie ($3)...dark chocolate filled with cream. And after this lunch we did shout "Whoopie!" It was that good! Knuckle & Claw 2715 Main Street Santa Monica (310) 399-9939. Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11am-11pm.

Recommended Dishes: Lobster Roll, Clam Chowder, Whoopie Pie.

We've been missing Tar & Roses (which by the way just reopened!) so we decided to try its sister restaurant. Start off with a magical cocktail like Lululime ($13) a mixture of vodka, cucumber, mint, lime, and ayurvedic bitters, with a hint of cayenne pepper to give it some spark! Beer selection isn't huge but includes favorites such as Scrimshaw Pilsner ($7) and Midas Touch Ancient Ale ($9). From the wine list we choose a Handley chardonnay from the Anderson Valley. ($16/$64) Other interesting whites and reds include Radio Coteau Chardonnay ($125) and Angela Estate Pinot Noir ($92). Bring your own wine too, but be prepared to pay the corkage fee. Santa Monica Yacht Club, on 6th and Santa Monica is modeled after an old-school yacht. It's mainly a seafood restaurant where Chef Andrew Kirschner pays homage to the ocean with such memorable didshes as the Crabcake in a Singaporian chili sauce. ($16) Pea shoots and cilantro surround the moist, tender chunks of crab. The Lobster Burrata Toast ($19) was my favorite small plate. Chunks of sweet lobster sit upon toast with creamy burrata as the base. Topped off with chili falkes, lemon, and tarragon, this was a party in my mouth! We also tried the Grilled Shrimp with polenta. ($16).Shrimp were perfectly grilled and exploded with flavor. The Amber Ale Marinated Skirt Steak was my husband's favorite dish. Tender slices of steak are served with white sweet potato puree. From the garden we ordered the Lobster Rice. ($11). This is one of the best rice dishes I have had. Bits of lobster, avocado, and chives make up this rich buttery dish. My advice would be to choose one dish from the menu's five catagories Raw (oysters, yellowtail, striped bass chviche, rock shrimp taquitos) Crustacean (carb cale, lobster burrata, spaghetti and clams), Fish (grilled branzino, whole fried snapper), Meat (Skirt steak, bone in NY, lamb kebobs) and Graden (smoked pee wee potatoes, lobster rice, apple glazed brussels sprouts. You won't go wrong!  Santa Monica Yacht Club 620 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica (310) 587-3330. Hours: Tue-Sat: 5:30-10:30 pm, Sun: 5:30-9:30 pm. Reservations a must.

I'm going to dedicate this blog to my sister's significant other...Mike because we had the best time playing Jewish Geography while eating at catch & Release Saturday night. I think there might be one other person I have had this much playing that game with, but that's a distant memory, for another time. I'm also dedicating this blog post to Mike because he loves talking about food as much as I do!

So, Saturday night my sisters Lisa and Tracy joined us for dinner both with their other halves, Mike. Tracy's Mike (whom I adore) has been my brother-in-law (aka Mr. Fix-It) for alomost 30 years. Lisa's Mike I've actually known, but haven't seen since high school since they only recently re-connected. It's funny that we were going to Catch & Release because I thought to myself, "Mike 's a great catch, but I'd never want to release him!" So Mike M; this one's dedicated to you.

If you like seafood (a la Connie & Ted's) you'll adore C&R. It's one of the Marina's hottest new seafood restaurants dedicated to the preservation and purity of ocean to table dining. Enough with the farm to table people, we're moving on to oceans now! Chef Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar, Spago) combines East Coast seafood with high quality California ingredients.

The nautical theme is classy, yet fun with picnic tables, exposed light bulbs, faux wooden shingles, along with booths for more privacy.

We started with the "HoJo" crispy clam strips with Old Bay, and bread and Butter Tartar Sauce.  For the record, they are some of the best in LA. Be sure to order the buttery, baked-to-order sea salt Parker House Rolls. Four come to an order, and you'll eat every last one!  Spaghetti with dungeness crab, ramp (spring onion) butter, chilies, breadcrumbs, and lemon is outstanding. We also had the big Lobster Roll stuffed with chunks of meat, Duke's Mayo (tangy mayonnaise used in the south), tarragon, and lemon. Haddock fish and chips with slaw, Old Bay fries, and tartar sauce was crispy and flavorful. Finally we had the Wild Striped Sea Bass with green beans, and black kale pasta, served in a white wine shellfish broth. We also enjoyed the sugar snap peas with bacon.  Each dish was as amazing as the one before it! The restaurant does add on a 20% Admin charge (a gratuity that covers waitstaff) so don't feel obligated to leave a tip on top of that! Service is top-notch and we can't wait to go back! We are definitely not releasing this one! Catch & Release 13488 Maxella Avenue Marina del Rey (310) 893-6100. Hours: Monday-Thursday: 4p.m.-10:30p.m. Friday 4p.m.-11p.m. Saturday 11a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

 

Recommended Dishes:Clam Strips, Parker House Rolls, Fish & Chips, Sugar Snap Peas, Corn, Spaghetti, Lobster Roll, Sea Bass.

As if it weren't enough that I got my husband to take me to the Santa Monica Pier the other night; I even got him to eat there! To make a long story longer, (as my husband says I always do), Ron HATES and I mean it with capital letters, HATES the Santa Monica Pier. "What goes on in that head of yours that you want to walk around with a million tourists on that low life pier?" he questions me. "It makes me happy?" I answer with a question, then bat my big green ones. "Okay," he answers. "But I swear, (and he really does mean it at the time)we are not coming back here...ever." So we head off and play some games like Roll A Ball where you try to get these stupid race cars across a track by rolling a golf ball into holes. At $3 a pop, it's so worth it, said no one ever. After a brief, but meaningful conversation with the Zoltar, we were hungry. We decided to try The Albright. Since 1977, this seaside restaurant, named after the nautical Albright knot, (representing the tying together of two paths) has been owned by two generations of the Kim family. Situated right in the middle of the pier, it's great for people watching. Get in line and order from the chalkboard menu. Start off with some fresh Fannybay oysters ($15) Kumamoto ($19) or Clams ($19) served with Champagne migonette and spicy relish. Or try some Calamari with chipotle aioli. ($11.75). New England Clam Chowder is full of clams and potatoes and is thick and creamy. Have a cup with crackers ($7.50) or a Sourdough Bread Bowl ($9.50). The Lobster Roll ($16.95) is meaty and served cold with seasoned French Fries. for a real treat try the Tiger Shrimp & Chips ($17.25). Hand-battered black tiger shrimp are served with crispy fries and coleslaw. The plate is large and filling too. Beer selection is fantastic with choices from IPAs like Lagunitas ($6) Stella Artois on tap ($6/$11), Affligem Blonde Ale ($7.50), Boddington's Brown Ale ($6), Lagers ($5), Pale Ale, Pilsner, Porter, Stout, Tripel, Golden, Wheat, and White. The Wine list is none too shabby either. By the glass or by the bottle enjoy favorites like Lamarca Proseco ($35), Raymond Collection Chardonnay ($8/28) or some, J. Lohr Merlot ($9/$36). Don't forget to get some funnel cake at one of the pier vendors on the way out. Oh, and be sure to tell your husband, "Thanks." The Albright on the Santa Monica Pier 258 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. (310) 394-9683 Hours: Mon-Fri: 12 p.m.-Close, Sat-Sun: 11 a.m.-Close Does not take reservations.

Recommended Dishes: Clam Chowder, Lobster Roll, Tiger Shrimp, Fresh Oysters, Clams, Calamari

 

Every Sunday we have a "Fun Day" and today was no exception. We love Manhattan Beach and often enjoy chef David La Fevre's Manhattan Post. Today we tried Fishing With Dynamite, La Fevre's Oyster Bar and Seafood restaurant. The 35-seat eatery has quickly become one of our favorite new places! Chef and co-owner Le Fevre, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has previously graced the kitchens of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and La Cote d' Or, Restaurant Jean Bardet, and Le Moulin de de Mougins in France. In Los Angeles he was the Michelin star executive chef at the Water Grill for six years! Now I didn't say reservations are easy to get. They book three tables through Open Table. Come early or call the restaurant. Start off with a very reasonably priced glass of white wine like Hewitson Sauvignon Blanc ($6) from Australia or enjoy a glass of Patz & Hall ($12.50) chardonnay from Napa Valley. There are more than ten whites by the glass. Ten reds are available too, with the Stonestreet ($12.50) from Sonoma being our favorite. Of course you can order by the bottle, and the selection is extensive! Beer drinkers rejoice! You can get everything from Jamaican Red ($6.50) to a Duchesse de Borgogne ($13.50). Other favorites include Harvest Ball ($7.50), Mischief ($10.50) and about six others. Specialty cocktails ($12.50) like the Innocents Abroad, a sparkling cocktail with starr rum, passion fruit, lavender and thai basil are refreshing and creative. Now for dinner! The raw bar is amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed the jumbo shrimp ($2.25 each/$16 for half a dozen $29 for a dozen) with saffron aioli and cocktail sauce. Oysters are $3 to $3.25 each, $17.50 to $19.00 per half dozen, and $33 to $35.75 per dozen. Also from the raw bar...Littleneck clams, Peruvian scallops, Prince Edward mussels, Alaskan King crab legs, and Atlantic lobster. Mixed platters start at $45. Clam Chowder ($9) is fantastic; and why wouldn't it be? Made with Neuske's bacon, Weiser Farms potatoes, and house made oyster crackers this soup is great way to start your meal. The Maryland Blue Crab Cake ($16) is served with in-house crunchy dill pickles and a whole grain mustard remoulade. There is a ton of crabmeat, and a little kick of spice at the end. We loved it! Don't forget the FwD fries. ($8) Served with malt vinegar mayo, these are some of the crunchiest, tastiest fries we've had! We also had the shrimp tacos ($12) on corn tortillas with salsa verde, guacamole, and cilantro This dish was outstanding! The tortillas were literally stuffed with shrimp and the salsa verde was the perfect finish. They really have a way with sauces here. Service is excellent and we really enjoyed the vibe. Fishing With Dynamite 1148 Manhattan Avenue Manhattan Beach (310) 893-6299. Call for reservations. Sun-Wed: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thurs-Sun 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Bar is open later.

 

Recommended Dishes: Clam Chowder, FwD fries, Crabcakes, Shrimp tacos, oysters, fresh jumbo shrimp, clams.

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