Los Angeles is a city of transplants, with many from all over the world coming to call the city home. As such, the city is home to a vibrant and diverse culinary scene that features influences from a number of cooking traditions. Yet one surprising culinary trend recently popping up in restaurants throughout the city is not from a distant shore but rather the other coast of our own country – that of East Coast seafood.
While Los Angeles is already home to a number of seafood oriented cuisines, over the last several years, the city has witnessed a surprising trend of East Coast themed seafood eateries opening in the area. A result of both hungry East Coasters pining for their familiar dishes alongside ambitious chefs looking to bring some of their favorite East Coast dishes out West, these New England seafood-joints have become all the rage amongst transplants and locals alike.
From food trucks to fine dining establishments, here’s a look into the top five concepts serving up the freshest New England style eats west of the Mississippi.
Fishing With Dynamite
Local beachside fish shack Fishing with Dynamite is the result of a partnership between South Bay restaurateur Mike Simms and Michelin Star chef David LeFevre. Teaming up years before with the opening of the ultra-successful MB Post, located next door, the duo opened the New England style, upscale seafood eatery in sunny Manhattan Beach with the goal of bringing the best seafood of the East Coast (it’s chowdah, not chowder) to the South Bay. Opening in 2013, the concept was an immediate success, attracting diners from the entire LA area to make the trek down to the South Bay to enjoy a number of Chef Dave’s inspired delicacies. An incredibly small space, seating only thirty five guests, Fishing with Dynamite still maintains its local vibe, reserving more than half of its seating options for walk ins. Featuring an incredible raw-bar that features an assortment of chilled seafood platters, the restaurant splits its remaining menu into two categories, Old School and New School, the differentiate between the restaurant’s traditional and more playful seafood dishes.
Knuckle and Claw
The New England style seafood shack Knuckle and Claw was previously selling their lobster rolls at Farmers Markets throughout Los Angeles, but with growing demand for their rolls, the concept transitioned into a brick and mortar location in the heart of Silver Lake earlier this year. True to its name, Knuckle and Claw’s lobster rolls, or knuckle sandwiches, feature only lobster claw meat, flown in daily from the East Coast. In addition, the restaurant also offers take home options for diners to make their own lobster rolls at home.
Connie and Ted’s
Inspired by summers spent fishing with his grandparents (Connie and Ted) on the beaches of New England, Connie and Ted’s was opened by Michelin starred chef Michael Cimarusti of LA’s Providence. Yet unlike the upscale Providence, Connie and Ted’s focuses on serving simple, classically prepared seafood inspired by New England style clam shacks and oyster bars. The restaurant serves up a number of East Coast classics, including flights of Manhattan, New England, and Rhode Island chowders, clam and lobster rolls, and stuffies, and is perhaps the only West Coast eatery to feature clam cakes prominently on the menu.
Inspired by an eating trip through Maine that featured a number of the state’s famous lobster rolls, the Lobsta Truck began operations in LA, bringing New England style lobster rolls to Angelenos throughout the city. Unable to find lobster or bread as fresh as in New England, the truck brings both in directly from the East Coast. In addition to lobster rolls, the truck also features a number of other New England seafood dishes including Cape Cod chips, crab rolls, and New England style clam chowder.
Catch and Release
Jason Neroni’s childhood summers spent on the beaches of Maine helped to inspire the newest addition to LA’s New England style seafood joints. Opening earlier this year, Catch and Release serves a fusion of the nostalgic, traditional East Coast dishes alongside internationally influenced dishes, inspired by Neroni’s own travels. Featuring dishes such as French bouillabaisse and Spanish paella just as prominently as freshly baked Parker Rolls and crispy clam strips, Catch and Release has managed to please a number of seafood oriented diners. In addition to serving sustainably sourced ingredients, Catch and Release is also among the forefront of restaurants looking to tackle the issue of wage inequity within restaurants, affixing a set service charge to each bill that is spread evenly amongst the staff.