How to Eat Like a New Englander in L.A.
Winter’s brutal freeze likely didn’t have any of L.A.’s New England transplants longing for a visit back East, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t still daydreaming about sitting seaside with a wicked good cup of chowdah or an overstuffed lobstah roll.
Fortunately, L.A.’s East Coast food lovers don’t have to buy a plane ticket to get a taste of the Northeast.
Over the past few years, several New England-inspired restaurants have opened here. Sure, many of them skew heavily toward the bounty of the Atlantic Ocean, but there are plenty of variations – including non-seafood ones – to keep things interesting.
Tie on your bib. Here are nine L.A. spots where you can eat like a New Englander:
Inspired by his New England upbringing, chef Jason Travi brings to Littlefork the flavors of back east, with heavy accents from neighboring Montreal. Getthere early for Oyster Hour, which often features rare-for-the-West-Coast varieties from Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Littlefork also piles one pound of tender lobster meat atop a buttery Parker House roll. Poutine may be a Montreal staple, but northern Vermonters will be plenty familiar with the cheese curd- and gravy-decked fries. And anyone who has toured New England’s fall foliage or gone apple picking in the region will be comforted by the mild tang and sweetness of their apple cider donuts at brunch. 1600 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood; (323)465-3675, littleforkla.com
Knuckle & Claw
Knuckle & Claw
Knuckle & Claw opened in March on a busy stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, after winning over lobster-roll fans at farmers markets on the Westside. The restaurant is the vision of Chloe Dahl and Nikki Booth, a place where a breezy, subway-tiled interior and sun-dappled patio evoke a lazy summer afternoon on Martha’s Vineyard (where Dahl — yes, the granddaughter of author Roald — spent much of her childhood). Booth and Dahl offer a refined version of the classic lobster roll, trusting the rich flavor of a quarter pound of freshly shipped Maine lobster claw meat to a splash of lemon-butter, a sprinkle of a secret spice blend and a restrained streak of mayo on a buttered and grilled Rockenwagner roll. For variety, try a trio of mini rolls, featuring a shrimp and blue crab version, paired with a cup of clam chowder. 3112 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 407-6142, knuckleandclaw.com/
The Lobsta Shack
Chances are you’ve seen the Red Sox’s familiar font and color on the Lobsta Truck rolling around town, but now you can sit down for a proper lobster feast at the Lobsta Shack, which recently opened on a stretch of Cesar Chavez Avenue near Chinatown. Though its interior resembles a modernized roadside shack of the Northeast — white shutters, booths and historic lighthouse illustrations — the Shack offers a more extensive menu. In addition to the split-top Maine lobster-loaded rolls (your choice of buttered like in Connecticut or mayo-ed like elsewhere) and cup of chowder or lobster bisque, you can now feast on a whole lobster dinner, pan-seared scallops, fried clam strips or a lobster pot pie. Round out the meal with Maine brewed sodas and blueberry pie. 701 W. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Chinatown, (323) 999-1797, lobstashack.com
Fishing With Dynamite
If you’re in need of a briny ocean breeze to complement your New England-inspired meal, head to the bustling, sun-soaked confines of David LeFevre’s refined Manhattan Beach shack. While the menu – both raw and cooked – draws upon oceans far and wide, you’ll find Welfleet oysters, littleneck clams, Atlantic lobster, clam chowder and beer-battered cod that evoke plenty of nostalgia for an East Coast harbor-side meal.. David’s mom’s Cape Cod squash rolls are fluffy, golden and served with rosemary butter —a rare treat and a nearly extinct Massachusetts tradition. 1148 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach; (310) 893-6299
Connie and Ted’s
Chef Michael Cimarusti cemented his seafood pedigree with Providence, but at Connie & Ted’s he leans more heavily on New England fare, particularly the kind found in the waterfront shacks of Rhode Island where his grandparents – the namesakes of this West Hollywood venture – taught him about the bounty of the Atlantic. Lobster-trap light fixtures, buoy sculptures and a hulking lobster tank complement the restaurant’s soaring roof, which echoes the hull girders of a whaling ship. Here you can sample from the most extensive New England oyster selection in town and indulge in classics like New England and Rhode Island-style chowder, steamers and fried clams. Don’t skip some of the harder-to-find East Coast offerings, like the Portuguese fish stew, the stuffies (breaded and stuffed clams) or the signature New England desserts including the molasses-cornmeal combination of Indian pudding or the devil’s-food cookies with marshmallow filling, better known as Whoopie Pie. 8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-2722, connieandteds.com
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