Last night was Spencer Bezaire's final shift as chef at Silver Lake's beloved L&E Oyster Bar. Bezaire, along with his wife, Sabrina (who has served as L&E's wine director), are moving to Seattle. Dominique Crisp, who has been serving as sous chef at L&E for the past two and a half years, is taking over as executive chef.
In his six years at L&E, Bezaire has consistently been one of L.A.'s most underrated chefs. The restaurant opened by Tyler Bell and Dustin Lancaster a few months before I arrived in Los Angeles, and I questioned myself every time I ate there in those early days. Was the food really as good as I thought it was? It got a quick reputation for its extensive oyster selection — something that was a rarity in town in those days — but people didn't talk much about Bezaire's more creative cooking, which was (and has remained) fantastic.
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In the years since, I've had that same experience again and again at L&E. I remember some of those times vividly: Over a plate of poached boudin blanc on L&E's sidewalk patio, I turned to my husband and said, "Holy crap, this is delicious." There are some nights when all I want is the oily, snacky goodness of Bezaire's mussels and chorizo. Just last week, on our 10 Best Brunches in Los Angeles list, L.A. Weekly food editor Katherine Spiers wondered why L&E didn't have lines out the door for its stellar brunch.
Bezaire didn't have a highly pedigreed career before starting at L&E — he attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, worked for a while at Cafe Stella where he eventually became executive chef, then worked at Heirloom L.A. doing charcuterie and catering. But at L&E he made a real impact on the neighborhood and the city.
We wish him and his wife the best of luck in Seattle.