Pedigree: Connie and Ted's is owned by Michael Cimarusti, the widely acclaimed chef/owner of Providence. At Providence, Cimarusti coddles and coaxes sustainable seafood into quiet works of art. At Connie and Ted's, the seafood is put to far more rambunctious use. Cimarusti has tapped long-time Providence chef de cuisine Sam Baxter to head the kitchen at Connie and Ted's, and Providence GM Donato Poto is a constant presence on the floor (as well as being a partner).
Food: Just about every New England seafood specialty you can imagine, cooked simply and very well: crab cakes, lobster rolls, New England boiled dinner, steamers, and lots and lots of oysters. From the review: " This is food that is devotional rather than ego-driven, and as such it relies mainly on the quality of product rather than flashy cooking."
Drinks: The cocktail list has a couple of gems on it (try the Little Sicily for a wonderfully light spin on the rye-and-bitters genre), and the beer list is delightful. Wine is a little less exciting, with an almost 100% domestic list that doesn't quite live up to the food.
Space: Big, bustling, fun. From the review: " The 160-seat space on Santa Monica feels right at home in West Hollywood, a huge swoosh of a building with a glassed-in front behind a large red-and-wood patio, and a dining room that nods to the nautical rather than screaming about it."
Takeaway: 3 stars (very good). High quality ingredients plus incredibly solid cooking makes Connie and Ted's by far the most successful new seafood joint to open recently.