Almost three years after opening their West Hollywood New England seafood spot, Connie & Ted's chef Michael Cimarusti and manager Donato Poto have added weekend brunch service to their roster. Brunch, for many restaurants, equals an easy way to bring in crowds and sell overpriced eggs, but as with all things that come out of Cimarusti's kitchen, the breakfast dishes at Connie and Ted's are no afterthought.
Executive chef Sam Baxter's new menu combines everything we love about New England seafood shacks (i.e., fried clams) and everything we love about brunch (homemade biscuits) for a welcome, seafood-centric change from the pervasive benedicts and avocado toast.
Connie & Ted's big, bright interior shows off an open kitchen and raw bar, both of which are always bustling. At brunch, there's a peeky toe crab and lobster omelet smothered with beurre blanc, which gets a sprinkling of fine herbs and is served with house-made Pullman toast. Another standout: a massive, open-faced crabcake sandwich topped with a fried egg, which turns heads as it travels from the kitchen through the dining room to the large shaded patio. The simply named “biscuits and gravy” seems like an understatement when big chunks of pink Maine lobster and two sunny-side-up eggs come perched on top of a gloriously large, buttery biscuit drizzled with a delicate lobster nage.
Perhaps the most eye-popping of the new breakfast creations is the “Nor'easter,” a sandwich named for the cold winter storms that blow from the northeast into New England. Nor'easters are much more appealing in the form of breakfast sandwiches: Fried clams are added to a pile of bacon, eggs and aged Hook's cheddar, all squished inside an English muffin spread with tartar sauce. The muffin, like every other baked good at Connie & Ted's, is made in-house by pastry chef Melissa McFail.
And while the coffee and lattes are as good as what you'd get at any of the myriad third-wave coffee shops in town, it's the cocktail menu that will impress. Bloody marys, micheladas and mimosas go for only $5 each; apparently, in a town saturated with bottomless-mimosa specials, Connie & Ted's feels the need to compete.