Where to find a spectacular seafood platter in Los Angeles

Here are my weekly recommendations for where to eat – and order – right now.

The Hand of the Deck from Lonely Oyster

Lately, my social media feeds have been flooded with fruit plateaus: Plates and towers built of cobblestone, oysters, curvy clams and shrimp, lobster tails, crab legs dangling from side to side, halves. lemon, cocktail lime and mignonette and small fork protruding at every angle. It’s all sumptuous and enticing, but few discs are as impressive as the new Lonely Oyster in Echo Park.

The Deck Hand is the smallest of the three on offer at the restaurant, but I still call it large. Chef Dillon Turner treats his rice trays like gates, starting an evening that could end with a trio of lobster rolls or butter brown scallops. However, the Deck Hand is just the beginning.

“I try to give you a journey through destination and taste,” he said recently.

The goal is to provide 3 East Coast oysters and 3 West Coast oysters. On a recent visit, there were blue Malpeques oysters from the East and Kusshi oysters from the Canadian province of British Columbia, with an even sharper brine and sweet finish. The tiny, fleshy clams at Totten Inlet in Washington state are covered in a layer of sweet mango. Had a small plate of diced red snapper in leche de tigre and mussels wearing a simple but effective chimichurri. In the center, two Mexican black tiger shrimps are entwined alongside cocktail sauce. There’s also a fried wonton with Santa Barbara uni and a box of caviar.

Instead of the more traditional presentation of oysters, seafood at Lonely Oyster is served with a trio of dropper bottles filled with citrus soybeans, Calabrian chili oil and mignonette.

What is the best way to approach such a collection?

“How you want to play it is completely up to you,” says Turner. “I’ll start with the oysters.”

As for what to pair the sauce with, despite the plethora of options on the table, Turner says he eats his oysters “instantly”.

Fried fish sandwich at Canopy Club

A giant fish sandwich on a plate at a restaurant.

Fish Bread from the Canopy Club in Culver City.

(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Canopy Club is a novelty poolside restaurant and lounge at the Shay Hotel in Culver City. It gives off big Miami vibes with two-tone shell umbrellas blowing in the wind, flamingos and palm leaves in the background. During lunch, it’s an oasis of sunshine and a sparkling pool.

Some cocktails, like the Telenovela (mezcal, poblano liqueur, passion fruit, lemon, habanero bitterness, a noticeable amount of coriander and a Tajin rim) are garnished with small plastic flamingos. An employee, who could be a manager, told our table that Telenovela got its name from a movie related to cocktails and that some people believe that coriander tastes like soap. Understood?

I did. I also ordered crispy fish bread. It was a sandwich with a piece of fish hanging from a bun like a giant fish stick, crushed and oddly shaped. I grew up on the Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s, so comparisons are inevitable. The Canopy Club sandwich is full of a slice of soft American cheese (not half), shredded Little Gem lettuce, pickled cucumbers and onions, and some aromatic caper remade on a buttered bun. It’s worth a second, third and perhaps fourth visit, even without the pool and sunshine.

Fried fish at the Rubie Jamaica pop-up store

A plate with fish and sides at a restaurant.

Fried fish at the Rubie Jamaica pop-up store.

(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

How delicious can a bowl of rice and beans be? They are ingredients that can have profound implications for anyone who eats and prepares them. I grew up eating short-grain white rice steamed in a pot with salty, black fermented soybeans. It’s still a main meal or a snack that makes me feel centered. This week, I had a googly eye for another bowl of rice and beans.

To appreciate chef Giancarlo Scott’s fried fish, we need to start with his rice and beans first. Scott, who runs the Rubie Jamaica pop-up shop with his wife, serves his fish on a layer of jasmine rice and Rancho Gordo Domingo Rojo beans. It tastes like risotto, the filling is puffed with coconut milk and warmed with cinnamon, cloves and all the nuts. Beans, cooked separately and scattered everywhere, add a little sherry vinegar, garlic and thyme.

Scott said recently: “What I’m cooking is Jamaican food. The chef, whose father is Jamaican, cooked at Providence in Los Angeles before moving to Seattle for a few years and returning to launch the Rubie pop-up store. “I keep coming back for a taste of the Caribbean and anything in West Africa. It’s part of my culture, and I just want to have fun with it.”

Scott’s rice and beans are the base for his fried fish, a Pacific lamprey tenderloin lightly grated in cornmeal mixed with curry powder. The tenderloin is deep fried until the fish seems to melt under the crispy coating, not the flakes. It is topped with a salsa consisting of burnt scallions, shredded cabbage, Old Bay seasoning, mustard, honey, and sherry vinegar. Next to it are two slices of fried beef.

I ate Scott’s fishballs while sitting on a deck chair in a pop-up shop recently at Benny Boy Brewing in Lincoln Heights. The fried fish was served in what I imagine to be a biodegradable bowl. I used my bent plastic fork to break pieces of fish and pick up bits of scallions with spoons of rice and beans. I save plants to eat as dessert.

“I just try to make what tastes good and make it as meaningful as possible,” says Scott.

This is a bowl worthy of the greatest view. Sweeping my takeout bowl with my bent fork, while Dodgers played on the big TV, it all made sense.

Restaurants featured in this article

The Lonely Oyster, 1320 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 221-7615, aloneoyster.com
Canopy Club, 8801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (209) 364-7541, www.canopyclub.la
Rubie, check out @rubielosangle on Instagram to find out where to find the next pop-up,.

https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-10-17/seafood-towers-plateaus-de-mer Where to find a spectacular seafood platter in Los Angeles

Russell Falcon

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