Having spent many years on the East Coast enjoying lobster rolls and clam shacks scattered in coastal towns, Jenny Rush longed for this food in her town of Santa Monica. She found the perfect quaint space on Ocean Ave, with a view of the sunset over the Pacific and transformed it into BP Osyterette. It has become a neighborhood staple ever since, drawing locals and tourists alike since 2009.
A classroom-size blackboard lists the oyster catch and the day’s specials. Beneath, elbow-to-elbow patrons enjoy the goings-on in the open kitchen. The Tim Clark-designed space is long and narrow, with white banquettes along the wall opposite the bar. Salt air blows in off Ocean Avenue as a full house of casually dressed diners throw back Beau Soleil, Fanny Bay, Kumamoto, Marin Miyagi and Hog Island oysters, to name but a few of today’s selection.
You’re at Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica, one of a trio of Jenny Morton’s Blue Plate restaurants in the city. For nearly five years, the East Coast-looking clam shack of an establishment has been synonymous with oysters on L.A.’s Westside, and long before other high-profile chefs have gotten in on the action.
We checked into our hotel last week and went exploring for something to eat for lunch. We came across the Blue Oysterette, a charming little crab shack right on Ocean Avenue. It is small and cozy with a studied casual air and a great front of the house, not to mention it's just across from Palisades Park and the Pacific. Owner Jenny Morton, who also owns Blue Plate on Montana Avenue, went for a neighborhood kind of place rather than something glitzy. The menu is smart too. Pretty much everything that people love about East Coast seafood; oysters, clams, mussels, lobster rolls, fish 'n' chips, steamers is listed on the one-page menu. The selection of fresh oyster and some of the menu is listed on a chalk board outside the restaurant and above the counter in front of the kitchen. It is right next door to BOA, a great steak place on Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.
Ok, so L.A. has its Issan Thai restaurants, Sichuan and Shanghai style places, Tuscan trattorie and Provencal bistros, Yucatan and Oaxacan joints. Why not an East Coast clam shack? Well, now we have one, fetchingly called Blue Plate Oysterette.
I'm surprised no one has tried it before. There was the short-lived Menemsha, but it was a much more ambitious East Coast seafood place. That this one is small and cozy with a studied casual air and a great front of the house -- not to mention it's just across from Palisades Park and the Pacific -- gives this place a fighting chance.
Thanks to Jonathan Gold, somebody has finally taken a bite at the newly opened BP Oysterette. While not all dishes are hits, go for the namesake: "an oyster bar lives and dies with its oysters, of course, and Oysterette’s are quite good, impeccably fresh creatures from New England, Puget Sound and British Columbia for the most part but including delicious Bahia Falsas from near Ensenada and Luna oysters from Carlsbad, quivering and cold, expertly opened, served on big platters of ice. Raw littleneck clams? Great. Raw oyster 'ceviche' drizzled with a little lime and chile? Wonderful...the raw shellfish is worth a trip."