Whenever I think of Blue Plate, it’s a neighbourhood joint that comes to mind. Located on Montana in Santa Monica, I keep on going back for breakfast or brunch (but they also serve lunch and dinner), because the dishes are solid if not out of the world excellent, and the atmosphere uplifting and “coastal” with all the blue and white of the decor. And whenever I drive by Blue Plate Oysterette, their seafood sister restaurant, I also picture a neighbourhood place, even if Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica, high rises notwithstanding, is not much of a neighbourhood at all. A stone’s throw from the Promenade, it came highly recommended by trustworthy friends, and I thought it might be a good spot where to have a quick bite before a movie.
Still small, still white and blue with some beige thrown in and a bit more sophisticated than Blue Plate, Oysterette, as the name implies, is all about seafood and oysters in particular. In all fairness, I did not try the oysters or the crudo. The menu is fairly extensive and on the pricey side for a casual restaurant that doesn’t take reservations and whose tables are so close together you are practically sitting in your neighbour’s lap. Were I to go back, I would rather sit at the counter, in front of the open kitchen, and order oysters.
One of their signature dishes is the lobster mac and cheese (which has become ubiquitous in LA) and, for $20 appetizer size (albeit generous), I would expect more than a couple of ounces of lobster and for the pasta not to be overcooked into oblivion. And why mar an absolutely perfect Maine lobster with truffle oil? The house salad with shallot vinaigrette was devoid of any flavour – I am all for keeping our arteries in good shape but how about shelling out a bit more salt in the vinaigrette? The fried Spanish sardines, a starter special on the night I visited, were, on the other hand, perfect. Served on a bed of arugula with fried capers, they were crispy and light and I wished they were served entrée size.
The restaurant can get really noisy but the service is friendly and efficient. Bread is not offered but, upon request, the grilled sourdough that gets delivered is good. All in all, I would be game for going back and trying a few more dishes, especially the raw fish and the oysters. Somehow, oysters before a movie seemed a bit too decadent.