As we sat down in our booth at the Water Grill near the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, I unfolded my extra-large white linen napkin. Near the top was a large buttonhole. “Sixty percent of our guests fasten their napkin to the top button of their shirt,” stated our waiter. “It saves our diners on dry cleaning bills.” No one wants to drip melted butter or cocktail sauce on one’s clothing while dining at one of Los Angeles best seafood restaurant.
A must to try is their raw bar. In fact, I could just make my meal an iced shellfish platter filled with Peruvian Bay scallops with a citrus marinade, cherrystone clams, perfect sized Alaskan red King crab “nuggets,” wild jumbo Pacific shrimp, and Penn Cove black mussels. The round platter is served with a tray of three dipping sauces; freshly made horseradish, bright red cocktail sauce and my favorite the mignonette sauce ($35 served 1-2). All I need is this dish with some fresh French bread, chibbatta and black olive bread, and I am very content. However, one must try a cup of their clam chowder with Weiser farm potatoes, Niman ranch smoked bacon and fresh clams ($8.50). It is heavenly. Another great start is the jumbo lump blue crab cake mixed with a celery salad, remoulade and the most delicious brined pickles ($19).
If you are at The Water Grill on a Sunday evening, you must try their Sunday Lobster Clam Bake. Start with a mixed green salad, then a plate with a 1 ¼ lb lobster and melted butter. A pot filled with clams, mussels, potatoes sweet corn and spicy linguica sausage is swimming in my favorite clam chowder soup. To complete the meal, a maple budino with pecan shortbread cookies ($49 per guest).
Executive Chef David visited our table and shared a story about one of my favorite dishes, his sautéed Columbia River King salmon, with steamed asparagus and a poached egg and a mustard dill sauce. He believes Salmon is a very “soulful” product. The Water Grill is a good for your soul restaurant, with soulful food and servers. Water Grill is located at 544 S. Grand Avenue, (213) 891-0900