Water Grill Sunday clam bake


Oh, Water Grill. I’ve only been there twice, but what two awesomely lovely meals they were. Every restaurant should strive to be described as “awesomely lovely,” and Water Grill lives up to this term that I just coined.

This downtown mainstay is classic, elegant dining at its best, but without the pretentiousness that can easily accompany such a description. So what you get is a consistently great meal with an inviting, friendly atmosphere that’s hard to beat.

My first meal at Water Grill took place a couple of years ago in the form of a business lunch (‘cuz that’s how I roll). I remember having a vegetarian dish with eggplant, and while it probably wasn’t what I was “supposed” to order at a place that specializes in seafood, it was delicious. I cleaned my plate!

This second trip to Water Grill came at the invitation of the restaurant to try out its Sunday clam bake dinner. Based on my first experience, I expected great things, and I wasn’t disappointed.

First off, as soon as we sat down, our white napkins were whisked away and replaced with black ones. Huge points for this! Not only is it nicer not to see your food on your napkin after you use it, it’s also nicer not to have white lint all over your dark clothing.

We (Lindsay of LAist, Esther of e*starLA and Caroline of Caroline on Crack) started off with cocktails despite knowing we’d be getting wine pairings with our meal because, well, you have to try the cocktails, right? I really liked my whiskey sour, which was made with rye and a house-made sour mix. Not too sweet and just the right amount of tang.


Whiskey sour (left)

We were then presented with an amuse bouche of smoked salmon (sometimes it’s made with tuna; it just depends on what’s fresh that day), Japanese cucumber, grapefruit, hearts of palm puree, diced mango, garlic, ginger and Thai chili topped with micro cilantro, wasabi creme fraiche and black sesame. It was zingy, to borrow a word from Lindsay, and a great way to start off our epic seafood meal.


Next we couldn’t resist the restaurant’s raw selection, even though it wasn’t part of the clam bake meal. Prawns, lobster, scallops, sea urchin, two kinds of oysters — oh, my! I’m not a big raw seafood kind of person (though I do enjoy sushi), but this was an excellent selection put together by our very capable and helpful server, John. He’s the man! (He also chose great wines to pair with our food. Knowledgeable staff is a huge plus.)


And now for the start of our clam bake dinner. You get a choice between two salads: black river gorgonzola cheese and sugar pumpkin salad or mixed greens with shaved tiny vegetables. We all opted for the pumpkin. It was tasty. For the spring 2010 menu, the restaurant plans to use apricots instead of pumpkins.


And now for the best part: a whole quarter-pound lobster (one for each person!) and a casserole dish filled with clams, mussels, potatoes, carrots and linguica served family style. There’s also a bowl of sweet corn, cooked to perfection, that arrives at the table, too. The lobster meat was juicy and sweet, and the clarified butter that is served with it tastes like almost like it’s caramelized. Executive sous chef Ted Hopson told us that the only special thing they do to the unsalted butter is cook out the whey instead of straining it when the butter is clarified.



Lobster claw meat, whole!


All the other clam bake goodies are underneath.


Caroline going for it. This is huge, as she's afraid of alien-like sea creatures.

For our third part of the clam bake dinner, we had a choice between two desserts: a gala apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, or a root beer float. The root beer is made in-house. For the spring 2010 menu, peaches will be served in place of the apples in the crisp. I had the apple crisp, and it was another winner. Despite being totally stuffed, I somehow found room in my belly to finish this dish. Not sure how that happened…


Gala apple crisp with vanilla ice cream


Root beer float

And just when we thought we were done, a plate of adorable little confections was presented to us. Pistachio macarons, and strawberry-pineapple and lemon-poppy seed gelees were a nice way to end the meal.


Pistachio macarons (top), strawberry-pineapple gelee (center), lemon-poppy seed gelee (bottom)

The Sunday clam bake dinner is $55 per person, which may seem like a lot, but if you think about the amount and quality of the food, and the superb service, it’s really a great deal. This would still be a splurge for me, but one well worth the money. This was a truly enjoyable meal. Take someone special for a special occasion; you won’t be disappointed.

Note: I’ve been playing with Picnik.com to edit my photos, so if the lighting on these look a little wonky, that’s why. I hope to get better at this.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

About The Author

Maya Meinert

Other posts by

Author his web site


11 2009

Comments are closed.