Dining Review: The Lobster, a quintessential CA fine dining experience
Taste of Santa Monica
Presented by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce
Written by Barbara Bishop, Mirror columnist and Santa Monica Chamber member.
30 years ago, when I first moved to Los Angeles, there was this little seafood shack perched on a hill, right next to the famous Santa Monica sign, overlooking the magnificent Pacific Ocean.
I loved that place. The minute I walked in, I felt like a was in a 1940s movie. Tattered, but still standing, the ocean breeze blowing into the open, screen-less window as I ate my clam chowder, staring at the view. Oh, that view. The sand, the palm trees and the crystal-blue ocean. It was heaven.
Soon after, the place was torn down. I felt sad. But little did I know what would stand in its place. That place is now The Lobster, celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s much bigger than the shack, finished with beautiful windows, marble floors, elegant table settings and a professional, attentive staff. Oh, did I mention the menu? More on that later.
I went to lunch here with my gal pals just this week. I made my way up a few stairs, surrounded by poinsettias, humming Christmas songs. It was hard not sing, with the stunning way they decorated for the holidays. It’s perfect place to take out of town guests for a quintessential California fine dining experience.
I was early, so I sat at the bar which is equally as polished as the dining room and had a glass of wine. The wine list has been carefully curated to include the finest bottles one can buy, including Caymus (my personal favorite) and Opus, both reds.
There was a great selection of white wines as well, served by the bottle, as well as a selection of red and white wines by the 6 oz or 8 oz pour. Since it was barely 12:00 noon, I chose the 6 oz glass. The bar is a wonderful place to hang out. There are several high-top tables, and a part of the area is an open air environment, perfect for a martini and a shrimp cocktail, while gazing at the Pacific Ocean.
Once my friends arrived, we were whisked through the dining room to a window table, allowing us to have that magical view I experienced so many years ago. Our cute, knowledgeable waiter, Aaron, came up to us and gave us a tour of the menu.
Signature items of course, are the seafood, in particular the lobster tail and the crab legs. They also make a sizable, juicy cheeseburger that any hearty eater would savor. I saw one being delivered to a table next to us, and I found myself staring at the dish much longer than I should have.
The dish that is in season right now is the spiny lobster tail. It’s from California and the meat is sweeter than Maine lobster. Paired with drawn butter, nothing tastes better. We ordered one for the table, as well as a plump shrimp cocktail. The next dish that came out was a beautiful piece of salmon, seasoned and grilled to perfection.
Other items on the menu worth mentioning are the selection of raw oysters as an appetizer, and the chilled seafood platter containing shrimp, crab, mussels and lobster – yum! Aaron says the pasta and seafood dishes are customer faves, as well as seared, rare Yellowfin Tuna, Alaskan King Salmon and grilled scallops.
Last but certainly not least, we threw our normal protein diets out the window that day and ordered the decadent truffle fries. Many Santa Monica VIPs come in just for the fries. By the way, for those who have not had them, this “truffle” is not chocolate. (I was on a blind date once, and ordered the truffle fries. My date was so confused and asked “why would someone put chocolate on fries?” I never went out with him again.