Sundays at The Water Grill: The Epic Lobster Clam Bake

Oysters, prawns, lobster, scallops and uni at Water Grill

Below photos courtesy of Lindsay at LAist

I am always a sucker for seafood. So when I was invited to join Caroline on Crack, Maya of ShopEatSleep and Lindsay of LAist to feast on – what else? – I was all in. Never mind that it was the same day as Great Chefs of LA. I would make this work – even if it did require a bit of planning and discipline at the first event.

The prix fixe deal on Sundays will run you $55 and included are the following – so don’t be fooled by that awesome-yet-not-included depiction above:

Black River gorgonzola cheese and sugar pumpkin salad OR Mixed greens with shaved tiny vegetables

1 1/4 lobster with clams, mussels, Weiser Farm potatoes, sweet corn, carrots, and linguiça (served family style)

Gala apple crisp with vanilla ice cream OR Housemade root beer float

But first, the amuse that we were treated to:

Amuse bouche

It was a dollop of spicy salmon combined with Thai chili, hearts of palm puree and diced mango wrapped in Japanese cucumber, topped with wasabi créme fraîche and micro cilantro. A bit of grapefruit and diced mango set alongside on the spoon. Probably the best amuse bouche I’ve ever had in recent memory, it did just the trick: It really perked my palate, making me ready and even excited for more to come.

We were then treated the impressive array of east coast as well as west coast oysters – in addition to scallops also on the half, rather huge, seasoned prawns and uni. The entire platter was delicious with the uni being the freshest serving I’ve ever tasted. I could appreciate that the east coast oysters had a distinctively sweeter taste than the west coast variety, which had a bit saltier taste. To be honest, I’m happy to just be enjoying oysters and appreciate either. No east vs. west war, here.

Of the salads available, I recommend the sugar pumpkin salad because it was delicious and, though seasonal, hope it’s still available at least for a little bit longer. Let’s be honest, it sounds a lot more exciting than any salad described as “mixed greens.” Gorgonzola and pumpkin went great together and the vinaigrette that it was dressed in really made it incredibly delicious.

Lobster with clarified butter

But then came the lobster – beautifully split open and the bake came complete with clams, mussels, potatoes, corn, carrots and linguiça. The whole feast was a masterpiece in and of itself and in no small part by the spectacular service Water Grill is reputable for. Of course, in the spirit of full disclosure here – the restaurant was fully aware of our arrival and the entire dinner was hosted, so as with any hosted dinner I’d take the notes on service with a grain of salt. However, I have had one pleasant prior, non-hosted experience with the attentive service.

With the lobster being the obvious centerpiece (and a very satisfying part) of the meal, I wish I had more to report on the clam bake. Unfortunately, I was about full with the raw seafood presentation and beautiful wine pairings (not to mention a very decent, eggy Pisco Sour) to match the salad as well. But the couple bites I had were delicious and suitably hearty with the linguiça with a sweet touch thanks to the corn.

And without dismissing the lobster – which was appropriately cooked and retained a good amount of moisture as plucked from the half-shell – there’s something to be said about the butter it was served with. We got a very satisfying explanation for its seemingly caramel-infused flavor. Indeed, the butter is “clarified” by several rounds of reduction and scooping the milk fat that rises to the top, again and again. The liquid had a significantly different taste to the butter I was accustomed to. It essentially took out much of the saltiness that I had come to expect with each seafood experience. Very refreshing.

As for the dessert: Whatever item each of us had ordered, we ended up satisfied – if not also satiated! The apple crisp came out warm and sweet topped with a delicious crumble. I, on the other hand, really enjoyed their house-brewed root beer float. The tiny ginger cookies it was paired with were perfect in giving my dessert that snap.

If you’re looking for a solid lobster feast, the Water Grill is a great go-to. It’s a reasonable deal in a quality establishment; look forward to your crustacean being bookended by worthy offerings.

Further reading:

Water Grill’s Lobster Clam Bake Dinner – LAist

Water Grill Sunday Clam Bake – ShopEatSleep

Water Grill (Sunday Lobster Clam Bake) – FoodGPS

Lobster clam bake available Sundays

$55

Water Grill
544 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.891.0900