99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Connie & Ted's

photo by Anne Fishbein

At Connie & Ted’s, Michael Cimarusti’s tribute to his childhood holidays along the Rhode Island shore, the chef has achieved something remarkable: a fish camp that seems right at home in the heart of West Hollywood. The giant, glassed-in swoosh of a building has all the dazzle and pizzazz the neighborhood requires; in addition to being a dining destination, it’s an exceedingly fun place to grab a beer and some oysters at the bar while watching the game on the big-screen TVs overhead. Along with executive chef Sam Baxter, Cimarusti has created a menu of incredibly straightforward, classic American seafood dishes, proving that sometimes the simplest things can be the most impressive. This is food that is devotional rather than ego-driven, and as such it relies mainly on the quality of product rather than flashy cooking. There are chowders, lobster rolls, a fantastic selection of raw oysters, and the freshest fish cooked simply. In a year in which L.A. saw a slew of new, East Coast–inspired seafood spots, Connie & Ted’s stands out as the best of the bunch.

-- Besha Rodell