99 Essential Restaurants 2014

L&E Oyster Bar

photo by Anne Fishbein

This is the neighborhood gem that keeps on giving. When L&E Oyster Bar opened in 2012, Silver Lake was deeply grateful for a serious oyster bar with a laid-back vibe, which served fantastic wine and the coldest bivalves in town. Two years later, L&E has grown to include an upstairs bar with a great porch overlooking Silver Lake Boulevard, as well as a wallet-friendly happy hour. Chef Spencer Bezaire continues to deliver much more than oysters. There are standbys that still satisfy: the mussels cured in oil and served with chorizo toast is one of the city’s best bar snacks, showing the virtues of two kinds of oily goodness combined. But there are also seasonal dishes that pop up and smack you upside the head with their creativity and quality. We’re still thinking about a seafood boudin noir we had at L&E a couple of months ago, a fat seafood sausage blackened with cuttlefish ink over sunchokes with beurre blanc — simply stunning. It helps that the place is damned adorable as well, all mirrored and checkered floors — like a tiny slice of Paris, only with better oysters.

-- Besha Rodell