Boardwalk Empire

Michael Cimarusti gets nautically nostalgic at Connie and Ted's

Los Angeles is knee-deep in clam chowder, lobster rolls and crab cakes at the moment–not that we're complaining.

Especially now that chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence has thrown himself into the fray, opening what may well be the city's best seafood shack yet, Connie and Ted's (named for his grandparents).

The 140-seat West Hollywood restaurant is massive and modern, yet feels as down-home as a Connecticut clambake, thanks in part to subtle touches like ketchup-red picnic décor and the tray of saltwater taffy near the door.

Steamed Maine lobster with drawn butter (market price) is pristine, unadorned, as seafood this fresh should be. But most diners go for boardwalk standbys: paper-lined baskets of battered clams with tartar sauce ($16); bowls of briny, clear-broth clam chowder ($9); and the essential lobster roll ($20), served in a toasted, butter-lacquered roll. Even the onion rings ($5) resemble the fantastically puffy kind at county fairs.

The nostalgia doesn't stop there: Broiled deviled oysters ($12), bubbling with mustard cream, taste like a superior version of what your grandmother served at bridge games, and the gooey, caramel-drenched blondie ($9) excited our childhood sweet tooth.

Chances are, you'll find us shacked up here all summer.