When Geneva reached out to meet for lunch, I was excited. I’d last seen her in London, when we met for drinks at my hotel, 100 Shoreditch, before attending the Chris Rock & Dave Chapelle show at the O2. Finally, she was back in Los Angeles and our schedules aligned.
She thew out Found Oyster as a suggestion. But, also commented on how challenging it would be to find a table, at 8pm. After mulling choices, I threw out L & E Oyster House in Silverlake as a suggestion. It had been over a decade since I’d been there. But, I knew that she wanted the cozy, cafe like vibe while keeping the seafood cuisine theme. It felt perfect.
Soon, the night of our dinner arrived. Now, I was as surprised as anyone to find parking immediately across the restaurant on a Saturday night. The good vibes only continued when I found out that our table was immediately ready. I went upstairs, hugged Geneva at the bar and together we walked back downstairs to be seated.
To start the late evening dinner, I ordered 2019 Quinta de Couselo ‘Barbuntin’, an Albarino varietal from Rias Baixas, Spain. I must say, I’ve been on a solid streak of outstanding wine choices. It paired well with the seafood for the evening.
Continuing, out came our order of HALF DOZEN OYSTERS (Sequim Bay Sapphires from the Pacific Northwest and Mere Point Petite from New England + mignonette, horseradish and cocktail sauce). I delighted as Geneva expertly dolloped horseradish, splashed mignonette, dashed cocktail sauce and squeezed lemon juice on the half shells.
Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve played with straight horseradish on my oysters. Needless to say – one over dollop of the shaved goodness later – and I felt the delicious heat of my sinuses burning from the – refreshing (to say the least) clearing of my nasal cavities.
Hilarious, let me tell you. But, I loved it. Sometimes, temporary pain is pleasure.
Next served was our order of YELLOWTAIL CRUDO (ginger-infused market melon, melon relish, brûléed grapefruit). Now, this dish was simply delightful. Granted, I’ve had a lot of crudo and hamachi recently. But wow, there’s something about fresh fish and fruit that just melts in my mouth. It was simply a well designed pleasure to eat.
All at once, the rest of our dinner order arrived: FRENCH FRIES (house seasoning, parsley), TOMATO & CRAB SALAD (heirloom tomato, crab, focaccia, herbs) and MARKET CARROTS (sherry vinaigrette, honey, herbs, carrot greens purée).
The fries were pipping hot and delicious with the light sprinkling of house seasoning. The market carrots were mid. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were really good. However, when put up against the tomato and crab salad on focaccia bread, they didn’t stand a chance.
As Geneva and I talked about her trip to Seoul and some travel I have coming up, I couldn’t help but be enthralled with the beauty of such a classic Silverlake night. The sidewalk dining reminded me of what I love about New York and Paris. But, it was distinctly Silverlake.
That’s the beauty of growing up in Los Angeles. I remembered seeing shows at Spaceland, before it closed in 2011. I remember lunches, coffees and dinners at LAMILL Coffee. Walking Silverlake reservoir with Katharine. And most intimately, the last time I was at L&E, almost a decade prior.
That’s the lovely thing about local stalwart businesses that survive global pandemics. You can always come back to collect your memories – and make new ones.
L & E Oyster Bar
1637 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90026