If you’re looking for a fine dining seafood fix, look no further than downtown Los Angeles and Water Grill. Known for an expansive raw bar, Water Grill just got better by adding even more swimmingly good options, including an array of chilled oysters that are truly gems of the ocean.
Known for its fresh, seasonal cuisine, Water Grill has a twice-daily menu with seafood offerings so exquisite they’ve earned the Pacific Center-located restaurant a Michelin star. The raw bar features a minimum of eight varieties of oysters from diverse regions, including Mexico, British Columbia, Canada, New Zealand, and Connecticut. They did diners a favor by recently adding three new shellfish platters to the raw bar menu: “The Grand” ($35),“The Deluxe” ($70) and “The King” ($135). On a recent trip, I went with The Deluxe, a divine, double-tiered tray overflowing with oysters, clams, king crab, shrimp, mussels, lobster, Dungeness crab, sea urchin, and steamed periwinkles. My guest and I had our work cut out for us and we managed just fine.
My favorite bites from the towering dish were the Taylor Bay scallops, a Massachusetts delicacy, sweet little dabs of heaven served in the shell. I also couldn’t get enough of the Penn Cove black mussels, which have such a smooth texture and sweet finish, they melt in your mouth. For a sampling that eats like a smooth, silky beverage, the Large Channel Island purple sea urchin simply slides down your throat, but the full flavor lingers on the palate. Alaskan king crab, Oregon Dungeness crab and so many more jewels of the sea – they’re all beckoning at Water Grill.
The open dining room is a calming space, with auburn woods and dimly lit tables . At the center is an elegant zinc-inlaid bar.
Though the raw bar is a huge draw, a wide offering of hot cuisine and simple lunch items are also available. One taste of the Chilean Sea Bass basted with lavender and Meyer lemon will let you know right away that a true culinary artist resides over the kitchen. Executive Chef David LeFevre, a Wisconsin native, joined Water Grill as executive chef in 2004 and his extensive experience with seafood is evidenced in every bite of Water Grill’s
offerings. Inspired by childhood moments spent along the Chesapeake shore, LeFevre attended The Culinary Academy of America. While at school, he interned at Charlie Trotter’s celebrated restaurant in Chicago. He then worked for Trotter in Las Vegas and later traveled to France to refine his classical skills through apprenticeships at critically acclaimed restaurants including the late Bernard Loiseau’s restaurant, La Côte d’Or, Restaurant Jean Bardet and Roger Vergé’s Le Moulin de Mougins. Every ounce of his training shows, from gorgeous presentation to carefully crafted cuisine.
Don’t forget to dive into dessert at Water Grill – the cheesecake is a light slice of heaven.
Water Grill, 544 S. Grand Ave. Call (213)891-0900.
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