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Scene Setter: Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica

September 15, 2009 |  3:55 pm

BP-blog When a littleneck clam is unearthed from its sandy abode and placed into a bucket of water that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, its vulnerable body will stretch to great lengths to reach the food. It's a touching sight, the way it strives to eat what will ultimately speed its demise.

Such is the way with the steamers served at Santa Monica's new seafood restaurant, Blue Plate Oysterette. They feed and purge themselves of grit before they are served in a large bowl with a smooth, buttered broth and thick slices of grilled bread, perfect for sopping up that delicious juice. (Apologies to poetically tragic mollusks everywhere.)

BP, as the restaurant is called for short, is owner Jenny Morton's second restaurant (she also owns Blue Plate on Montana Avenue). She says her inspiration for BP was twofold: First, she doesn't eat meat but loves shellfish; and second, she found herself wondering why there isn't a "place in Santa Monica to get informal, small plates of seafood at reasonable prices?"

From the look of the 50-seat restaurant on Ocean Avenue, just a few blocks from the pier, lots of people have been wondering the same thing. BP has been open less than two weeks, but it is already reeling in plenty of customers. On a recent Thursday night, the shotgun-shack-shaped room was packed with diners seated side by side at a long row of horizontal tables, much like gourmet sardines in an attractive, beachy tin.

To read the rest of Jessica Gelt's story (and to see a tasty photo gallery), click here.

Photo: Lobster roll on brioche with homemade sweet potato chips. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times