A couple of weeks ago, after making the impulsive decision to walk from the Red Lion to Silver Lake Boulevard, my husband and I headed over to L&E Oyster Bar. Being that it was a Saturday night, there were no tables, but the host suggested we check out their bar. Fittingly called Upstairs, the dimly lit second-story space was surprisingly quiet when we walked up (which is how we like it), so we pulled up some bar stools and asked for a menu.
Listed above a nice selection of locally brewed beers, wine, and apertif, were small bites, like Sour Cream & Onion Chips, Pimento Cheese served with toast, and oysters by the dozen. While I’m sure those are all delicious, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get anything but what we ordered that night: the Fish Charcuterie Plate.
Presented on a large wooden board, the dish features hefty portions of beet-cured salmon, tuna conserva that’s slow cooked in oil overnight, and smoked trout rillettes made with sherry, shallots, and butter and topped with walnuts. The fish-lovers assortment is served with pickles, dill cream cheese, capers, olives, pepperoncini, bread, and whole-grain mustard. And then, there’s what L&E calls “twice-baked saltines,” an invention that takes plain crackers to dreamy heights by coating them in butter, hot sauce, and Old Bay then re-baking until they’re golden. I liked the Fish Charcuterie so much, that I had to ask chef Spencer Bezaire about his inspiration.
“As long as I can remember I have always had an affinity towards charcuterie. There is something about the process of curing and or smoking a protein to preserve it that is really powerful to me. In the past, I have made my own salumi, head cheeses, and pates. The charcuterie plate is something I typically order when at a restaurant, and I wanted to recreate that at our restaurant, but in the style of L&E,” says Bezaire.
The dish goes for $30, and that’s actually a great deal because it’s the perfect amount of food for two—I should know as I’ve already shared it twice since my first visit. Add a couple of drinks, and you’ve got a great dinner date or a fun night out with a friend. And if that’s just too much fish, you can also order the salmon, tuna, and rillettes, each of which come with similar accoutrement, separately. The upside of that choice is that you might still have room for a macaron ice cream sandwich at Milk (it’s right next door) afterwards.
L&E Upstairs, 1637 Silver Lake Blvd, 323-660-2255