Water Grill

The seafood platter with a lip of iced Wellfleets, the aproned garçon pouring sauvignon blanc. These are rituals a diner can get used to. Intimate? No, it’s a fish house on a grand scale. Considered? Probably not the right term to describe stacked helpings of stone crab claws laden with mustard sauce. Water Grill is not about big issues but about big-ticket enjoyment, and chef Damon Gordon knows just how to make everything shine.

Best Crab Cakes, August 2011

The cakes usually come from two possible donors: Dungeness or blue. The former give up thin shreds of meat that bind easily with fillers and are finely represented at Casa del Mar’s Catch and its Lobby Lounge in Santa Monica. We’re partial, however, to the uninterrupted toothsome sweetness the meat from a Maryland blue crab possesses. When the craving overtakes us for that particular delight, we head to Water Grill. Here the patties are formed with fresh jumbo lump blue crab, seared and served with a slick of celery root remoulade, sautéed fingerling potatoes, and lightly pickled celery, celery leaves, and onion slices. The acid-crunch combo clears the palate for the next delicious bite. Amen.