See the way the light is hitting the white wine in my glass?
That’s a summer moment, a California moment; it’s a moment that transcends anything critical I might say about the restaurant where this moment took place. Not that I have anything critical to say. Blue Plate Oysterette is situated on Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica and if you took this same restaurant and relocated it to a shopping mall in Minnesota, you would think it had no reason to exist. And you would be right. But sitting there in Santa Monica, as it is, facing the Pacific ocean, the sun hitting it on its way down in the sky, it’s a perfect summer seafood restaurant.
We went there with Mark and Diana after a day of wandering around Santa Monica. Here’s the scene from the boardwalk, looking out on to the beach:
Instagram has the ability to turn any moment into what feels like a historic document; this was no exception. There’s something Coney Island-ish about that picture and, come to think of it, there’s something Coney Island-ish about the Santa Monica pier where there’s a Ferris Wheel and a roller coaster and an arcade where we played skeeball for a bit, cashing in our tickets for prizes.
And then, at the 5 o’clock hour, we decided it would be nice to get a drink and maybe some oysters. Which is how we ended up at Blue Plate Oysterette:
There was a wait for an outside table. They took our phone number. We wandered across the street, looked at the ocean, and sat under a tree waiting for the phone to ring. 30 minutes later it rang, and back to Blue Plate Oysterette we went.
We ordered a bottle of chilled white wine–I’m thinking it was Gruner Vetliner, but I could be wrong–and toasted the summer:
And then we ordered a platter of oysters, which came out promptly:
The woman who presented the oysters pointed out which ones were which and then walked away. I asked the table, “When that happens, how much of it do you retain? Because I retained nothing!” Diana retained more than anyone else, but she’s worked as an S.A.T. tutor so I suppose it’s in her blood to retain information like that. Thankfully, the oysters were spelled out for us on this piece of paper:
Eating oysters at the end of a summer’s day while drinking chilled white wine and looking at the ocean is one of life’s great joys. In fact, an oyster is an edible version of the scenery and mood I’m talking about; it tastes of the ocean, it tastes of the sunshine. Even the leftover shells are pretty:
As the sun continued to set, we ordered ourselves another bottle of wine–this one a rosé:
Then it was lobster rolls and French fries seasoned with Bay:
We could pick apart the lobster roll, compare it to more iconic lobster rolls, like my favorite at Pearl Oyster Bar, but that would be missing the point.
The point is: we ate these lobster rolls while sipping rosé with the sun setting over the ocean at the beginning of July. Like an overture for summer, that was our meal at Blue Plate Oysterette. I won’t soon forget it.