ANGE April 2012 : Page 118

118 | Angeleno | April 2012 food drink | dish RAW AND ROLL Clockwise from left: Owner Dustin Lancaster inside his new Silver Lake eatery; a plate of oysters; printed cards heralding the location of the new space The Pearl of Silver Lake Oysters in Silver Lake may seem out of place, especially in a landlocked, mostly residential neighborhood where the closest body of water is the reservoir. But L&E Oyster Bar was a hit from the January night when it opened, filled with An oyster bar is the latest addition to hipsters and fans of owner Dustin Lancaster’s Dustin Lancaster’s Eastside realm. other magnet, Bar Covell in Los Feliz. | By Lesley Balla | The tiny space, formerly Michelangelo’s and | Photography by Melissa Valladares | most recently Domenico Ristorante, only has 15 tables inside and out, with a small, L-shaped bar, vintage bait shop signs featuring daily specials, L&E Oyster Bar and weathered oyster cans lining the walls. It fills fast and lines 1637 Silver Lake Blvd., L.A., last all evening, just about any night of the week. The droves 323.660.2255, leoysterbar.com come for fresh and briny oysters, a stunningly well-planned wine list and perhaps a bowl of L.A. clam chowder (so as not to upset the New Englanders). Not the usual stuff served in Silver Lake. “Maybe it’s because there are a lot of East Coasters around this part of town,” Lancaster says, “but I knew that if there would be one place in L.A. where people would ‘get it,’ besides the beach, it would be here.” Call it intuition, the magic touch, or tastemaking. Whatever it is, Lancaster has it in spades, creating some of the most popular hangouts on the Eastside, places people will drive to from across town, even from the Palisades. When he opened Bar Covell in 2010, Lancaster simply wanted to have a spot where he and his friends would go for a good glass of wine. He found a tiny space on Hollywood Boulevard near Vermont and filled it with antique cameras, a motorcycle, and pages from an old encyclopedia as artwork, all from a flea market in Buenos Aires. It feels like someone’s living room, and people flock to it. “We thought [Covell] would be a little neighborhood wine bar that the locals would enjoy,” says Lancaster. “And what happens on the weekends just blows my mind.” On a recent Saturday night, he could barely get to the door. “I never foresaw this. Not even close.” The same guests fill L&E, a concept Lancaster hit upon after a trip to Boston in 2008, when he discovered oyster bars such as B&G Oysters and Neptune Oyster. He thought, “We’re in a coastal city, why don’t we have these in L.A.?” So he partnered with a Covell regular, Tyler Bell, a restaurateur from Alabama who happens to know a lot about oysters. Lancaster says “oyster nerd” Bell is a kindred spirit who lights up about bivalves the way he and Matthew Kaner, wine director for both Bar Covell and L&E, get preoccupied with wine. At the oyster bar, the small, eclectic list features Graham Beck Brut, a South African sparkler, and Fruitiere Melon de Bourgogne, a French muscadet—perfect pairings for Sunset Beach oysters from Washington, Chincoteagues from Virginia, Cajun crawfish pie, or any of chef Spencer Bezaire’s other concoctions. For Lancaster, once he puts together a team as passionate as he is, the rest falls into place. “I live in this part of town, work here and want to play here,” he says. “I love knowing half of the people coming into my spots. That’s half the fun of it.” A

Food Drink Dish

Lesley Balla

An oyster bar is the latest addition to Dustin Lancaster’s Eastside realm

Oysters in Silver Lake may seem out of place, especially in a landlocked, mostly residential neighborhood where the closest body of water is the reservoir. But L&E Oyster Bar was a hit from the January night when it opened, filled with hipsters and fans of owner Dustin Lancaster’s other magnet, Bar Covell in Los Feliz.

The tiny space, formerly Michelangelo’s and most recently Domenico Ristorante, only has 15 tables inside and out, with a small, L-shaped bar, vintage bait shop signs featuring daily specials, and weathered oyster cans lining the walls. It fills fast and lines last all evening, just about any night of the week. The droves come for fresh and briny oysters, a stunningly well-planned wine list and perhaps a bowl of L.A. clam chowder (so as not to upset the New Englanders). Not the usual stuff served in Silver Lake.

“Maybe it’s because there are a lot of East Coasters around this part of town,” Lancaster says, “but I knew that if there would be one place in L.A. where people would ‘get it,’ besides the beach, it would be here.” Call it intuition, the magic touch, or tastemaking. Whatever it is, Lancaster has it in spades, creating some of the most popular hangouts on the Eastside, places people will drive to from across town, even from the Palisades.

When he opened Bar Covell in 2010, Lancaster simply wanted to have a spot where he and his friends would go for a good glass of wine. He found a tiny space on Hollywood Boulevard near Vermont and filled it with antique cameras, a motorcycle, and pages from an old encyclopedia as artwork, all RAW AND ROLL Clockwise from left: Owner Dustin Lancaster inside his new Silver Lake eatery; a plate of oysters; printed cards heralding the location of the new space from a flea market in Buenos Aires. It feels like someone’s living room, and people flock to it. “We thought [Covell] would be a little neighborhood wine bar that the locals would enjoy,” says Lancaster. “And what happens on the weekends just blows my mind.” On a recent Saturday night, he could barely get to the door. “I never foresaw this. Not even close.”

The same guests fill L&E, a concept Lancaster hit upon after a trip to Boston in 2008, when he discovered oyster bars such as B&G Oysters and Neptune Oyster.He thought, “We’re in a coastal city, why don’t we have these in L.A.?” So he partnered with a Covell regular, Tyler Bell, a restaurateur from Alabama who happens to know a lot about oysters. Lancaster says “oyster nerd” Bell is a kindred spirit who lights up about bivalves the way he and Matthew Kaner, wine director for both Bar Covell and L&E, get preoccupied with wine. At the oyster bar, the small, eclectic list features Graham Beck Brut, a South African sparkler, and Fruitiere Melon de Bourgogne, a French muscadet—perfect pairings for Sunset Beach oysters from Washington, Chincoteagues from Virginia, Cajun crawfish pie, or any of chef Spencer Bezaire’s other concoctions.

For Lancaster, once he puts together a team as passionate as he is, the rest falls into place. “I live in this part of town, work here and want to play here,” he says.“I love knowing half of the people coming into my spots.That’s half the fun of it.”

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Food+Drink+Dish/1011910/105290/article.html.

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