For everyone who's been driving by the pig-shaped hole where Lindy & Grundy used to be on Fairfax, finally there's news about what's going into the location. The former butcher shop has been taken over by Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Connie & Ted's) and his partners. They will be opening a fish shop, called Cape Seafood and Provisions, in the spring.
Why the name? "Cape Cod, Cape May, Cape Horn," Cimarusti says. "There are lots of capes; it has a maritime connotation."
Cimarusti, whose seafood palace Providence turns 10 years old this year, opened Connie & Ted's in 2013 as a more downscale seafood restaurant, modeled after the crab shacks he loved growing up in Rhode Island. (The restaurant is named after his grandparents.) This new venture is the logical extension, a place for home cooks to buy the fish and seafood that they enjoy at those restaurants.
Cimarusti, long an advocate for sustainable seafood, can now further practice what he preaches, as he can not only source the fish and seafood you eat at his restaurants — but also what you cook at home.
"We just kind of threw our hat in the ring at the last second," says Cimarusti about the location, which abruptly closed as Lindy & Grundy's butcher shop in September after a three-year run.
Cape Seafood and Provisions will sell raw fish and seafood, prepared seafood and sauces, as well as packaged and prepared goods to complement it all — including some things from Connie & Ted's such as the chowders, baked goods and lobster rolls, and bouillabaisse broth.
Two things we can expect are alder-smoked salmon, which Cimarusti is already working on, and smoked blue fish tip. "We serve it at Connie & Ted's," says Cimarusti. "It's a staple in every fish market anywhere in New England."
"There's a lot of great news in the seafood world," says the chef, who wants to further educate cooks about which kinds of fish are safe to buy and cook, including some species that have been brought back from over-fishing.
All the fish at Cape Seafood and Provisions will be from sustainable sources. And Cimarusti says that if you can't find what you want in the shop, he'll get it for you on 48 hours' notice. If it meets with his sustainable prerequisites, that is. In other words, Cimarusti will not be getting you bluefin from Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. "No. Absolutely not."
The chef has other plans for his new fish shop too, including reaching out to local private chefs to be a resource for them and doing more to help bring sustainable seafood to the rest of us. "I'd like to form something like a CSA for fish," he says, which he's thinking of calling the Captain's Chair.
As Cimarusti, his wife and business partner, Crisi Echiverri, and Poto are again partnering with Craig and Amy Nickoloff in the business (the Nickoloffs are partners at Connie & Ted's), there will also be turf to go with the surf at the new shop, including natural and USDA Prime steaks and chops from Nickoloff's butchers at West Coast Prime Meats. Which is fitting, really, given that the space was previously a butcher shop, and that Animal is right down the street.
For L.A. fish and seafood lovers, this is terrific news for many reasons. Now we can all cook Cimarusti's Master Class recipes at home — with his own fish.
Mostly, the chef is just happy at the prospect of even more seafood in his life. "It's going to be fun to be around all that fish all the time."
Cape Seafood and Provisions: 801 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles.