It was a moment straight out of the Ben Affleck movie, The Town.
Boston accent and all, I walked inside of TJ’s apartment and approached him as he sat on the couch watching TV. Standing in front of him I asserted, “I need you to come with me. I can’t tell you what we’re doing or where we’re going but there’s gonna be lobster, drinks, and some awesome kids.”
TJ took a moment to think it over and asked, “Whose car we gonna take?”
Ok, maybe I made up our Boston accents but what wasn’t made up were the dramatics–those were real. They were fitting considering TJ and I were on our way to the grand opening of Cousin’s Maine Lobster’s first brick and mortar location in West Hollywood (WeHo). The lobster truck that helped me fall in love with seafood would finally have a set LA location! I would not longer have to hunt down their food truck like a stalker with my nose to my phone.
The nice part about the Cousins grand opening was that it wasn’t just about the food and getting media familiar with their dishes and the owners. Instead, it was also a VIP charity night as the co-founders, Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis, invited their “Littles” as well as participants of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters and their “Littles” to partake in the opening day fun. I liked seeing everyone who made an impression in the lives of children who need them, get a moment of acclamation. As well, it was good to see little kids hang out and relax around food. And it was fun to see them chow down just like me! That was my gut talking.
After seeing the kids run with excitement over lobster, I walked into the restaurant to get a look at the entire space. Although the space was small, they made use of what they had. A few chairs and tables both inside and outside the shop and nicely decorated walls. One side had the logo imprinted across the brick wall in case you forgot where you were, while the other had nostalgic photos of the co-founders. Some photos showed their journey of bringing Cousins to life while working on a boat to photos of the owners smiling with their Shark Tank mentor Barbara Corcoran. I like that they had these images up because it showed the hard work they put into their business. Taking my attention to the staff and everyone was full of smiles. Don’t get me wrong, there was a bit of a calm panic within their smiles thanks to all the people ordering, but they all carried it very well. And one of the staff told me the best thing I could hear: they validate parking. That means you can actually park in West Hollywood and not be charged double digits to eat! Major thank you, Sabin and Jim!
Now it was time to order!
Because Cousins is known for lobster, I knew this would be on my plate, but that couldn’t be it. TJ and I wanted to try a few things that steered away from the obvious. Here was our huge order: Maine Lobster Roll ($15), Connecticut Lobster Roll ($15), Shrimp Tacos (3 for $12.50), Lobster Tots ($13), Maine Fried Clams ($17), WeHo Martini ($16), two Maine Root Sodas ($2 each), and Whoopie Pie Ice Cream ($4). It was a lot, but since I had been prepping for this day, I was more than ready.
I can’t recall if I’ve ever had Blueberry Soda ($2), but when I saw the name of the drink on the machine I knew that’s what I wanted in my cup. With the first few sips, I was instantly glad that I got it. The blueberry flavor was very prominent and the soda was just as sweet, but not the point that I wondered if my blood sugar was going to skyrocket. The other good part about it is it’s not severely carbonated. I’m the girl who shakes her soda before drinking it to kill most of the bubbles before they attack my throat. Since this drink had an easy balance of the bubbles, it made it easy to drink. I know, I know, I sound like a grandma. Whatever.
When it comes to lobster, these guys have it down. I started with the Connecticut Lobster Roll ($15) because I don’t eat that style too often. The roll takes Maine lobster and serves it warm with butter and lemon It’s a good eat if you’re into the lobster being heated and you don’t fancy the mayo. I liked it, but I like Maine lobster rolls more, so I let TJ finish this one.
The Maine Lobster Roll ($15) on the other hand was my favorite of the two. It looks exactly like the Connecticut roll, but it’s different. Yes it has the same soft buttery roll, but instead of being served warm, the lobster is chilled. I like the taste of the warm bun and the cold lobster together. This roll also ditches the lemon and butter drizzle and goes for a spread of mayonnaise. For me, the mayo makes the simple lobster mouthwatering!
The Shrimp Tacos ($11.50) were three tacos with baby shrimp. Each taco was made with handmade flour tortillas and topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and cilantro lime sauce. They were good, but once I bit into the second taco, I realized I didn’t really want to finish them. The reason being, if I want tacos, I go to a Mexican spot like Guisados. Not to say Cousins can’t make a taco because they can, but I am saying that If I’m driving from Altadena to WeHo (44 miles round trip), I’m not getting a taco—regardless of how much seafood sits in the fresh tortillas.
After the tacos, we split the Fried Clams ($17). They were made of whole belly Maine clams, topped with lemon sauce, and came with a side of house made tartar sauce. And they didn’t arrive solo, a stack of fries accompanied them too. I thought I would like clams but they just aren’t for me. They’re so small that I feel like I would have to grab the entire basket and chew them all at once to fill up on the clams. Instead they’re food you like to pick and eatm all of your food like fries. And with a stack of fries already at my disposal, I don’t need more. So I gave TJ the honor of finishing them and he did so happily.
The Lobster Tots ($13) were a surprising top contender for me! As a kid, tater tots have always been a disgusting greasy piece of cafeteria food that was only good for starting food fights. But Cousins were able to transform them from something I want to shoot at a friend to something I want to devour. The tots were served with warmed Maine lobster and sprinkled with pico de gallo, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro lime sauce. They were fried to a perfect crisp on the outside while the inner potato was still soft. Best part, they weren’t soaked in grease the way the lunchk lady made tater tots! There were so many tots and lobster that it was a small meal that would fill me up for sure. These would never go flying across the cafeteria. Ever.
The final lobster heavy dish was the WeHo Lobster Martini ($16). I got this dish because I was really interested to see how it would be served. The description was that it had chilled Maine lobster garnished with lobster stuffed olive, lemon, and drawn butter all in a martini glass. Yes, I’ll have one of those! When it came out, it looked so pretty. In spite of the glam look of the martini glass, we went into this one with little sophistication. The lobster was so soft and fresh and full of flavor. Here’s my gut talking again: the only thing that could have made it better is if the glass was about 1/4th full of butter. Yes I asked to have melted butter in the cup. It would have made the lobster even better for dipping and maybe drinking. Don’t make that face, you would drink the butter too!
The final dish of the night was Whoopie Pie Ice Cream ($4). Ice cream is my weakness so I was happy to dive into something that would combine both ice cream and a whoopie pie! This ice cream takes the taste and flavor you get when you bite into a whoopie pie and also puts little bits of the pie into the mixture. It’s creamy, soft, and ends the mounds of lobster we had for lunch perfectly!
The entire evening was a hit. It was heartwarming to see the young adults who have done so much to make positive impressions in the lives of the youth, to see the kids having fun with one another, and to enjoy the food that flowed from the kitchen to table. TJ and I appreciated the invite and loved the good energy. With so much happening in just a few hours, it had to be an exciting day for the owners and I was so glad I got to be a part of it. Looking back at it all, I think our fake Boston accents and dramatics were justified.
Address: 8593 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069
Hours: (424) 204-9923
Phone: Sunday through Thursday – 11:00am to 9:00pm and Friday and Saturday 11:00am to 10:00pm
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Validated parking
- Limited seating