Had a very nice lunch at the Water Grill (544 S. Grand Ave., (213) 891-0900) this afternoon. Started with their excellent clam chowder, with Manila clams (in their shells), Weiser Farm potatoes, and Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon. Very rich, with all of the flavors blending together perfectly. On the recommendation of our waiter, I ordered the Rhode Island wild stripped bass as my entree. It was excellent -- a nice sized chunk of bass filet, cooked brown and crispy on the skin side, resting on lemon scented potato puree with confit of garlic, red pepper, and preserved lemons, and a caper/toasted pine nut vinaigrette. Also sauced with what I think was a parsley oil. I know it sounds like an odd mix of ingredients (or it did to me at least), but the various flavors and textures really complimented each other. Absolutely delicious! Lunch companion ordered the hand harvested scallops with salsify, pureed with hazelnut oil and roasted, lamb's lettuce and a currant hazelnut vinaigrette. (Looked really good, but since it was a recruiting lunch, I figured it was probably bad form to be spearing scallops off the recruit's plate.) Service was helpful and professional without being overbearing. My only nit would be that their decaf coffee was not particularly delicious.
I was worried about this place when MC left, but, at least based on my limited periodic sampling, they seem to be holding up pretty damn well.