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Lost At Sea Brings Fresh, Bright Seafood To Pasadena

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Pasadena's new seafood restaurant, Lost at Sea, is a pleasant place to try fresh California seafood dishes.

Helmed by owner Santos Uy (Papilles, Mignon) and chef Tim Carey (Papilles, Patina), the small, 45-person space has a rustic decor, with an open kitchen and some communal tables. Carey grew up fishing with his father, and photos of the family boat adorn the walls. Despite the beautifully plated, elegant dishes and the thoughtful wine and beer list (Uy was the first employee at Silver Lake Wine), Lost at Sea feels still like a casual, neighborhood spot.

The menu offers a number of bright dishes, with lots of crisp, colorful vegetables. There's a refreshing avocado salad, made with generous hunks of avocado, spinach, tomato, cucumber, celery, radish, corn and pistachio ($13). The crudité looks like a tiny garden, with a number of colorful, crunchy veggies dipped in a smoked albacore tonnato dip ($8). Though clearly meant to be shared, we think it could make a nice late lunch.

Some of the plates are fairly small. They do a selection of oysters that are served with a light melon habanero relish ($18), and a charred octopus dish that consists of a single piece coiled around mole, gelled strawberry and a crispy sesame tuile ($18). The sweet corn velouté is a stand-out dish ($11). It is creamy, smooth and served cold with lobster broth, chanterelle mushrooms, and sea grapes. (You can get it with lobster meat for $40.)Larger dishes include the snapper, served with wax beans, shimeji mushrooms and tarragon fumet ($29), or the sockeye salmon ($32) with tomato, basil pesto and panzanella. With the exception of their hearty steak and frites ($27), most of the dishes are quite light, even when substantial cuts of fish are involved. This is the kind of place where you could have a solid meal, then go out afterwards instead of rolling yourself onto the nearest couch.

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If you're just popping by for a glass of wine and a dessert, they have a lovely butterscotch pot de creme and a tarte tatin (essentially a fruit tart that is upside-down) served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The tarte tatin has an interesting, if bitter taste, while the pot de creme will satisfy a more traditional sweet tooth. (Both are $8.)

Lost at Sea is open Tues.-Sun, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., with plans for expanded hours in the future. Starting September 6, Lost at Sea will launch a social hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. with deals on seafood bites, such such as oysters, smoked fish, tuna tostadas and more.

Lost at Sea is located at 57 E. Holly St. in Pasadena, 626-385-7644.