It did take me an impeccable fresh example of Uni to turn me onto it a few years ago. I think something similar has happened to me and shellfish recently. I've been suffering a severe case of Cioppino Fever but also just been craving fish in general these days.
I became curious of Bay Park Fish Company after I read Menu In Progress' Mike and Sherry's 2009 Feast of the Seven Fishes post (Wow). So I had a new place to try when I had my much simpler Fish and Chips craving, he he. I had already homeworked and knew that they were open for lunch, yay.
A small bowl of the Seafood Stew ($4) was hard not to try first.
This day the herby tomato based stew/soup I thought lacked a bit of sodium but was otherwise really nice. The fish were all a very firm well-done and seemed cooked with the stew for a fair amount of time but the smaller mussels were tender. A few drops of Tapatio and a pinch of salt made it even more to my liking. I thought for four bucks this was pretty hard to beat.
BPFC has a nice selection of sushi rolls and sashimi. If I remember correctly the hand roll I ordered was Hamachi Negi (~$5). One was also hard not to try first.. ;)
I personally wouldn't have minded up to twice the amount of negi green onions. I thought the hamachi quality and quantity in the temaki was fair for the price. The extra wasabi and soy sauce turned out handy for my Fish and Chips.
I went for the extra few dollars to upgrade to the Halibut ($12 vs. $9) and it was extremely fluffy and moist. The panko breading.. I honestly could go either way while I also never been a big fan of shoestring potatoes truth be told. It was nice occasionally dipping the fried fish into shoyu while I also mixed some wasabi into the tartar sauce for a nice wasabi-mayo like dip. I regret now not taking a pic of the kicked up light green concoction.
So while my favorite Fish and Chips spot will still remain Shakespeare Pub (despite their limp chips) I definitely look forward in trying out more of BPFC's menu in the future.
Bay Park Fish Co., 4121 Ashton Street San Diego, CA 92110
The Fisherman's Restaurant in San Clemente I mentioned in my last Cioppino post..
I made it a CSI style game and figured out the delicious looking mystery cioppino photo on the wiki page was from here. What the bird's eye view photo of the bowl didn't reveal though was that the volume ran down about three four inches! This is A Lot Of Food for one person.
My favorite part of TFR's version was that it included scallops. HUGE diver scallops and there were like four of them. Others in this kitchen sink of a seafood dish were the usual but of equally large shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, fish and crab.
Very good but there were a few hiccups that could've elevated the bowl to very great. The linguine which the cioppino came with were overcooked but most important I thought the stew could've used more reduction. As a result all the flavors of the fresh seafood though great were diluted. On top my particular bowl seemed to be missing some of the beautiful glisten of basil rich olive oil (from I would guess pesto) that Kelly Sue's photo was blessed with.
So as it stands for me Sotto Mare's is still unmatched but this was much better than Cioppino On The Wharf's. The bargain $21.25 price during lunch hour of TFR's which includes a loaf of sourdough and also choice of salad or a cup of their clam chowder still makes it very attractive.
I jumped to the cioppino but the chowder I had before was pretty good too.
Very smooth creamy and lots of fresh clam flavor.
..a few potatoes and celery. Sprinkle of fresh parsley. No need to complicate things here. :)
Btw, I reheated the leftover cioppino tonight with a small slab of butter and it tasted great!
The Fisherman's Restaurant (San Clemente Pier), 611 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, CA 92672
Finding parking at the pier was a pain-in-the-you-know-what and at the time it was to the point to make me think twice but all was worth it. The great weather this weekend sure didn't hurt things either.
So I don't know where I'll be having my next cioppino. Hopefully someplace local, I need to do more research. But I'm hooked. A cioppino is like a jewelry box filled with edible gems of the sea... smothered in a pasta complementing flavorful tomato stew. ;)
Making my own one of these days is definitely something I look forward in doing but in the meantime I think I may try ordering a bucket from Phil's online. I might as well maybe then go all the way and make it a shelled lazyman's version haha.. :)