A unique seafood experience in HillcrestEat This! Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Mark Hunter always dreamed of opening his own fish market. He spent a lot of time at Point Loma Seafood while he was a deep sea diving instructor, but wanted to “step it up a notch.” His dreams came true when he partnered with Executive Chef Vincenzo Loverso and opened Fresh Catch Fish Market & Grill, a casual restaurant in Hillcrest. Loverso has a great pedigree and operates other restaurants including the Gaslamp’s Osteria Panevino, Osetra Fishhouse, Water Grill and Greystone.
Located in the Atlas building near the corner of Pennsylvania and Fifth Avenue, the former Origano site has been updated with new seafaring décor – fish nets, large aquatic themed art and photos hang on the walls. A gleaming display case filled with fresh seafood greets guests as they enter the high-ceilinged brightly lit dining room. Whole groupers, red snappers and king salmon are nestled on a bed of ice, available for purchase.
Tiger, his broad chest and thick tattooed biceps straining the seams of his blingy T-shirt, and I visited Fresh Catch one recent summer night and were seated at a long table on the patio. Preston, our dedicated and well-versed server, walked us through the menu and pointed out his favorites. He explained the seafood selections can be served either as a sandwich, salad or plate. Sandwiches are served panini-style on bread from Sadie Rose with organic greens, tomatoes and red onion slices. Salads are served with your choice of dressings, and the plates come with grilled vegetables and brown or white rice.
Appetizers include oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail and fried calamari. I ordered the ceviche as a starter, and Tiger selected the guacamole. The ceviche ($6.50) is a delicate blend of chopped Mexican white shrimp mixed with fresh diced tomatoes, onions, parsley and cilantro, and has a sublime citrus flavor. The chilled appetizer is served with mixed greens, homemade tortilla chips and slices of crunchy cucumber. The guacamole ($6.50) is thick and chunky with a nutty sweet flavor that could have used just a pinch of salt.
We had a few minutes to sip our beers, chat and people watch before our entrées arrived. The house specialties include Crab Mac n Cheese, Sautéed Mussels and Sashimi, but Tiger chose the Grilled Salmon Plate ($19.95) and I opted for the Red Snapper ($18.95). The tender snapper has a good crunch from the grill and is delicately seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper. The tender, perfectly charred six ounce salmon portion flaked apart easily. Tiger selected the farm raised variety as opposed to the wild Atlantic option, and the flavor was very mild. Fluffy brown rice and grilled vegetables, a colorful medley of zucchini, carrots, red peppers and Bermuda onions accompanied the dish. The selections were delicious and well prepared but slightly overpriced for the serving size.
Fresh Catch Fish Market & Grill is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner service. They also offer a weekend brunch menu. Reservations are not taken and seating is first come first served.
Thanks to Mark Hunter’s vision, diners do not have to travel far to satisfy their urge for fresh seafood. Eat this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.
Fresh Catch Fish Market & Grill
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=62517