A bit of Boston in our backyardEat This!, Latest Issue Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
Pete’s Seafood and Sandwiches is an unpretentious diner serving great food in North Park. Owner Peter DeCoste, with 30 years’ experience operating seafood restaurants in Boston, decided it was time to “bring those flavors to San Diego” and opened his casual eatery 18 months ago. Good for us he did.
There are two dining areas in the renovated space with white walls, contrasting exposed black-hued HVAC, light-colored wood tables, chairs and stools. A small bar and a semi-open kitchen dominate one wall. Large windows afford a view of 30th Street. Patio seating is available on the sidewalk.
Christopher, tall and friendly, stood behind the counter and answered questions forthrightly. He informed me the day’s special was tacos and chicken tenders. I inquired what’s good, and he told me people come there “just for the lobster roll and a cup of chowder”.
The menu features appetizers like spicy wings, crispy fried mushrooms and pickles, fresh salads, seafood baskets and sandwiches. They also serve up East Coast-style sandwiches made with cold Italian deli meat, or hot chicken cutlet or meatballs with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese on a roll. I had done my research and already knew what I was going to order. The Lobster Taco ($8), Lobster Roll ($18) and a frosty pint of Anchor California lager ($6) were calling my name. I told Christopher I was in no hurry and he agreed to pace the meal; there’s nothing worse than being rushed on a lazy sunny afternoon.
Brewed in San Francisco, Anchor Steam’s light-bodied honey-colored pale lager, 4.9 percent alcohol by volume, is a well-balanced quality pour. Malt and grain greet the tongue then yield to a biscuity sweetness before finishing smoothly with floral hints and a mild hoppy bitterness. Crisp, straightforward and extremely drinkable; the perfect pairing for what was to come.
The lobster taco is a warm soft-shelled flour tortilla filled with succulent lightly breaded and fried lobster meat served with crunchy sweet niblet corn relish and a drizzle of chipotle crema. There’s plenty of tasty marine crustacean in every bite. A little sweet, a little smokey and a whole lot of amazing! A word of caution about the homemade salsa on the side – it’s muy caliente. I’m glad I tasted it before pouring it over the taco; the excessive heat would have destroyed my palate.
The lobster roll is a grilled buttery-sweet hotdog bun overflowing with more than 1/4 pound of chilled lobster; large chunks of knuckle and claw meat dressed with the merest suggestion of mayonnaise with cracked black pepper and nothing else. So simple but so delicious. Some would argue it’s not the lobster but the bun that makes the roll, and DeCoste has them shipped in from back East to assure authenticity. “We couldn’t find the right bread locally,” Christopher explained. Oh, and the lobster is delivered from Maine, too. Seriously, you need to put this in your mouth.
With most items under $10, there’s no doubt I’ll return to dive deeper into the menu. My taste buds are intrigued by the clam chowder and lobster bisque (served on Mondays only), the mango chipotle wings, the house salad with crab and the artichoke and roasted red pepper sandwich.
Pete’s Seafood and Sandwiches is a bit of Boston in our backyard and they’re open seven days a week. Eat this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.
Pete’s Seafood and Sandwiches
3382 30th Street
Sun-Thu: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
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