1403 Scott Street, Point Loma
Having realized my dog enjoys scoping waterfowl while I eat, I head over to the Shelter Island area to try out the deck at Mitch's Seafood. The place sits right on top of America's Cup Harbor, home to fishing boats galore. Seagulls rove here like streetgangs, scavenging bait drum spillage and picking off any errant French fries that happen to slip from the fingers of restaurant patrons.
Any that get past the dogs, that is. It's been awhile since I've seen so many dogs on a patio. Normally, I'd enjoy it, but as dog-friendly as the establishment is, this deck doesn't leave a lot of room for animals. The narrow passage between bistro tables and bar stools takes you through a gauntlet of leashed dogs — we managed this time, at least, without anybody growling.
The bar stools are definitely the best dining option. They seat you at a counter running along the deck rail, so you can stare at boats and skyline while your dog stares at the gulls and savors the briny air. You'll want to sit in the covered section because it's never wise to eat in the open where seagulls congregate (and defecate).
Mitch's dishes fresh and local seafood about a field goal's length from the similarly deemed Point Loma Seafoods, hallowed for its delicious yet Spartan sandwiches of breaded (not battered) fish and tartar sauce on sourdough. I hoped Mitch went with a different approach, so I ordered a beer-battered fish sandwich to find out.
It's cod. Not a problem, but with grilled fish your choices may include tuna, yellowtail and opah. Or, you can opt for crab cake. Pretty much all of them may be had on a sandwich, in tacos, or on a plate.
My friend got a trio of tacos: two shrimp and a halibut. His only expressed regret that he could have better appreciated the freshness and flavor of the fish without the salsa, white sauce and tortilla. Next time he'll get a plate.
My sandwich was solid. The fish was well-fried, crispy, and flaky. The grilled telera bread added to the texture, and the inclusion of ripe tomato and lettuce further distinguished this sandwich from those served next door. It may lack the distinctive character of being a no-frills vessel for fish, but Mitch's approach to the fish sandwich succeeds all the way around. I look forward to trying a grilled halibut sometime.
I'm not sure I'll bring the dog back, though she'd certainly be on board if I do. Those gulls aren't going anywhere, and that's just the way she likes it.