Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Escape into Liquid
Escape Fish Bar is a newbie in the Gaslamp, at 758 5th Ave., 619-702-9200. It was founded by a San Diego surfer. (Or maybe two of them. Their press releases uses "we.") On a family trip to Puget Sound, he or they ate great fish at Red Fish Blue Fish on a pier in the harbor of Victoria, B.C., and decided to start a seafood restaurant and temporarily steal the chef to develop the menu, influenced by the flavors of the Pacific Northwest, Central America, and Asia.
Among the starter temptations are panko shrimp corn rice cakes, buttermilk-sambal calamari, tempura pickles, chipotle coconut milk seafood chowder, and (not very maritime) a quartet of deviled eggs. Main courses include grilled or tempura- fried fish, fish sandwiches, pizzas, burgers. The house special is "Tacones," Japanese-style seafood tacos with a host of unusual garnishes.
Prices on entrees range from $8 to $15, depending mainly on which fish you order (and they're nearly all finfish, with a few excursions into shrimp), with pollock at the low end, local halibut at the top.