Robert Bush 2:30 p.m., Sept. 17
Fried fish at Quivira Basin
If the website copy is any indicator, Sportsman's Seafood on Mission Bay is a creation of the Busalacchis, even though it's not listed on the Busalacchi Restaurant's website. If that's the case, it is unlike the other properties in the group and, had the website not name-dropped "grandfather Busalacchi," I would never have guessed.
Having the distinct advantage of being accessible by boat, Sportsman's occupies some prime real estate along Quivira Road by the bay. Marinas have a well-deserved reputation as some of the most expensive places around, but the restaurant is astonishingly cheap considering the surroundings. Sandwiches are $5-$7, served with fries, and fried seafood dinners are in the $6-$10 range. The humble dining room doesn't offer much for atmosphere, although the old-school look is charming in its way. The patio looks out over the bay, but there's a big sign that warns diners to protect their food from marauding seabirds.
Fried clams seemed a great deal under $7. Although they were clam "strips" (chopped up bits of hard-shell clam) instead of whole clams, they were plentiful. Fish and chips was a bit more expensive, but the fish was somewhat more genuine, being actual fillets of white fish, perhaps cod.
Sportsman's has cioppino soup, a San Francisco specialty, on the menu as well. It was salty and briny, without any big chunks of crab to lend its delicate flavor to the mix but with plenty of flaking fish. The soup wanted more bread than the limp dinner rolls that were served alongside.
At such a low price point, and with neighboring marina stores where six packs of beer go for $12, Sportsman's actually comes across as a bargain. The food is neither good nor bad, although it's made better by a day spent out on a boat with little in the way of sustenance. It's not worth a special trip, but for anyone in the immediate area it will do the trick without breaking the bank.
1617 Quivira Road
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