A pair of fried lobster-tail tacos topped by lettuce, tomato, onion, a dusting of cotija, and a sweet-chile aioli
  • A pair of fried lobster-tail tacos topped by lettuce, tomato, onion, a dusting of cotija, and a sweet-chile aioli
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I don’t usually order tacos outside of a Mexican restaurant. In San Diego that means I’m skipping a lot of tacos — everywhere from Jack in the Box to George’s by the Cove. At this point it’s almost more difficult to think of a gastropub, bistro, burger spot, or “American (New)” eatery in this city that doesn’t serve tacos.

I specifically go to non-Mexican restaurants because I’m trying to avoid eating more than half of my meals out of a tortilla. When a taco is the only Mexican dish on a menu, I see no good reason to order it.

608 is new and named for the address at 608 Mission Avenue

608 is new and named for the address at 608 Mission Avenue

Unless it’s lobster, apparently. That’s what I found at 608, a restaurant that opened about a year ago at 608 Mission Avenue in Oceanside. No one can accuse 608 of not giving the people what they want. Its menu features come-hither dishes such as short rib, fried chicken, and a dry-aged beef burger. Before you even factor in shellfish, it’s tough choosing.

Between lunch and dinner menus, 608 offers lobster cooked various ways: poached, mixed into a grilled-cheese sandwich, or batter-fried in corn tortillas. For $13 I got the latter: a pair of fried lobster-tail tacos topped by lettuce, tomato, onion, a dusting of cotija, and a sweet-chile aioli.

608

608 Mission Avenue, Oceanside

(No longer in business.)

Lettuce, tomato, and aioli aren’t exactly common in San Diego taco shops, carts, or trucks — although they do approximate what makes Taco Bell tacos “supreme.” I’m not so taco snobbish that I can’t get down with the lettuce and tomato, but I did find this aioli to be too sweet. There wasn’t nearly enough of the promised chile flavor to balance it out, let alone give a taco the heat I desire. Factor in a couple of unremarkable tortillas, and these didn’t impress me much as tacos.

I did enjoy the Canadian lobster itself, which tasted clean and mildly sweet. The crisp stout-beer batter didn’t do anything to overpower the subtle lobster flavor, and inside the fried crusts the tails were firm, plump, and juicy.

Bottom line, I don’t recommend that anyone skip an opportunity to eat fried lobster. While most taco dishes on non-taco menus feel tacked on by restaurateurs that imagine that making good tacos is easy, these come off as a more creative effort by a chef prone to exploring the possibilities of the dish. Since the 608 menu is set up to encourage sharing of multiple small plates, I look forward to going back for an unlikely meal of lobster tacos, short-rib cheesesteak, and a burrata salad.

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Comments

dwbat July 13, 2017 @ 8:06 p.m.

"It wasn't a rock. It was a rock lobster."

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