Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Seasurf Fish Co. shows the cost of affordable seafood

Farmed fish comes off lackluster in a city rich with fish markets

Spicy soy ginger glazed barramundi
Spicy soy ginger glazed barramundi

San Diego has trained me well. When I see the words “fresh fish market” associated with a restaurant, I imagine glass counters that contain glistening fresh filets tempting customers toward one seasonal catch or another. Anyway, that’s the image that flashed across my mind upon seeing these words, backlit in red neon, on the wall of Seasurf Fish Co., a fast casual seafood spot that sits in a Del Mar Heights shopping center, not far from the freeway.

Place

Seasurf Fish Co.

2650 Del Mar Heights Rd #300, Del Mar

The last several fish market restaurants I visited, I encountered fresh catch selections including the likes of halibut, swordfish, striped bass, and opah. As often as not, these desirable fish have been local; that’s just how blessed we are as a waterfront city. But I quickly discovered Seasurf Fish Co. is not this sort of fish market restaurant. Here, the fish filets are kept in the kitchen, and the only things on display within the restaurant’s glass counter were pokes, ceviches, and oysters.

A dozen oysters, including Baja raised Kumiai

Seasurf is the San Diego extension of a Los Angeles family of restaurants called Seasalt Fish Grill. The business dubs itself “the ocean’s alternative to fast food,” with a stated objective is to serve affordable seafood in a casual setting. Even in an upscale neighborhood such as this, it appears to have done so. Nothing on the menu tops $15, with the exception of a dozen oysters, which stand at a reasonable $28. Sandwiches and protein bowls run about 12 bucks, and grilled fish plates start at $8.99.

Tikka masala tacos with Atlantic salmon

That would be the white fish basa, a freshwater catfish native to southeast Asia alternately known as swai, but best known for being just that: affordable. I’m not a fan, so I skipped up to a better tier of fish at $13.99: the barramundi. It’s another relatively affordable white fish farmed on the opposite side of the world, though I tend to like it a lot better than the catfish.

Not really a fish market restaurant

I do give Seasurf credit. It’s not like the place tries to obfuscate the fish it serves. It labels its salmon Atlantic Salmon, always a mark of farm-raised fish. It doesn’t pretend that basa is cod, as restaurants have been known to do. Nor does it market its barramundi as Australian seabass, though this farm-raised fish does bear enough resemblance to get that name even on cardstock menus. I ordered my barramundi charbroiled with a spicy soy ginger glaze. Served with rice and sautéed vegetables, it sat firmly between decent and unremarkable.

That’s the tradeoff here. Aquafarms may one day become our last seafood hope, but for now too many of them provide cheap fish meat that’s too bland to get excited about, as evidenced by a listless ahi tuna poke salad and a tikka masala salmon taco loaded with enough vegetables and spice to obscure the fish. Seasurf’s menu has its moments — its best showing may be kumiai oysters from Baja, which backs up the restaurant’s claim to be, “committed to locally sourcing the freshest fish and produce whenever possible.” But reliance on costcutting fish is its Achilles heel. It’s tough to source fish locally in San Diego when your menu calls for basa, barramundi, and salmon.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Wall of Moms MAGA?

Non-profit expands efforts to include stopping flow of drugs to kids
Spicy soy ginger glazed barramundi
Spicy soy ginger glazed barramundi

San Diego has trained me well. When I see the words “fresh fish market” associated with a restaurant, I imagine glass counters that contain glistening fresh filets tempting customers toward one seasonal catch or another. Anyway, that’s the image that flashed across my mind upon seeing these words, backlit in red neon, on the wall of Seasurf Fish Co., a fast casual seafood spot that sits in a Del Mar Heights shopping center, not far from the freeway.

Place

Seasurf Fish Co.

2650 Del Mar Heights Rd #300, Del Mar

The last several fish market restaurants I visited, I encountered fresh catch selections including the likes of halibut, swordfish, striped bass, and opah. As often as not, these desirable fish have been local; that’s just how blessed we are as a waterfront city. But I quickly discovered Seasurf Fish Co. is not this sort of fish market restaurant. Here, the fish filets are kept in the kitchen, and the only things on display within the restaurant’s glass counter were pokes, ceviches, and oysters.

A dozen oysters, including Baja raised Kumiai

Seasurf is the San Diego extension of a Los Angeles family of restaurants called Seasalt Fish Grill. The business dubs itself “the ocean’s alternative to fast food,” with a stated objective is to serve affordable seafood in a casual setting. Even in an upscale neighborhood such as this, it appears to have done so. Nothing on the menu tops $15, with the exception of a dozen oysters, which stand at a reasonable $28. Sandwiches and protein bowls run about 12 bucks, and grilled fish plates start at $8.99.

Tikka masala tacos with Atlantic salmon

That would be the white fish basa, a freshwater catfish native to southeast Asia alternately known as swai, but best known for being just that: affordable. I’m not a fan, so I skipped up to a better tier of fish at $13.99: the barramundi. It’s another relatively affordable white fish farmed on the opposite side of the world, though I tend to like it a lot better than the catfish.

Not really a fish market restaurant

I do give Seasurf credit. It’s not like the place tries to obfuscate the fish it serves. It labels its salmon Atlantic Salmon, always a mark of farm-raised fish. It doesn’t pretend that basa is cod, as restaurants have been known to do. Nor does it market its barramundi as Australian seabass, though this farm-raised fish does bear enough resemblance to get that name even on cardstock menus. I ordered my barramundi charbroiled with a spicy soy ginger glaze. Served with rice and sautéed vegetables, it sat firmly between decent and unremarkable.

That’s the tradeoff here. Aquafarms may one day become our last seafood hope, but for now too many of them provide cheap fish meat that’s too bland to get excited about, as evidenced by a listless ahi tuna poke salad and a tikka masala salmon taco loaded with enough vegetables and spice to obscure the fish. Seasurf’s menu has its moments — its best showing may be kumiai oysters from Baja, which backs up the restaurant’s claim to be, “committed to locally sourcing the freshest fish and produce whenever possible.” But reliance on costcutting fish is its Achilles heel. It’s tough to source fish locally in San Diego when your menu calls for basa, barramundi, and salmon.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

More palm greasers’ help wanted

Tom Sudberry, Peter Cooper give to Barbara Bry
Next Article

“Medicine Show” webcast showcases Mrs. Henry’s puppeteering

Friends from Earthless, The Blank Tapes, Howlin Rain, Warish, and others join in the fun
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close