Batter-fried rockfish taco
  • Batter-fried rockfish taco
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When I ask the owner and chef why his fish and chips feature rockfish instead of cod, I appreciate the answer. It’s easy to get, locally.

That would be Adrian, of Adrian’s Surf n’ Turf Grill, a little counter grill on the eastern outskirts of Kearny Mesa, near National University. Everything on the menu isn’t sourced locally, and the rockfish didn’t come straight off a San Diego fishing boat or anything, but it’s from somewhere within a couple hundred miles, and can I appreciate the effort.

A pile of grilled ribeye with melted cheese on a corn tortilla

A pile of grilled ribeye with melted cheese on a corn tortilla

Rockfish makes a decent cod alternative. It’s common on the Pacific coast, a flaky white fish similar enough that it’s sometime labeled as rock cod. A number of San Diego fishing boats catch plenty of it, so in theory, we could be used to seeing it more often in restaurants. I suspect many that do serve it call it something else, like haddock or red snapper.

Adrian’s batter crisps beautifully, and the medium tender fish within had a mild flavor maybe the tiniest bit oilier than cod. It’s served with tartar sauce or chipotle mayo. I’d planned on grabbing the $13.50 rockfish and chips when I walked through the door, but after scoping a couple of ribeye dishes on the menu, I decided to complete the rhyme, and add a little turf to my surf.

So I switched to tacos. One beer battered rockfish taco at $4.50, and one grilled ribeye for $6.

Flaky and white rockfish will do when there's no cod nearby.

Flaky and white rockfish will do when there's no cod nearby.

I always get a little nervous about the corn tortillas at restaurants that don’t exclusively serve Mexican food, but these seem to have been made recently, and contributed enough nutty masa flavor to earn a thumbs up.

Along with the strips of ribeye, the taco had a grated mix of cheddar and jack cheeses. I preferred it the with arbol chili salsa option versus horseradish cream, but either way if you feed me a decent pile of charred ribeye with melted cheese, I’m probably going to have nice things to say about it.

Consider Adrain’s a place to keep it in mind next time you’re in the area fixing a traffic ticket or something, and find yourself on the lookout a small, independently owned restaurant to support.

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