During the winter’s slow perioid, The Fish Hopper was advertising every-day locals specials priced at $14.95 for three-courses and Sunday-Thursday $19.95 for two-course lobster and/or prime rib combos. “jaweino” recommended the lobster to me. The deal was supposed to expire in February, but so far the restaurant has renewed it each month. In a recent website update, the menu linked here now says that proof of Monterey County is required.
My mother and I have tried it twice. The first time in March and then again in April. We hadn’t eaten on Cannery Row for ages. The locals menu isn’t offered automatically, you need to ask for it.
Bar art –
We’ve sat in the main dining room and on a warm day, out on the deck. Here’s what the bay views look like from each vantage point.
The Fish Hopper hands out free samples of clam chowder at the entrance to passersby. I liked it well enough to pick a cup of chowder as my first course. Lightly thickened with a clean, sweet clam flavor, not the best, but good enough. The other choice is a green salad with choice of dressing.
Clam chowder -
Mom ordered the sanddabs both times. Our first lunch, this entrée was quite impressive. Three sizeable filets and an overstuffed prawn arranged nicely on a mound of tasty garlic mashed potatoes and some fresh sautéed vegetables.
Sanddabs and crab-stuffed prawns, original
On our second visit, the same entrée was a much smaller portion and the prawn was overcooked.
Sanddabs and crab-stuffed prawns, take 2 -
I’ve had the artichoke ravioli and rock shrimp. I liked the fresh vegetables tossed with the filled pasta, but the sauce had a processed taste and was too salty. The pasta was too gummy. I wouldn’t order this again.
Artichoke ravioli and rock shrimp -
Our next visit I sprange for the prime rib and ½ lobster for $19.95. The prime rib was reheated in jus and tasted better than its presentation. It was medium-rare under that brown exterior. The steamed lobster was freshly cooked and sweet. I did need to ask for drawn butter, but it was quickly brought to the table. The plate also included mashed potatoes and some string beans. While the prime rib was quite tender, I think I’d go for the whole lobster for the same money next time instead of surf and turf.
Prime rib and ½ lobster -
With the $14.95 deals, the dessert choices were key lime pie or NY-style cheesecake. We’ve tried both and I prefer the key lime pie. Both were garnished with copious amounts of fresh whipped cream, a sticky sauce, and some fresh berries. The cheesecake had a grainy texture and was too sweet. The key lime pie was the classic recipe and straightforward. Our second visit I ordered the two-course meal, as one dessert is plenty for two people to share. I also asked for it without the sticky green sauce, which was an improvement. Eliminating the cinnamon dusted on the plate would also be progress.
We got good value for our money here, the views are pleasing, and the service is friendly and efficient. Yet, there’s nothing really compelling unless you’re visiting the Aquarium or need to be in the Cannery Row area. In that case, this might be the value leader on the water. We’ll make the rounds of the other locals deals before returning.
700 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940