Went to dinner at Catch in the Castro last night. First thought: prices seemed considerably steeper than when they opened (circa 2001). Started with a seafood trio appetizer to share, consisting of (i) fried oysters with horseradish aioli, (ii) calamari salad with saffron tomato vinaigrette, and (iii) grilled prawn salad with mache and sunflower seeds ($11.50). This was excellent, and many other tables seemed to order it. Never had fried oysters before, and these were terrific. Two very large, lightly breaded, and full of flavor. There was way too much aioli on the ceramic fish-shaped plate for two oysters, even given their size. The prawn salad consisted of two grilled shrimp atop a bed of greens. Good, but fairly standard. The chilled calamari salad, though, was excellent and a great contrast to the other two parts of the dish. A good-sized mound of calamari rings tossed with a light, tangy tomato dressing. The plate was cleaned using the warm bread brought to the table upon request.
For entrees, I asked the server for his advice between the grilled mahi mahi with a wild mushroom white corn risotto ($17.75) or the monkfish with bacon chive mashers, asparagus and port fig reduction sauce ($18). He recommended the monkfish, explaining that it used to be a random special and each time they offered it, it sold out. So, I ordered the monkfish. The fish was lightly breaded and sautéed and the texture was perfect. No chewiness at all. Two smallish pieces were served on the potatoes with several well-grilled asparagus spears with a sweetish fig sauce surrounding it all. Very good. Friend had the chicken paillard with green beans, mashers and a sage mushroom marsala sauce. The thing they dont say on the menu is that theres a mound of mushrooms on top of it all. This was fine but Id never order it myself (we are in a seafood place, after all).
The service, well, the service was great from the kitchen, terrible from the bar. I think they need more than one bartender, as each seat at the bar was taken. We ordered our first drink right when we sat down, then ordered the appetizer 5 minutes later, they all came out at the same time. We decided then that we wouldn't be getting a bottle of wine like we'd planned. Before the entrees came, our server asked if wed like refills. We said yes, but the drinks arrived after our plates were cleared and we had finished. The server did apologize, explaining that he had to run upstairs to get more vodka (we actually saw a busboy run the errand), so we just considered them after-dinner drinks.
Bottom line, despite the service hiccups, it was a good meal. Limon will still be my seafood destination though for the time being.
2362 Market Street (between Noe & Castro)