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Fish. and fish tacos in Sausalito

nja | May 12, 200403:42 PM

On Tuesday afternoon, my gaggle of visitors wanted a Ferry ride. Too late for Angel Island, we decided to head over the Sausalito for some shopping, relaxing, and lunch.

Having read about Fish. here, I decided it would be the perfect time to try it. With vague directions from the chamber of commerce booth we set off. It took several tries to get through to the restaurant (first no cell signal, then no listing in directory assistance, then busy signals once I found the number in a local weekly paper). Much to my dismay, I learned they are not open for lunch on Monday and Tuesday. I learned that and much more about the challenges of a new restaurant during my long conversation with the man who answered the phone, who turned out to be Chef Chad. So I have no report of the food or drink, but I can say that Fish. is run by a super nice guy and I can't wait to get back over there.

On about the second busy signal we had passed Sausalito Taco Shop. Nobody could resist the shady patio and Mexican beers on this particular day. Overall impression: decent to mediocre; nothing to go out of your way for.

A $5 starter of chips and guacamole was a mixed bag. The chips were good, fresh fried and thick. The guac was undersalted (a common theme) and came in an incredibly small portion. All three salsa were mild: pico de gallo, a blended rojo with tomato and green chiles, and a tomatillo and green chile. On the plus side, they have a wall of 300+ bottled hot sauces available for us. We entertained ourselves by seeing who could eat the most Dave's Ultimate Insanity, but I settled upon a habanero and garlic salsa made in the Yucatan that provided a nice boost to most of the food.

I tried three tacos, all on a single steamed, six inch, factory-made, tastless corn tortillas. The day-glo orange "cochinita" (pibil, presumably) was extremely mushy and not flavorful. The carne asada, with chopped onion and cilantro, had a fair amount of beef flavor but was obviously not prepared fresh and was a bit tough. The fish taco was a large slab of exceptionally fresh but sadly undersalted mahi mahi covered in a light, tempura-like batter. Fresh shredded cabbage and carrots, along with some of that yucatecan salsa and a squeeze of the delicous fresh crema from the bottle on each table, made a pretty enjoyable taco. If they had just salted the fish before battering and used a better tortilla, this could have been something really fantastic. The Angelinos at the table asked how these rated among SF fish tacos: better than Baja Fresh and Rubios, and while the fish itself was better at Sausalito, the preparation and other ingredients at Nick's Crispy Tacos puts them on top.

The other items around the table--such as a tostada and taquito platter--were made according to the "everything should like like a taco salad" philosophy. I heard neither complaints nor raves. The beans are vegan: well cooked to yield a great creamy texture but predictably lacking several dimensions of savory flavor.

Quick and friendly service. Cold beers. Nice location and view. Great collection of bottled hot sauces available for experimentation. A little bit of salt and a good tortilla would have made this something special. Oh, what if.

-Nick (a.k. on this particular day a. "Mitch")


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