I phoned The Fishery in Pacific Beach this afternoon to see if their renovations were anywhere near done, and if perhaps they had an opening date yet, and it turned out they reopened last Thursday night. Sooo, we decided to go there for lunch.
I have to confess I was worried. I was afraid I'd find white tablecloths and chandeliers and doubled prices. No way. They've pretty much kept the original character of the place, though according to the waitress, they've added 31 seats. Most of that came by shortening the fish market display cases (by a lot, actually), and opening up the north end a little more. They've also added a small bar (beer and wine) with six or eight stools. Still, it looked and felt pretty much like the same old place.
We got there kind of late for lunch, and for a variety of reasons, we decided to keep the lunch kind of simple. Much of the menu looked the same. I did recognize a number of the dishes, but it *seemed* a bit shorter. The wine list has been refreshed, and there are some good affordable selections. Entrees can be steep in price, but the most expensive dishes are made with some very expensive ingredients.
Anyway, we had the mussels appetizer (yummy as always), and for our lunch we had two varieties of fish and chips -- taste test. I ordered the "Market Catch and Chips" with the scary "AQ" instead of a price. Di ordered the "Halibut and Chips" for $20 (I know, but have you shopped for halibut lately?). Both turned out to be pretty good, but my generic Market Catch was MUCH better. I guess I knew it would be, since halibut, with its firm flesh and very mild flavor wouldn't be my first choice for a fish&Chips treatment. The Market Catch (which turned out to be snapper) was very, very good.
The star of the show, though, was dessert. We shared a bowl of fresh (Crows Something farms) strawberries with a balsamic reduction over a hefty scoop of vanilla gelato. It was by far the best example of the berries-and-balsamic thing I've ever tasted. The berries had been warmed, and I don't know what kind of vinegar that was, but I'll vouch that it didn't come from the middle shelf at Vons. If they have it when you visit, don't miss it.
As it turned out, the AQ fish and chips were $9, so I guess that'd qualify as a Consumer Reports "Best Buy." In all, a very satisfying lunch to welcome back an old friend.
. . . jim strain in san diego.