With Summer slowly creeping in and knowledge of an impending work weekend ahead, we took an extended lunch hour in Manhattan Beach yesterday. Beach community grub has been by definition of the greasy, deep fried and watery cole slaw version so when a friend recommended Rock 'N Fish where Manhattan Beach Blvd. meets the beach we were hopeful. At the very least, we could finish with a Peet's latte up the street.
With the generic rock/blues background music and the young, smiling surfer like crew, Rock 'N Fish more than fits the profile. We lucked out and scored one of two window tables that afford a great breeze as well as a view of the pier. Where we really got lucky, however, was with the food.
Warm, fresh, crusty sourdough bread arrived almost imediately and reminded us of Fisherman's Wharf (or Haye's St. Grill if you prefer). A small bowl of New England style Clam Chowder for $4.95 was big and big in flavor, clams, seasoning and vegetables. A friend had a piece of perfectly cooked King Salmon with fresh Asparagus for $15.95, another had an iron skillet of sweet and hot BBQ Shrimp with rice for $19.95 that was indeed very hot and satisfying. I had the Crab and Shrimp Louie for $15.95 with abundant seafood and a great Louie dressing. I'm not sure what distinguishes a Louie from Russian or Thousand Island dressing but this creamy and slightly spiced version reminded me of the one I first had with my family at the Bullock's Wilshire Tea Room or the old Coffee Shop at the Beverly Wishire Hotel.
The biggest surprise was the winelist which is definitely not standard beach community fare and we were very happy with a Navarro Chardonnay for $24 from Mendocino. Service was friendly and knowledgeable and, frankly, among the better we've had recently. We ended with a Banana's Foster type obscenity that was enough for three and found us acting much younger than our years. The walk up the hill to Peet's after was needed as much for the walk as the coffee.