I had never been to Walt's Wharf in Seal Beach until Saturday night when 15 of us from the "Kitchen Club" (foodie group) descended upon it.
Although Walt's doesn't take reservations, they were very accommodating when we called ahead with party size, which can be a problem in our bimonthly crawl. After all 15 arrived we checked in and were promptly seated. They must have sensed this a rowdy group as they gave us a partition from the rest of the dining room.
We started with a quesadilla with a chipotle sauce and grilled artichokes, which were very good.
Walt's has some interesting preparation techniques to their extensive fish selection. I opted for a macadamia encrusted halibut with a mango salsa. The fish was very fresh and cooked right, however, the "crust" was more of a dusting and lacking in adding much to the dish in flavor, crust or crunch. The salsa was good and not too overpowering, the rice was above average and the asparagus was a bit too wilted for my tastes, but still good.
A few others had a caramelized king salmon with an orange shoyu glaze and raved about it. Even more of a hit was the steamed mussels and clams in a wine butter broth. Those that opted for the mussels said they lacked the "odd taste" that older shellfish can sometimes have and raved about the clean taste and amazing broth, using the great sour dough at the table to dip into it.
.Then came dessert.
We ordered three desserts and passed them around one of the tables. One was an oak grilled pound cake with a fresh whipped cream and fruit. It was very good but the last consumed.
The next dessert was a cheesecake with fresh whipped. This was the second dessert to die in the rotation, as the cake was light and very good, not overly rich or dense.
The first to die in the rotation, and the one you had to dope slap your friends to get them to pass, was the oak grilled banana split with fresh vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. The ice cream was great and their chocolate sauce was richly superb.
The wine selection was average sized, and featured Walt's vineyard, Babcock.
Good food and very fresh fish. Exceptional? Not really, but good quality seafood at a moderate price.
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