The Gossiping Gourmet: Portions satisfy at Wildfish

April 18, 2012|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • Oysters at Wildfish Seafood Grille.
Oysters at Wildfish Seafood Grille. (Wildfish Seafood…)

There's a new chef at Wildfish, Keith Stich, but the scene is still wild and the menu is still all about fish. It's a rare visit when the bar isn't buzzin', yet the restaurant continues to serve serious food.

The dramatic, ultra-modern décor is accented with theatrical lighting. The bar area is the focal point of the imposing space with a huge, abstract, whale backbone sculpture floating above it.

The rest of the very attractive, large room is broken up into cozier dining areas. There is also a lushly planted outdoor patio area with its own bar and two fire pits.

We happily pondered our options while sitting in a comfortable leather booth, munching on the very best sourdough bread we've ever encountered. It has a crunchy crust and a dense, complexly flavored interior. The size of the portions and the prices led us to share one selection for each course.


Our very pleasant and accommodating waitress amiably offered to have the dishes split in the kitchen at no charge. At this point, let us mention that all the service, from the hostess to the busboy, was attentive and gracious.

Tasty, thin soba noodles provided a bed for sesame-crusted seared ahi. This appetizer portion could easily have passed for an entrée.

The noodles were tossed in a simple sauce of oil and soy with a bit of vinegar and sugar. Daikon radish sprouts and a dollop of wasabi that we stirred into the dish gave it the liveliness it needed. Although the sliced fish was clearly high quality and very tender, it somehow lacked depth of flavor.

A nice appetizer for sharing is the chilled shellfish tower with eight shrimp, four crab claws and eight oysters. Charred steak "tartare" is designed to please the meat lovers in your party. Wildfish's take on this classic is to sear and thinly slice the steak and serve it with onion, horseradish and Tabasco-caper vinaigrette.

Meat lovers will also be more than happy with the choice of four center cuts of aged, grain-fed beef. Outstanding among these is the 22-ounce bone-in rib eye that overlaps the entire plate on which it is served. This is one humongous hunk of protein.

Fresh Maine lobster appears in tacos with house-made tortillas and roasted corn pico de gallo or in rich lobster bisque with brandy and cream.

Huntington Beach Independent Articles Huntington Beach Independent Articles