Fish Public lures in seafood fanatics

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
Restaurants come and go throughout San Diego’s foodie scene in a fashion that makes one reminiscent of Oz, but while Kensington Grill and its tater tots are surely missed by their fans, its successor is softening the blow of its absence.
Occupying the same space where Kensington Grill once lived, Fish Public – located in Kensington at 4055 Adams Ave. – is one of the newest additions to the Urban Kitchen Group.
Fishing lures adorn the off-white walls and the lampshades that hang over the communal tables are akin to upside-down baskets, giving diners the sense of being in a boathouse on Cape Cod. Aside from the large communal tables, there are also plenty of small individual tables, outdoor seating and spots at the bar, part of which peers into the inner workings of Fish Public’s kitchen.
Between the interesting flavor profiles and fun drink names on their cocktail menu – such as the Apple Bottom Ginger, #Hookedup, OMG! and Frenemy – the inner debate between choosing your starter cocktail will be a difficult one to win. Take comfort in the fact, however, that you simply cannot lose when picking one of their signature drinks.
Both earthy and sweet, the Drop the Beet martini – made with beet juice, gin, black pepper and lemon juice – is a perfect gateway drink for those opposed to the typical pine tree flavor of gin.
For something ever-so-slightly more traditional, the My Clementine might be the right choice for you. Made with rum, basil simple syrup, lime and clementine juice, the bright flavor of this summery drink will perk up your taste buds and have you singing western folk ballads for the rest of the night.
Fish Public’s grilled octopus small plate is not nearly as intimidating in texture as the octopus-virgin might think. The charred octopus has a crispy texture at first bite before letting way to the tender meat inside. Served atop a bed of arugula, shallots and pepper almond relish, this plate is beautifully designed with both flavor and appearance in mind.
As for the rest of the starter items, the calamari – served atop a small cabbage salad – is simple and fried to perfection (neither rubbery nor undercooked), but the stars of the appetizer offerings are the cod tots.
Starting with a base of creamy mashed potatoes, the flaky cod is incorporated in before being breaded and fried. Though one’s first thought might be that cod is generally a “fishy” fish, once you bite in all you can think of is how well-balanced the flavor truly is, especially when you dip them in the delightful dill cream sauce.
For something a little lighter, try the roasted beet salad with whipped goat cheese, pickled carrots and orange vinaigrette. As delicious as the beets in the salad are, this dish is worth getting for the whipped goat cheese alone, which goes surprisingly well on just about everything else on the menu.
After clambering your way out of the ridiculously delicious starter menu, it’s time to meander into the main course of your meal – and there are plenty of options hailing from both the land and sea to choose from.
A staple at many a seafood restaurant, the fish and chips are a great option for dinner at Fish Public. Uncomplicated by competing flavors and novel concepts, the seasoned fries are topped with the fried market fish of the day.
Normally the southern-inspired delicacy of shrimp and grits would be a safe choice to go for, but unfortunately this dish is not on par with the rest of the menu. The smoky Andouille sausage sauce overpowers the flavor of the shrimp and the grits err on the side of being too creamy.
Worry not, for the entrée menu features plenty of other delicious items to be devoured with little to no discretion, such as the sinfully tempting roasted beef short ribs. Served with a shaved root vegetable salad and creamy sumac dressing, the beef in this dish is unbelievably tender.
Neither too mushy nor too dry (two of the biggest complaints upon trying subpar bread pudding), the banana chocolate chip bread pudding at Fish Public will make you weak in the knees. Served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and a peanut butter crème anglaise worthy of bathing in, you cannot pass up the opportunity to indulge in this dessert.

This article was originally published by the National University Herald on Jan. 28, 2014.


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