I was a bit hesitant when I got an invitation to dine at a new San Diego transplant to the South Bay called Hermosa Beach Fish Shop. My mind immediately went to fast food fish tacos and I thought, LA has that category covered with Wahoos and Rubio's. Do we need another?
I do love fish so I thought it was at least worth a drive to check out what the Hermosa Beach Fish Shop was doing. Before even walking in, I stopped to read a board outside listing a dozen different fish, and I knew then, that this was not a fast food fish taco stand.
You choose your fish, and then have up to 7 different marinades from which to choose, all made in house, and opt to have your fish grilled or fried. And last but not least, you get to select where that fish lands - between a crisp bun, nestled in a flour or corn tortilla, or for the carb conscious, tossed with some lettuce and vegetables for a healthy salad, or just place it au naturel on a plate with a choice of two sides.
If those are way too many choices for you, then I would highly recommend one of their house specials - the TKO Taco or the Fish Shop Shrimp. Regardless of your ordering preference, you do need to get the TKO Taco, and not just because it was voted best fish taco in San Diego at a competition that pits mahi against mahi. I will say though that they were a winner for a reason. The grilled fish is well prepared on a corn tortilla with a nice touch of sweetness from the tropical fruit salsa, and then there's shredded cabbage for crunch and a mix of cheeses with a creamy, homemade white sauce to bind it all together. Go ahead and get the avocado addition as well. Mine was nicely ripe and a nice extra.
The Fish Shop Shrimp are also award winners in my book. They were well seasoned and slightly caramelized due to the addition of a little brown sugar in their home spice concoction. You won't be satisfied until you have this delicious flavor under each of your fingernails after dipping it into the chipotle aioli sauce.
In the sandwich department, the blackened swordfish delivers with a little heat, offset by the sweet crunch of pickled red onions and greens, along with the house tartar sauce. The bread is toasted and up to the challenge of holding all ingredients in tact.
If all of this fish is making you feel holier than thou, then grab an order of the onion rings. They're delivered hot and crisp, but extra airy due to their sly technique of using tempura batter to deliver the light poofy texture.
You can skip the one note macaroni salad and go directly to the fries. They're crisp and well cooked with a few skin remnants hanging on the edges from the home cut care the potatoes go through every day.
There's a nice selection of local and California microbrews, in addition to a handful of wines, but note, there's only a $5 corkage fee, so it's also easy to bring your own bottle.
With a clean, reasonably priced restaurant that includes seating inside and out, not to mention free parking, Hermosa Beach Fish Shop is a welcome addition to the South Bay.
I was a guest of Hermosa Beach Fish Shop, but all comments are always my own.