120 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA, USA
www.rocknfishmb.com/manhatta… - 310-379-9900
Rock'N Fish Manhattan Beach Reviews
Oct 05, 2007
Rock'N Fish is a steak and seafood joint in Manhattan Beach, one block away from the Manhattan Beach pier and the Pacific Ocean. I called to make a dinner reservation for 8:30 pm but they were fully booked for the evening. The hostess did inform me that walk-ins were welcome but with a considerable wait time before seating. So I opted to go to the restaurant at 7:30 pm as a walk-in and wait for our table while my brother picked up his fiancee from LAX about 5 miles away.
The front space of the restaurant is an indoor patio (I know sounds oxymoronic but the ceiling is retractable). The interior has a main dining area with the bar and a mezzanine level with a bird's eye view of the main dining area. The place (patio, main dining, and mezzanine) was packed to the gills. Even though it felt like sardines in a can, the crowdedness helped warm me up from the unseasonably cold and windy weather outside.
I slowly made my way to the bar dodging and stepping around hustling waiters/waitresses, fast-paced bus boys, and loyal bar patrons. My way to the bar was almost like dancing. At the bar I quickly scanned the cocktail/martini list...drinks range from $7-$10. The bartender was quick to make my drink...Rock'N Fish's signature drink The Navy Grog. The Navy Grog is a potent concoction made with two types of rum mixed with fruit juices...I was already feeling light-headed after a couple of sips.
After an hour wait as a walk-in and right after our entire party arrived, our table was ready! The five of us were so hungry we immediately ordered appetizers...a dozen fresh shucked oysters on the half shell and popcorn shrimp. The oysters came on ice with lemon, cocktail sauce, Tabasco sauce, and fresh horseradish. Since I have not had horseradish on raw oyster before there is always a first time for everything. To my surprise the spiciness of the horseradish complemented the briny oyster...it was so tasty I ate three. When I think of popcorn shrimp, I think of tiny bay shrimp caked with breading to double their size. The popcorn shrimp at Rock'N Fish was not bay shrimp but medium sized shrimp and not breaded but beer-battered. With the spicy remoulade sauce...the not-so-popcorn sized shrimp was delicious.
For the main course, my brother ordered the oak grilled halibut with oak grilled vegetables and sauteed spinach. His fiancee, Jen, ordered the oak grilled shrimp and garlic brochettes with shoestring fries and oak grilled vegetables. Terrell ordered the linguini del mar. Kat ordered the San Francisco style cioppino. I ordered potato crusted halibut with pumpkin seed sauce with crispy spatzle and cup of clam chowder to substitute for the braised red cabbage from the weekly specials menu.
Everyone was fully pleased with their meal. Unfortunately I was not. The clam chowder had very few pieces of clam...it consisted mostly of potatoes, celery, and carrot. The crispy spatzle was a flavorless mess...yuck! The potato crust was more potato shavings than crust and it was so salty that I had to peel it off the halibut. The pumpkin seed sauce had no taste. The halibut itself was the best part of the dish. It was portioned like a thick-cut steak so it was really meaty.
Any dinner would not be the same without ending it with dessert. My brother and Jen order the warm chocolate lava cake a la mode. Kat and Terrell ordered the creme brule. I ordered the bananas foster since I have never had it before. The creme brule was delicious. The warm lava cake...a dark chocolate lover's dream...not too sweet but bursting with chocolate flavor. My bananas foster was a disappointment. I was hoping to see it flambeed table-side. Rather what I got was coin sized banana pieces (not even amounting to a whole banana) drowning in way too much dark caramel rum sauce which melted half the ice cream by the time it was served. I could barely find the banana pieces submerged in the caramel-melted vanilla ice cream soup! They call this a house specialty! At least I tried the creme brule and lava cake to satisfy my dessert craving.
I rated this place three stars because everyone else in our party enjoyed their meal, the ambiance of the joint was lively, and the food service was expeditious. Furthermore, I did enjoy The Navy Grog, the appetizers, the lava cake, and creme brule. I think The Navy Grog made me a bit more tolerant of the poor entree and dessert I had at Rock'N Fish. But I am determined to eat here again sometime in the future with the hope of having a better meal.
Part of the To Live and Dine in L.A. travel blog
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