Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sea Rocket Bistro opens today!

The latest in San Diego farm-to-table opens its doors officially this evening at 5 p.m. Sea Rocket Bistro has taken over the old Linkery location (which has moved six blocks north) and is providing a farm-to-table menu with a twist: boat-to-table! That's right - they're specializing in local seafood, a fairly untapped source of local food here in San Diego.

We had an opportunity to try a taste of several items on the menu last night at a special Friends and Family evening (thanks, Dennis and Elena!). Our tasting menu included Fancy Green Salad (baby lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, dried cherries, figs, and pine nuts with house mustard vinaigrette), the Black Mussel Steamers (from Carlsbad Aqua Farm) in a perfectly spicy white wine sauce, the Del Mar Sea Bass (a little overdone, but spiced to absolute perfection) with just the right amount of roasted red potatoes and beets, the Emu Burger (tasty but too dry without some sort of sauce to pull it all together), and the Whipped Custard with Berries (delicious, made even better with the complimentary glass of champagne served alongside).

Four local beers were on tap and eight other local beers were available in bottle. The wines were all local too. Brian tried the ice tea (rooibos, a traditional tea of South Africa, my home for about six years) and the house made Blood Orange/Valencia Orange Soda mixed that day. The soda was really quite spectacular - think Orangina but with a richer orange flavor, no pulp, and not as sweet.

Although the restaurant seemed understaffed for such a large crowd (there were about fifty of us, I think, and just two servers along with managers Dennis and Elena), the food did not disappoint, and with a few tweaks here and there, I think it will be a serious contender. I would order the sea bass again in a moment, and the Blood Orange/Valencia Orange Soda was just the specialty a place like this bistro needs to set it apart. It seems like everyone is claiming to be a farm-to-table restaurant these days, but Sea Rocket Bistro's emphasis on local seafood should give it an edge on those serving land-based cuisine.

Give it a month or two to work out some of the kinks with service and recipes and then stop in for some real local flavor. Or, better yet, be one of the first to visit and offer your suggestions for improvements and compliments. Dennis and Elena are open to feedback and are eager to make this a success. I have high hopes!

Sea Rocket Bistro
3382 30th Street
San Diego, California
(619) 255-7049

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