I took the coaster down to San Diego to check out Lionfish at the Pendry hotel in the gas lamp district. Having been open for about 5 months, Lionfish is headed by local chef Jojo Ruiz and features modern coastal cuisine using fresh catch and seasonal ingredients.
Lionfish ~ 435 5th Ave., San Diego
The interior features neutral tones and wood with interesting lighting elements.
Lionfish features a pretty big wine and cocktail list but the prices are a bit too high, with cocktails costing as much as an appetizer and a glass of Orin Swift’s “The Prisoner” going for $25 where it should be around $15.
I stuck with ice water and focused on the food, choosing three apps. and one main.
Lamb Tartar ~ Gold beets, fennel, arugula, vanouvan yogurt, lavash.
The word that kept popping into my head when I ate this was “fresh”. The flavors were completely balanced with nothing overpowering the other elements.
Stuffed Squid ~ Tomato relish, shrimp, Italian sausage, herb pistou.
Perfectly tender squid with deep-fried tentacles for texture. Great dish, though I wish the stuffing had more heat, maybe chorizo instead of the sausage.
Spicy Grilled Octopus ~ Fernmented chile, crispy garlic, marbel potatoes, cilantro aioli.
This dish was highly recommended by the staff and in online reviews and rightfully so. In my recent review of “The Kettle Room” I claimed they had the best octopus dish I have ever had, that spot was short-lived as this dish overtook that position. Nice heat level and the most tender and flavorful octopus I have had.
Herb Marinated Swordfish ~ Summer squash, cherry tomatoes, nettle puree, lavender.
Again, the Chef just knows how to balance flavor. Swordfish being a steak like cut of fish, much like tuna, comes off extremely tender and moist in this preparation. The summer squash holds its own against the star of the dish.
What I took away was Chef Ruiz is adept at balancing flavors harmoniously and executing proteins to perfection. The dinner with slightly more than 20% tip ran me $100 and was well worth every penny.
435 5th Ave. San Diego
#food #foodporn #seafood #sandiego