I'm still not quite sure why they named this place Moby Dick and of course there's the irony of the location....it used to be a "gentleman's club".
Yet, after doing a bit of research, I found that te owner of Moby Dick is the same guy that used to own Convoy sushi and Fish Market, not too great in the sushi department, but the place had some nicely priced cooked items. He also used to own North Park Sushi and Fish Market. Word is that the guy really enjoys planning and opening restaurants and selling seafood. And since he still owns Ocean Harvest, a seafood wholesale company, they should be selling some decent product, right?
Actually, the whole customer process up to the point of receiving your food is a bit confusing and complicated. It all starts by trying to find the. You need to follow the arrows and you'll find the dooorway. Which opens to a humongous space.......
The dining room is pslit into two parts....I'm thinking this place can easily seat over a hundred easy....plus there's even outside seating. What's up with the forest scene......Moby Dick of the jungle...yikes...I don't even want to go there.
Back to confusing....you enter and see a fish counter, a smaller bar looking area, and finally figure out that the cashier area is where you should order.
Then the funs really begins, there are about 13-14 different seafood offerings...you can choose whether you want a sandwich, wrap, salad, plate, taco....now depending what you order, you then have to look at the right of the menu and figure out what other things you have to choose.....fish plate or salad....you need to choose a sauce, dressing, potato salad, rice, or fries...salad a dressing...not too bad. But hold on, you can also order other items on the menu, fish tacos, fish & chips, soft shell crab sandwiches, burgers, misozuke plates, soups....and how about some sides!!! Oh, let's not forget the specials, some of which come with their own specific question(s). You want a drink with that??? Strange, but I actually felt like I was being given some kind of verbal exam when the Missus and I first visited.
The Missus and I started with some poke ($4.50), just to get a gauge on the quality of the fish.
Not a particularly big portion and on the "dry" side with regards to poke. Also, we got a couple of pieces with tough connective tissue as well. The fish was decently fresh, but this isn't sushi grade if that's what you expect. Ahi is a bit stronger in flavor than maguro and I think the Missus isn't used to that flavor anymore.
The best thing I've tasted to date was the Chilean Seabass Miszuke ($20). Not cheap, but it was a wonderfully moist and fresh cut.
The flavor imparted by the miso was mild but decent and the fish was "toaster-ovened" nicely. What was a bit strange was the salad.....mainly the feta cheese sprinkled on the salad....the ginger mayo dressing was mostly mayo and clashed with the olives, pepperocini, and the feta. It made the whole dish seem kind of odd.
I had the Mahi Mahi in salad form ($13).
It's really easy to tell when Mahi is starting to get past its prime....it tends to literally sour. This was a nice piece of fish, though it was overcooked and underseasoned. That creamy dijon that I got with the fish had very little flavor and added nothing. The "ranch dressing" had too much mayo. Still, the fish was of good quality, which I appreciated. But this just seemed to be missing....
I returned later that week and tried the Ono in plate form ($15):
Man, this was a load of food....and I have to wonder, why the bread, the plate already had standard steak fries on it? The Ono was even less seasoned than the Mahi Mahi, but not overcooked. That parsley garlic sauce tasted like industrial fake butter with a hint of garlic in it.....pretty nasty. It was kind of frustrating, the fish was decent quality, but again things just seemed to be missing the mark.......just.
So I came back and ordered the Fish Tacos Baja Style ($6):
If this was the first thing I had here, I would have not returned. The portion of fish was quite good, but the batter was a bit gummy and basically peeled off, the fish was dry as well. As a fish taco this also missed the mark; the tortillas fell apart immediately and were of poor quality and the crema tasted of just mayo.
Funny thing was, I was set to meet one of my favorite fellow food bloggers, Canine Cologne here in a couple of days....... but I also knew, it would be a fun time regardless!
It was really nice seeing her as it had been like 3 years.....21 years in Canine time!!!! I'd really like you to read her post here. Mainly because I get a kick of reading my name two sentences after she uses the phrase, "Hey, wanna see my THIRD leg?" Now how's that for original.
Instead of the regular fish and chips, I went with the Monkfish & Chips($9):
The steak fries were standard...the fish was very fresh and moist. Though perhaps selecting monkdish was a mistake as it was too dense......but this wasn't bad at all. A nice plus, malt vinegar was provided. I guess I'm kind of easy that way. I think the fish was a bit too cold when battered as the crust just fell of to the touch, but that's kind of nitpicky.
It was just great to see "CC", who generously gave me a bag of goodies which I'll cover in a later post.
I'm going to give Moby a rest for now......the food has potential, but just seems a bit slapped together and misses the mark. I'm thinking the guy who owns the place really has a passion for opening and running restaurants, but when diverging from the simple cheap fried stuff he used to make at the old Convoy shop, I think there should be a bit more effort in creating more professional, coherant, dishes......
Moby Dick Fish Market & Grill
4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
Open daily 11am - 9pm