AJ's has closed. Some of their food items will still be around: the Santee, El Cajon and Allied Gardens Farmer Markets and perhaps other venues. Look for "AJ's Haute Cuisine".
Thanks for stopping by mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk got really busy and so did Ed(from Yuma), so Cathy is writing today's post.
Late last year, one of our favorite seafood restaurants, the Fish Bucket Grill, closed abruptly due to the death of its owner. We had liked the Fish Bucket Grill because it was just as good as The Fish Merchant, their 30 year family owned restaurant, which had been located in the area and had been closed for about two years.
In the middle of May, we heard this location was re-opening and were very happy to once again have access to seafood near home.
We didn't know how good it would be, so stopped by one early evening to try a few items.
It turns out the menus change almost daily, due to availability of fresh items. This section from the website mentions that the seafood is sourced from Catalina Offshore and the produce from Specialty; both open to the public selling quality items.
We were asked if we'd like some complimentary bread after we placed our order and these two pieces were brought out: cheese topped white and a very nice squaw type served with unsalted butter. Both fresh, with crispy crusts and chewy interiors.
We were curious about the "California Clam Chowder" and ordered a cup to share ($4). The flavor was uniquely familiar.
If you read the link from the website provided above, you would notice Chef Bennett was trained at North Carolina's Johnson and Wales culinary college. This clam chowder tastes like a version of She-Crab Soup, a common, favorite soup we enjoyed during the years The Mister and I lived in Tidewater Virginia. Such good memories...not as much cream as regular chowder, a mirepoix along with potatoes, plenty of clam, a touch of sherry (or maybe white wine; you can taste it)...unexpected perfection.
Above, the small Captain's salad ($10), which is large enough to share. Fresh mixed greens topped with shrimp, crab, lobster, artichoke hearts, organic egg, tomato and a house made mustard-poppy seed dressing. Really good.
Above, the crab cakes appetizer ($12)- perfectly lightly crispy fried. As you can see, very little filler...it's just crab and enough complimentary spices with a panko-like breading. Served with a small side of mixed greens on top of a house made remoulade sauce, this is a meal in itself.
AJ's Fish Merchant 7407 Jackson Drive San Diego 92119 (619)462-FISH Website Mon-Thurs: 11-9, Fri, Sat: 11-10; Sun 4-9