Spike's Fish House
30465 Avenida De Las Flores
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
It has been four months since Katie has moved to Rancho Santa Margarita. I admit I was a little worried when she moved to the outskirts of OC. I was of course not worried about her safety. RSM is one of the safest cities in America. A city where a major crime can be classified as skateboarders congregating in a park, or two residents fighting over laundry at a laundromat, both of these from the actual police blotter on February 2nd and 4th. What I was really worried about was finding places to eat. RSM always seems so far away from everything, it can take forever to get anywhere from there.
Luckily, since her move four months ago, it has been announced that Bruxie and Mi Casa were coming to town. Really looking forward to these places opening so close. I was also intrigued by this place, Spike's Fish House. Opened in late 2011 by Pasta Bravo founder Tim Aspel, Spike's Fish House is his response to the anti-carb and gluten free hysteria that has taken over in the last few years.
Consumers must appreciate his efforts, because there are now two locations of Spike's, (this one in RSM, along with a location in nearby Laguna Niguel). Fast casual fish places have dotted the OC landscape here and there recently. Boneheads, California Fish Grill, the now defunct Corner Fish Grill, and also fish taco stalwarts, Wahoo's and Rubio's are all trying to get their fair share of the your fish dollars, or should I say sand dollars? Okay I will stop with the bad puns for now, sorry. It is worth noting that Tim opened this location of Spike's right next to a Rubio's. Not afraid of the competition at all. Let's see if Rubio's has any reason to be nervous about Spike's.
After ordering at the counter the food is brought out to your table. First to arrive was Kevin's selection, the Shrimp, Fish and Chips. I was surprised by the very generous size of the battered cod served with this. Two very large pieces, along with three shrimp, and sides of fries and Cole slaw rounded out this plate. Kevin seemed to have enjoyed this meal, as was evident by the quickness in which he inhaled it. All that remained was the Cole slaw, which he admitted to not being a fan of. Not that this one was bad, he just does not like any Cole slaw.
Sara really had no idea what to get here, so after some prodding/heckling on my part she settled on the Panko Style Tilapia Bowl. Joining the fish in the bowl was white rice and vegetables. At Spike's there are five sauces to choose from when getting your fish. She selected the Spike's Sauce, a slightly tangy sauce, that was a little too thin for my taste.
Katie was very excited by her pick, the Basa Bowl. She chose to have the fish prepared Cajun style, and was very surprised by the freshness of the fish here. The veggies were equally as fresh, and she is excited to try Spike's again.
The night we were here they were running a special on Basa Tacos, so that is what I went with. At Spike's the tacos come with cabbage, pico de gallo, and spikes sauce, which is a little tangier than most sauces that come in fish tacos. I opted for flour tortillas instead of corn, and chose french fries as a side item. I liked the tacos a lot, but felt they needed less of the pico de gallo. Too many tomatoes in it. The fish itself was flaky, with a good flavor. I would probably ask for their creamy tarter sauce on my next visit here. The Spike's sauce just did not do it for me. The fries were pretty average.
I enjoyed the trip to Spike's. It felt good to eat a lighter/healthier meal for a change. I would describe Spike's as a build your own meal place, like a Chipotle, but without serving mediocre food. Pick your style of meal; bowl, salad, wrap, or sandwich, then you choose your favorite fish out of the usual eight offerings. Finish it up with the sauce of your choice. With all of these options, you can have schools of different meals for awhile. Prices on the menu average out to be around $11 per meal. Not crazy bad, but not exactly cheap either. When we arrived here at 7 on a Thursday night there was definitely a steady stream of customers through the doors. Service was pretty quick, and the restaurant was well maintained. When we were leaving, I glanced over to Rubio's, and they were much busier than Spike's. It might take some time for Spike's to battle the big fish chains, but they are headed in the right direction.
Out of five fish hooks, five being best to zero being worst, Spike's Fish House gets 3 fish hooks.
For more information on Spike's Fish House, click here: http://spikesfishhouse.com/