SlapFish - A Modern Seafood Shack
19696 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
I feel like I am one of the last OC food bloggers to make it to SlapFish. Not that I haven't wanted to go before now. I have heard good, no make that great things about them. We just have not had a chance to make it up to HB, to see what the big deal was all about. So we finally had a Sunday free to make the drive up to give them a try.
It seems that casual fish restaurants are opening up all over. Spike's Fish House, California Fish Grill, Boneheads, and now SlapFish have all sprung up recently. This is a trend that I can really get behind. It used to be that seafood had to be served in fancy restaurants, with great views of the ocean, and big price tags attached to the meals, to help pay for that view. I can only ever recall having fish from H. Salt or in TV dinners when we were growing up. I always thought that more people would like fish more, if they were exposed to it at an early age. These restaurants are trying to encourage this, by making fish more readily available to everyone, which is something that is good for all of us.
For those of you that do not know about SlapFish yet, they started as a food truck, and earlier this year they set up shop in a Huntington Beach shopping center, about a mile away from the ocean. SlapFish is run by two guys that have a real love for the ocean. Chef Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude want to serve fish the responsible way, which means they are committed to sourcing only Eco-friendly and well managed seafood. They work closely with the Aquarium of the Pacific and other agencies to prevent over fishing and harmful fishing practices. They believe that sustainable fish taste better, so I was excited to see if this was the case.
We got to SlapFish at about 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. The ten table restaurant was packed with almost all of the people just finishing up their meals. Ordering is done at the counter, and the menu is posted on large chalkboards right above the register. The menu rotates based on what is available at a certain time. They seem to update their menu every month or so. Food is then brought out to your table by the staff. Enough talk, let's get to it!
Right after ordering I made a bee line for their condiment bar. This is where they have their tarter sauce, hot sauces, and the sauce on the right, the "Awesome Sauce". We had ordered some items that already came with these sauces, but I like to add a little extra sauce to everything, so we got some more. The awesome sauce was very good. Kind of like a thousand island in color, but very subtle. I really liked it.
I needed to post two pictures of this Major Crunchy Fish Sandwich ($8.95) because I could not get the whole thing in the picture. This thing was massive. I really enjoyed this sandwich. Probably one of the best fish sandwiches I have had. This sandwich was made up of fried golden hake, pickled onion, and their awesome sauce. Katie thought this was good, but very rich. I liked the crunchiness of the outer portion of the fish. It had a great crunch without being overly greasy. The fish was very fresh, and had an appealing flavor. The brioche buttered bun is also worth noting here. Went very well with the sandwich, and it held up to this big hunk of fish admirably.
Probably one of the most popular dishes on their menu when we were here was the Chowder Fries with Bacon ($5.95). This simple dish should be copied by more restaurants. Here they take their creamy clam chowder, pour it over french fries, and then add crumbled bacon. Surprisingly the fries stayed somewhat crisp while we were eating this. The clam chowder was very creamy, but did suffer from a lack of clams. I would definitely get this again.
We had a seat right near the register, and while we were here, I noticed almost all of the orders included $1 Fish Tacos. Everyday from 3pm to 5pm they offer dollar tacos, and lots of people were taking advantage of this deal by ordering six at a time. I was reserved and only ordered one. They were using the same golden hake in the tacos that they used in Katie's fish sandwich. I was first amazed at how much fish they put on this. Guess I am used to the minuscule amount they use at Rubio's and Wahoo's. I was also impressed with the attention to detail that they use to put this dollar taco together. You can see it in the picture above. There is light avocado spread, pickled red onion, and a lemon aioli to go along with the fish in this taco. This fish taco had great, deep flavors. Really a good value for a buck.
We are suckers for crab cakes, so when we saw SlapFish's version, the Griddled Clobster Cake ($6.85) on the menu, we knew we would be ordering it. This cake was made of crab and lobster, and served with a chipotle slaw and herb aioli. I really liked the big hunks of meat in the cake, and there was not a lot of filler here. The sauce was mellow and the cake had a little citrus kick to it. The slaw was well made, and I could not stop eating it until it was gone.
The last item we tried was the XL Firecracker Fish Burrito ($8.25). This burrito was stuffed with cod, avocado, black beans, cabbage, and lots of rice. The burrito was not wrapped to well. I had to cut it in half to snap pictures of the inside, and it fell apart. This burrito was pretty big and had many layers of flavor. I did not get the spiciness until I was halfway done with the burrito. This burrito needed a little more liquid in my opinion, so I added more of the "Awesome Sauce" to it, which made it better. I would probably skip the burrito on my next visit. This was not the best vehicle for the fish, and without eating this filling burrito, I will have more room to eat other things on the menu.
I guess you can tell that we really liked our trip to SlapFish. I might have liked this even better than Katie. All of the fish was very fresh, and the way it is prepared really brought out big time flavors. Be advised that the menu items here may not be available all of the time, due to the time of year and availability, but if this visit was any indication, you will not have any trouble finding something that you like here. The girls behind the counter were both really nice, and even after we ordered, they made sure we got all of our food and checked back on us to make sure everything was okay. SlapFish is a testament that seafood does not have to be expensive or served only in fancy restaurants. Thanks for bringing delicious seafood to the masses SlapFish.
Out of five oil wells, (because the city of Huntington Beach, where SlapFish is situated, was first known for the oil under the town and thus, the teams from Huntington Beach High School are still called the Oilers), five being best to zero being worst, SlapFish gets a strong 3.5 oil wells.
For more information on SlapFish, click here: http://slapfishrestaurant.com/index.php