Friday, October 25, 2013

Reeling In Another Great Dinner at Slapfish

19696 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

After four years of doing this blog, I often wonder if the great restaurants that we have visited continue to churn out fantastic food. With a growing list of readers tips and critically acclaimed restaurants, it has become increasingly rare that we visit a restaurant twice. We were exchanging our Ducks ticket in Huntington Beach the other day, and I wanted to share one of our favorite seafood places with my parents. So we took a trip down Beach Boulevard, and introduced them to Slapfish.

Our first trip to Slapfish was only a year and a few months ago. It really does seem like it has been longer though. You can read about our first experience here. By now you probably know the Slapfish story. They are the brainchild of two guys, Chef Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude. They started this business as a food truck, but graduated to a brick and mortar restaurant in the early part of last year. They are very passionate about serving sustainable seafood, claiming that it just tastes better, which they prove with almost every plate that comes out of their kitchen.

The big news at Slapfish is that they are expanding. Franchising is going to be taking place, and they hope to open 500 restaurants over the next ten years. Pretty lofty goals, but their food may warrant it. The first franchises are expected to open in of all places, the Middle East, early next year. A little closer to home, there are rumors that they have been looking at locations in Newport, Irvine, and Costa Mesa, all of which will help cut down on my drive time to their Huntington Beach restaurant, meaning more frequent trips to Slapfish.

Slapfish is located in the Newland Shopping Center, which is between Yorktown and Adams on Beach Boulevard. We got here just after 4PM on a Sunday, after watching my beloved Jaguars go down in defeat to a much superior team, (at this point, a high school team might be a more superior team than the Jags, but I am still going to stand by them, no matter how many ulcers they give me). So I was definitely ready to drown my sorrows with some great seafood. The guys at Slapfish keep things casual by having guests order at the counter, and then the food is brought out to your table. Let's see what this visit to Slapfish brought our way.

For as long as I can remember, I have always known my Dad to enjoy a good clam chowder. So, it was no surprise that he would start off with the Clam Chowder ($5.50) here at Slapfish. This creamy concoction is filled with nice sized clams, a very creamy and flavorful base, and just for good measure topped with bacon crumbles. I could tell he liked this, because it was hard for him to part with too many spoonfuls of this.

As much as my Dad enjoys clam chowder, my Mom loves fish and chips equally as much. The Fish and Chips ($9.00) here at Slapfish made her real happy. The fish here is not overly greasy, but does not sacrifice flavor. The breading was crunchy,, but not overly thick, making this a lighter than usual fish and chips plate. The fish inside was flaky and flavorful, while the fries were to her liking as well. She would not hesitate to get this again on future visits here.

Both Katie and my Dad got the Ultimate Fish Taco ($5.50), so that helped reduce my writing in this review. Thanks guys. At Slapfish they offer this taco with either seared or fried fish. Both of them got this seared. After trying the fish and chips, I would have gotten this breaded. I always like a little crunch to my fish tacos. The fish here was done nicely, with just a hint of spice. They were pretty generous with the amount of fish they place in the corn tortilla. Joining the fish inside the tortilla was cabbage, radish, a little cilantro, pickled onion, a light amount of avocado spread, and the requisite white sauce. All of this worked very well with each other, making this one of the best fish tacos either of them have had.

When I checked out the menu at Slapfish, one thing really jumped out at me, the Lobster Dog ($12.00). Yes, you read that correctly, lobster dog. When I ordered this, I did not know what to expect. I thought maybe they would place lobster on top of a hot dog or sausage, but no, this was a bratwurst made out of lobster. Very unique. This bratwurst was topped with onions, peppers and their awesome sauce, which is a chipotle aioli. The lobster did get a little lost here. I am more of a purest when it comes to lobster, just give me melted butter, and I will be a happy boy. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this though. It was rich, with the majority of the flavor coming from the toppings on this. I would probably get their shrimp and lobster grinder on my next visit here.

One reason I am so looking forward to the expansion of Slapfish is that they are always showing off their specials on Facebook. It seems that almost every time I open Facebook, I come face to face with another special that they are running. During our visit, they offered these Surf and Turf Nachos ($12.00) as their special of the day. I am always a fan of nachos, and when I heard that these had pork and lobster, I was in. Along with the pork and lobster, was a cilantro lime cream, pickled habaneros, and a lobster sauce. These were so good. The pork was done right, for a place that specializes in seafood, the lobster was more plentiful than I would have thought, and the sauces and textures really came together nicely. I would have liked a few extra chips on the side, but other than that, I could find no fault with these nachos.

Our second trip to Slapfish was even better than our first. My parents really ended up enjoying this restaurant as well. We saw them the next day for our customary Monday night dinner, and they both brought up how much they enjoyed Slapfish. Whenever someone asks me about seafood in OC, I always ask if they have been to Slapfish. If they haven't, I tell them that they must get there as soon as possible. I really like that they change their menu up, depending on what's available, so you always know that you are getting the freshest stuff. Some may scoff at paying five dollars per taco, but these aren't chain fish place tacos. These are going to fill you up, and you know you are getting good seafood, which is done right. Glad we had the opportunity to visit Slapfish again. Now we are just waiting for their OC expansion to begin, and hoping that they pop up closer to us.

Out of five sugar beets, (because Slapfish is located in the Newland Shopping Center, which used to be part of the Newland Ranch, which grew sugar beets, among other things in the early 1900's), five being best to zero being worst, Slapfish gets 3.5 sugar beets.

For more information about Slapfish, go to their website here:

SlapFish - A Modern Seafood Shack on Urbanspoon

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