Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shades Oceanfront Bistro - Ocean Beach (San Diego)

Our last night in San Diego, I asked Tara what she was in the mood for. After having her fill of Asian (Thai, dim sum, and Vietnamese), she said she wanted a burger. I looked on the Chowhound board and found a couple of candidtates: Rocky's and Hodad's, which were both about 9 miles northwest of our hotel, but actually not that far apart from each other. We hit Rocky's first. It turned out to be a neighborhood pub type place and was packed. We didn't feel like waiting, so we headed for Hodad's. Hodad's was out in Ocean Beach, just a block from the ocean. We snagged a spot on the busy main drag, and walked back up the street to the restaurant. It was a brightly colored place, and even more packed than Rocky's had been. We didn't want to wait and headed back to the car. On our way, we stopped into the candy store we'd passed on the walk to Hodad's. As we were purchasing some pecan-covered chocolate toffee, we told the owner about our thwarted burger plans. She mentioned that she really liked a place just down the street and one block over called Shades. She mentioned having been there the night before and had getting a huge portion of fish and chips. They apparently had a large menu, and we decided to give it a try.

After a short walk (tossing the candy into the car on our way) we had a beautiful view of the sunset over the Pacific. Tara tried to get a picture, but her camera showed a really dark pict on it's screen. She has it on her blog I believe. After marveling at the view, we turned right and saw Shades right in front of us. We went up the steps onto a pretty big patio and walked around the outside seating to the entrance. Since it was still pretty nice out, we opted for seating outside. There was a breeze off the water, but they had a plexiglass barrier that blocked most of it.

We were presented with menus and they had a large selection. The soup of the day was a crab bisque. Most of the entrees came with soup or salad. Tara is a fan of fish and chips, and had pretty much decided on that once the candy lady mentioned it. I got Hawaiian chicken , which is two breasts marinated in a teriyaki glaze with pineapple slices and fries. We both opted for the crab bisque.

While we waited, the couple next to us got their order. A massive salad was placed in front of the lady and Tara commented on it's size. The lady heard and asked if she wanted to share.

Our bisque came out in a few minutes and it was really good. Rich and creamy and was great in the cooling night air.

Our main dishes arrived and Tara's fish and chips was impressive. Like the lady said, the amount of fish was daunting. Five huge pieces of Icelandic cod were lightly battered and fried to a nice golden brown. She really enjoyed them but wasn't able to eat it all.

My chicken was also a more than healthy portion. It was topped with more of the teriyaki sauce. The chicken was really moist and it was a good meal. The fries were fairly thick and crunchy.

This was also our only meal that we had no issues with the service. Our waitress was cheery and very helpful. Refills were on time and we never needed to ask for anything. At one point during the meal, a group of drunk twenty-somethings had a loud mock fight just outside the outside seating that was disrupting, but otherwise it was a great way to end our trip, overlooking the ocean and smelling the salt air. Even though the ocean was on the wrong side, it still reminded me home.

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