The Monster loves seafood. This comes as no surprise. So when Seasalt Fish Grill opens in downtown Santa Monica (from the same folks as Jack & Jill’s next door) a trip to check it out happens posthaste.
It’s a cute little counter-order, with both a downstairs and upstairs seating area. On this day it’s jam-packed which is a good sign for such a newbie. Let’s get ready to rumble.
The menu at this fast-casual (sure to be franchised and billed as “The ocean’s alternative to fast food) features salads and soups, a whole host of fried appetizers, grilled fish galore and tacos, burritos and sandwiches featuring delights of the sea.
The Monster, feeling frisky, goes all out and gets the Baja seafood chowder with sea clams, fish, shrimp, carrots, onions, celery, hominy corn, tomatoes and Idaho potatoes to start, an order of the Full Whack which comes with Baja shrimp cocktail, Southwest crunchy egg rolls, cornmeal calamari, parmesan zucchini wedges and firestick crispy onions. Since that is not enough food (or calories given the heaping helpings of fried goodness) the giant garlic prawns with veggies and rice also makes the grade.
Given this is their first week open there are a couple snafus (some food comes out lukewarm) but generally the service is awesome (giving out free drinks to sample, friendly all around even when they don’t quite have it all together), the food comes quickly, and everything tastes fresh.
The soup to start is loaded to bear with seafood but needs a bit more kick. Nothing some hot sauce can’t cure.
As for The Whack, this is actually too much fried food on one plate. Wish it is more of a mix of fried and grilled. At some point you lose the taste of seafood and are left with the taste of batter. The shrimp cocktail is the one brief respite from this. It proves tasty.
The shrimp, four butterflied beuts, are dripping in garlic and served with some tasty sides. This alone would be enough food for most for lunch. Don’t make like The Monster and over-order.
Having recently eaten both at Seasalt and at Fisherman’s Outlet downtown they are two sides to a coin. Seasalt is slick and ready to travel, while Fisherman’s Outlet is more homey and family oriented. Glad LA has both.
Why go? Lunchtime seafood cravings.
Monster rating: 3½/5 Monsters
508 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401