Since House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer opened, there have been Yelp events and many other get-togethers held here, all of which I’ve missed. So we visited this week for lunch and sat on the patio. With the rain pitter pattering onto the roof-top, it was a surreal environment to be in — one I liked quite much.
We started with some drinks — some Kona Rotating Series — a stout ($6.50) which tasted so light but really had quite a high alcohol content. I liked it!
Three appetizers were ordered to begin our meal — Steamed Clams ($10.95) was a good sized portion and done in wine, garlic and butter. It needed salt and after it was added, proved to be a satisfying dish.
Garlic Shrimp ($8.95) had many shrimps smothered in a thick sauce consisting of garlic and butter. It was under-seasoned just like the clams.
I enjoyed the Blackened Ahi Sashimi ($11.95) served with a spicy soy dip, cucumber namasu which turned out just cucumbers and scallions. Namasu is traditionally pickled, but I didn’t taste anything pickled in the ramekin. The accompanying nori was also stale.
Hawaiian Style Poke ($10.95/full scoop) had decent flavor, but the pieces of ahi tuna was cut way too small for poke. The soy marinade had seeped into the fish so much I couldn’t taste the fish anymore. The soy marinade is supposed to enhance the flavor of the fish and not completely mask it.
I don’t suggest you order the Crab-crusted Tilapia ($16.95) if you’ve already had an appetizer because this dish is on the heavy side. With two sides — roasted vegetables and potatoes — it was too much to eat alone. The fish was good and the sauce was rich and creamy.
Lobster Mac & Cheese ($13.95) was a generous portion but bland. I’ve now used about half a mini jar of my own sea salt between the clams, shrimp and the mac and cheese. Not a whole lot of lobster going in here, but for $14, I didn’t expect there to be.
We ended the meal with a Banana Foster Bread Pudding ($3.95) with vanilla ice cream and rum sauce. It was dense in texture rather than soft and gooey style of bread pudding. It was okay.
I’m glad I visited, but the fact that most of the dishes were under-seasoned failed to impress me enough to want to return again.
House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer
540 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651