I’ve been to Pismo’s a few times in the last 12 months and at this point. The menu, while no longer a hand-written mess, has become a combination of full color and copied collage of menu items on several pages instead of one page and just as confusing as before. Luckily, it’s easy to find what fish is available and the cooking method employed.
Ahi Poke Tower, probably our highlight, suggested by our server since I didn’t know where to look on the menu for it. Confusingly, she regarded the Tower as a main dish, when it’s actually an appetizer. Layers of avocado, ahi, edamame, fried wonton flakes, topped with sprouts made for what is fast becoming a staple in many restaurants. Flavored with sesame and soy, while crude in terms of the chop and basic presentation, the overall flavor was good, just not refined. The Yard House and D&B’s serves something like this. I could have easily eaten this just as easily as a main course, as the server suggested.
Fish and chips, the fries were well seasoned and crispy. The fish, however, was a bit of a disappointment. Firstly, there was no paper or cloth to absorb excess grease from the deep fry. Secondly, batter to fish ratio, heavy batter and as a result a slightly doughy core. Really good fish and chips is not easy, which is why I like to order it; it’s a real test for the kitchen. Probably wouldn’t order it again at Pismo’s as this is my second go around with consistently below average results.
Blackened Sturgeon with coleslaw was straightforward and satisfying. The fish was cooked through and moist and tasted fresh, while the coleslaw was crisp and not heavily dressed. For $17, the portion size is about 4 oz, with small portions of slaw. Not value for the money, but reasonably well prepared.
I had no issues with service or being seated, but we were being seated at the tail-end of lunch service. Is there value for the money? Tough call really. At $46 lunch tab for one appetizer, 2 entrée’s and one iced tea is probably on the high side for the portion size. The equivalency test would come from Tadich Grill in San Francisco for a simple grilled fish and one or more sides. As Pismo’s does not serve Loch Duart Scottish Salmon (Pismo’s serves farmed, color added Atlantic Salmon but any decent supplier can get Loch Duart) there isn’t perfect equivalency. Nor does Pismo’s pay rent for a prime Financial District location or Bay Area taxes or salary. Yet, an 8oz cut of Duart Salmon with potatoes and vegetables run $23.75.
…And we’re all entitled to make a profit and serve farmed fish if we’re smart enough to do so.