Friday, December 29, 2017

Put on Your Industrial-Strength Ear Muffs and Let's Go Out To Dinner

Which would be Blue Salt Fish Grill, 2515 Artesia, Redondo Beach.  Check them out at

There is a second Blue Fish on the southwestern side of the corner of Hawthorne and Lomita which is some distance from the house.  I was thrilled to learn there is a closer one because the chefs at Blue Salt are very, very big on seasonings and spices and so am I.  There are 13 separate sauces or dry rubs on order.  To list only a few -  Moroccan rub, Lime aioli sauce, spicy chipotle and cilantro butter, Italian herbs rub.  .

  There are 12 varieties of fish which include Opakapaka, Fijian opah, Baramundi.  "Today's Freshest" are listed on a board behind the cash register. Other ocean creatures on offer are: grilled Mediterranean octopus salad, carpaccio of salmon, steamed clams, tostada ceviche...

Even the side dishes are exotic (I was born in Kansas so they're exotic to me) - spiced vegetable couscous, arugula and spinach salad w/shaved Parmesan and balsamic dressing, brown rice.

It's one very plain room with the requisite chrome chairs and smallish tables (they push two together to get four tops.)  It is also, noise-wise, reminiscent of a soccer game in Europe.

They certainly were doing a gold rush business and every one of this crowd seemed not to have a volume control.  But then ... they all got served and went away.  We looked at each other in surprise and began talking in normal tones ...until the next wave of customers came surging in.

How to order and what happens.  Walk up and read the board behind a counter, decide what you want, go to the end of the line (which does move quickly) and order it.  The cashier last night was a very pretty Thai lady and, additionally, she was very kind.  I ordered the PeriPeri Prawns, but hold the bed of baby spinach and baby arugula, please.  She clearly was paying attention because she said, "You're having the Caesar salad - would you like the prawns on top of it?"  Having no idea what peri peri sauce was, I didn't want it to mess up the Caesar flavor, which I do know.  And I hate both arugula and spinach.

She still looked worried and said, "Over the Caesar, you get six, but the appetizer that you're having?  Only four."  I reassured her by saying I had a small stomach.  Four giant prawns would do it.

You're given a stick with a number placard and wander off to find a table.  Shortly, a waiter comes and puts a serving of ceviche in a cup on a plate with taco chips and a pair of little flat cups of guacamole and salsa crudo in the middle of the table.  This is to tide you over until your order comes.  The guacamole had a healthy infusion of tomatillo which worked out well.  The salsa was the usual chopped tomato, onion, cilantro with a slightly oily liquid holding it all together.

Richie had a Stella ($4) and I a (generous) glass of pinot grigio ($4)

Richie's clam chowder looked very thick and creamy and he happily ate it all (cup $3.95, bowl $4.95)  My Caesar salad was very crisp, fresh lettuce with shavings of brick Parmesan and a house Caesar dressing.  Enough to serve two people ($5.95.)  Most restaurants charge $10.00 for one.

Richie's crab cakes were huge!  Both of them. They came with a house salad with a side of lime aioli and Chipotle dressing. ($7.95)

The Peri Peri Prawns really are prawn-sized (in Ireland they're billed as prawns, but are the size of bay shrimp to give you an example of shrimp misnomers.)    They had been split through the shell which after being on the grill, unspread flared out making the prawn look like a butterfly.  The sauce was slightly oily but a nice example of gentle heat. Rip off the shell and eat accordingly.

Dinner came to $37.80 (before $3.59 sales tax) and we were quite content.  We will go back - at lunchtime when it's got to be quieter.

Since I was so curious about it, I Googled "peri peri sauce"  Here's the recipe.

2 red onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup of African bird's eye chilies - can use jalapeno instead
2 red bell peppers, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, skins off, chopped
4 T olive oil
Juice and zest of 3 lemons
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Run this through a Cuisinart and then simmer until it tastes good.

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