Are you hungry? I’m hungry! You know those moments when you go out to eat and at the end of the meal you are just grinning from ear to ear, your hunger and thirst have been quenched, and you feel satisfied and content? That’s how I feel when I go to Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine.
If you haven’t been here yet, Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine is located inside the Pendry Hotel in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. The menu here focuses on using fresh and seasonal ingredients and sustainable seafood and prime meats. The interior is beautiful and inviting. The restaurant has a great little patio out front with heat lamps and lots of people watching for your entertainment. The bar is welcoming (I recommend “The Final Rose” cocktail), the booths are cozy for small groups, and toward the back of the restaurant are tables with big comfy chairs for larger parties. Upstairs they have an impressive floor to ceiling wine display. You know this is the place to be for a bottle of wine after seeing that.
Lionfish makes a memorable first impression. One of the things I really love about this place is their attention to detail. Let’s say for instance that at your table you order both still and sparkling water. The staff will bring over a holder for the still bottle and a plate for the sparkling bottle. If you order sushi, the staff will bring over a chopstick rest and a pair of chopsticks with a logo’d wrapper holding them together. The soy sauce bottle, looks like a potion bottle. These things really speak to the thought that goes into a dining experience at Lionfish.
Speaking of sushi, if you’re looking for a taste but don’t want a whole roll while you’re here, I’d suggest the Ora King Salmon. It’s two pieces of salmon prepared with smoked salt and browned butter and together they elevate the salmon to the next level.
When “Coastal Cuisine” is in the title of the restaurant, you know that you have to try some seafood while you’re here and I’m sharing my favorites with you. The Halibut Ceviche would definitely keep me coming back for more. I may or may not have eaten the majority of it by myself and I can’t say that I feel bad about it, lol. It tastes fresh and is loaded with lime juice, which is a personal favorite when it comes to ceviche; the more citrus, the better. It comes with tostada chips that are just a touch salty and thin, but strong enough to withstand a heaping spoonful of that amazing halibut, avocado, and cucumber.
My first time here, I opted for the ceviche and was not disappointed at all, but I was torn between that and the Butter-Poached King Crab Leg. So I vowed that I would try it on my next visit, and I have to say, it was worth the wait. Although you only get one crab leg, I assure you, it is fabulous! The kitchen does all the shelling for you, and the butter garlic sauce is smooth and creamy. It’s not only a gorgeous plating, but the crab leg is also topped with caviar to make you feel extra fancy! Yes please, I’ll take that and a glass of champagne all day every day!
The Crispy Rock Shrimp were exactly as I expected. They were battered and tossed in a sauce with a little bit of heat and beautifully topped with some scallion rings. This is perfect for sharing and they’re super addicting to eat, so beware, haha.
With as often as I dine at restaurants, I need you to understand that it takes a lot to impress me. So if I’m talking nonstop about something I ate or singing its praises, you know it must be true. This is how I feel about the Center Cut Filet that I had. Several elements go into a perfect steak right? It has to be cooked to the temperature you asked for, it should have some kind of crust or exterior seasoning, and often times have a killer sauce, whether it’s a steak butter, or blue cheese, or a Demi glacé. My medium steak was perfect! The steak was incredibly tender and covered with sauce, yet still had a recognizable crust to the palate. And that Demi glacé sauce, was soo flavorful that I nearly licked the plate. If I had a piece of bread, I would have soaked up every drop of that sauce. I haven’t shut up about this filet yet!
The Strawberry Crepe Cake is truly a magnificent dessert. The thin crepe layers are filled with a cheesecake filling and stacked high with roasted strawberries. It’s a light dessert, so you’ll always have room to order this one and not feel guilty.
The Layered Chocolate Cake is divine, and I’m now soo hooked that I refuse to come here without eating it. It has these decadent chocolate cake layers with this fluffy mousse and crunchy textures with creamy butterscotch and house-made ice cream. There will be severe mourning if this ever disappears from their menu.
As an added bonus, I was able to dine with my awesome friend Arielle from Pourstyles. She’s a San Diego Sommelier and she picked a bottle of Sancerre that paired well with everything we ate that night! She gives the best wine advice on her blog.
With an extensive wine list, ranging in price, you’ll be sure to find a delicious varietal to pair with your meal. Plan ahead because Vino Sundays are here and your bottles will be half off! You can make a reservation now and be sipping some wine soon!
Until next time, happy eating and drinking!