How to find your perfect catch
What a catch!
Eric Ericsson’s Restaurant
668 S. Harbor Blvd.
I was driving up the 101 on a beautiful day last week, and couldn’t help but notice Eric Ericsson’s on the Ventura Pier, which has been there f o r e v e r! How long? Well, Clever Girl’s never been one for numbers unless it’s in carats, but I’d say at least 20 years.
Now I’ve never been crazy about piers because of the cracks between the planks. I mean, it’s impossible to navigate them in high heels. Can you imagine how ridiculous you’d look on a date trying to yank out your shoe in the middle of your romantic walk? But since I happened to be solo, I decided to give it a shot and carefully made my way toward the entrance. Luckily I avoided getting stuck despite the fact I was in a pair of my tallest man-killers!
Eric Ericsson’s, which originally opened in 1981 on Seaward Avenue in Pierpont and then moved to its current location in 1996, recently brought on new management that’s brought in fresh ideas and perspective, so this ol’ place is a great new hangout. The updated menu has the usual suspects (seared ahi, steamed shellfish, fish ’n’ chips), but it also has creative choices like a seafood-stuffed chile and a smoked fish and fried tomato stack. You’ll also see sandwiches, salads and south-of-the-border items; but since I was on a pier, I definitely thought fish, so that’s what I got.
There is a system to the menu, and this is how it works: You order the type of fish you want from the selection of the day, then choose how to prepare it: blackened, grilled or pan-roasted. This is a great concept, especially if you’re an afishcionado (snicker) like me, but if you’re not, you may not choose the best preparation. For instance, salmon is a great fish to get blackened or grilled, but not so much for halibut, since it may end up too dry, so I suggest asking the server what the chef recommends. Then you get to choose a sauce, and luckily, any of their terrific choices, like the cucumber wasabi aioli or herb butter, would go great on anything. You also choose two sides with your entree. I ordered the halibut, pan-roasted, with fruit salsa as my sauce and apple cole slaw and caramelized carrots as my sides. My perfectly cooked fish with the mango pineapple salsa made me feel as if I was in the tropics, and the carrots were sweet and full of flavor. But the apple cole slaw, with its slices of crisp green apple and crunchy red cabbage, was a standout! Dressed simply with an apple cider vinaigrette, it was a bright, textural contrast to the rest of my dish.
I also asked my super-friendly server if she could get me a taste of the clam chowder, and she was more than happy to oblige. I can easily say that this is one of the best clam chowders I’ve had! It’s got sweet, tender clams, chunks of potato and bits of celery in a luscious, creamy soup that is fragrant with herbs and spiked with sweet sherry. The server informed me that the same chef had been making it for 30 years; no wonder it was perfect! I also ordered the clams steamed in Thai-style green coconut curry, and although it wasn’t my favorite, it was still delicious and worth trying. To finish off this fantastic meal, I got the house-made apple crumb cheesecake and I knew it was the right choice at first bite! Creamy and light, with sweet chunks of cooked apple and a buttery crumb topping with just the right amount of spice, all on a perfect graham cracker crust. If you’re vegetarian, or don’t like seafood, there are chicken, meat and veggie choices that you can get prepared to your liking too, just like the fish. A blackened flat iron steak or grilled veggie tacos, for instance.
After my meal, I happened to run into a tall, handsome stranger and thought he was the perfect catch, until he squealed out that his name was Flipper and I just knew it wouldn’t work out, so I high-tailed it outta there!
(Sigh) At least I caught a great meal.
Clever Girl, intrepid eater and writer, can be found blogging at www.clevergirleats.com.