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Jan 16, 2009 03:09 PM

Dead Fish, Crockett

I can't find any recent reports - any news? It isn't my choice, but it is where I am eating in a few hours. Things to avoid? (Please, don't reply with "avoid the entire place!")

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  1. I've never been, but I remember reading that the mussels are good.

    1. Place link with old and new reports.

      Dead Fish
      20050 San Pablo Avenue, Crockett, CA 94525

      1. Oooh, I'm interested in hearing about this place, too. Going to surprise an old friend for his birthday, there, on Sunday evening. I haven't been there in years. I remember the crab (good, but kind of expensive; is it frozen crab, thawed, and then deep fried?). I think my husband had prime rib; wonder if that is good? Can't recall about salads or veggies, nor dessert.

        6 Replies
        1. re: EileenPearl

          Dead Fish is a place with cooks and not chefs. The things they do well are the mussels and prime rib. A plus for them is they use Acme bread. Do NOT get the seafood stew. They can be careless with fish in terms of cooking. The vegetables will be al dente. The silverware is ackward, especially the knives that look like they should be at a homicide scene.

          That being said I like Dead fFsh for what it is. The view is nice, it is pleasant to sit outside on a nice day. If you ever go the The Franciscan at Fisherman's Wharf which is owned by the same restaurant group ... that also owns Stinking Rose ... the menu is practically identical.

          In one way I feel sorry for Dead Fish. Over the years I've watched them try to do some creative stuff and the locals would have none of if. So sometimes good stuff appears on the menu ... doesn't sell ... and goes away.

          Hope the two of you report back. It is not unpleasant, it is just not too much above average.

          1. re: rworange

            Dinner - First of all, I almost forgot how I used to live not all that far from this area, and to see the clientele, generally, was a trip from time forgotten, I could have been in middle America somewhere.

            Service - The server was wonderful - waitress had short cropped bleached blonde hair, and she was great. The bus service seemed more like people on parole, but that is just what the locals look like.

            Wine - the wine list was really reasonable, and there are no corkage charges. Had I known, I'd have brought a bottle, but still, the markups were enough to put this high on the list. A bottle of J sparkling rose was $39.99, only $6 more than at BevMo. Other wines had similar percentage markups, save the Wite Zynfandelle (when you spell it like that, it justifies a higher price, no?)

            Food - The grilled mussels were excellent - we shared a small plate as a starter. Seriously, if they have rice (I don't know if they do), I'd order a plate of these, a bowl of rice, and maybe a small salad, for an excellent meal.

            Bread - Acme pull-apart leaves. Interestingly, they track the bread coming out from the kitchen (there were 2 orders on the bill, but there is no charge). I don't know what they make their garlic bread with, or goopy cheese bread, but who needs it when you have the aforementioned bread.

            Mains - I figured I'd eat dead fish. We both did. There are 4 choices (salmon, halibut, seabass, and tilapia) and several sauces - pick a fish, pick a sauce. I had halibut with a mild thai curry sauce w/mussels and clams, with mixed veggies and some roasted potatoes. It wasn't bad. The fish was done about right, texture was a tad off, but not by much (frozen/thawed maybe an extra time?) but I took it out of the sauce right away to keep it from overcooking. The sauce was a bit flat, but not bad.

            I saw a lot of crab coming out from the kitchen, bibs and all, along with shrimp cocktails.

            Desserts - nothing inspired me. Accordingly, I saved about a thousand calories.

            The verdict - it was much better than I expected. I went to the Stinking Rose the last time so many years ago, my hair was completely brown, and I never saw a reason to return, ever. This place didn't have the meglaocorporatetouristtrapthatyouneverwanttoeatinagain aura, and it was filled with a lot of local folks, having their romantic "we got a babysitter night" night, others who were having their "I better get lucky after spending all this $ on you" dates, and others who were just out with friends.

            Service, wine prices, bread, and mussels - an A+ The rest, not bad.

            1. re: lmnopm

              After having seen their commercial many, many times I guess it is appropriate to say thank you for taking the bullet.

            2. re: rworange

              So, six of us met up for dinner at 5:00 p.m. last night at The Dead Fish. I must say I agree that the clientele really did look like they were from another era, or somewhere other that the bay area. Older women with lots of make up, bleached hair and flashy dresses; men dressed in polyester slacks and odd patterned shirts with large stomaches and long sideburns! It was a beautiful afternoon so it was lovely to look out on the water and bridge, so I focused mainly on that !

              We had a great time due to the friends gathered together, so the food was really kind of secondary. Drinks were decent; we had wines by the glass, martinis, cosmopolitans, black russians and bloody marys around the table.

              For appetizers we shared the sizzling platter of shrimp, mussels and crab, fried artichokes and fried calamari. I liked the artichokes, mussels and crab best. Temperature-wise it was great; served really hot. Definitely served promptly. Kind of messy, but that's ok!

              Everyone had different entrees, I had the spicy shrimp with fettuccine. Not bad, not remarkable, and I was more than full at the end of the meal.

              I don't know what the bill was as our friends treated, but I think pretty high with all the drinks factored in. After dinner, we sat outside with in a little booth with a heater. It was cozy as we sipped irish coffees, shared laughs while looking out at the lights on the bridge. I wouldn't go out of my way to return to this restaurant, but it was an ideal meeting spot for us coming from Berkeley and our friends from Fairfield, and served our purpose just fine.

              1. re: EileenPearl

                Eileen, thanks for the update.

                I usually get up to the 'Fish once or twice a year, and have to agree that the view outside beats the view inside by a long shot (excepting my lovely dinner companion, of course!)

                Agreed that the mussels are good. We often get an order to split as an appetizer and then use the leftover butter to enhance some of the main courses.

                As you note, the serving sizes are plentiful, and I'd be willing to accept "not bad, not remarkable" for many of the dishes. I've had generally good results with the olive oil poached and lemon caper sauce fish, but would advise staying away from the Thai curry interpretation.

                For what it's worth, I'm part of the minority here that likes their version of cioppino (pardon me, "dead fish stew"), so take that into account when considering the above.

                I keep intending to try the "Fresh Black Linguine & Clams", but never quite seem to get around to it -- can anyone offer an informed opinion?

          2. I grew up less than 1/4 mile from The Dead Fish and watched it go through several changes. When I was a kid, it was a great burger joint, then it was a Yet Wah Chinese Restaurant. Now it's The Dead Fish. It's a staple for a lot of locals in Crockett. The Mussels are amazing, their Prime Rib can be cut with a fork and the Crab Special is to die for, although expensive, but it's meant for 2 people.

            The Dead Fish is the best place that's ever been in that building. Don't expect fine 5 star dining as that is not what it is. It's a nice place to have a reasonably priced meal and it is good food. I eat all over the San Francisco Bay Area and this place is one that I go to a lot. It has become a local staple with their music on Saturday Nights and their retro bar. It is a beautiful view of the bay looking towards the Al Zampa bridge (incedently, this bridge is the reason why my childhood home no longer exists, dam government).

            I'd have to disagree that it's just barely above average. I think it's easily above average and a place that I like to go.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Tybae

              How does it compare to Nantucket?

              1. re: chow_eb

                They're 2 different restaurants really. The only thing they have in common is that they're both restaurants and in the same town. The Nantucket was ok when I was younger, now it's much better than it was. If you want good fresh fish, then go to the Nantucket. If you want good prime rib, then go to The Dead Fish.