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Pacific Time or Area 31 for regular fish

  • m

My parents only eat fish out of the house and am taking them to dinner next weekend. They are not foodies, loved red light for its clean flavors, unpretentious and simple preparations done extremely well. At the same time, they will at times not understand the big deal with going to a restaurant and having a simple piece of fish cooked perfectly, but not as part of a composed dish. Which one do you think is the better play? I have never been to Area and have only done lunch at PT recently.

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    1. re: Blind Mind

      I guess a "what he said" would have been easier

    2. They both have their merits, and the whole fish is something with which Pacific Time built a reputation. Area 31 tends to be a bit lighter and more traditional in their flavors and would fall under the umbrella of "simple piece of fish cooked perfectly". However, you'll have more selection there, all really great quality, along with phenomenal locale.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Icantread

        neither. go to The River (fka River Oyster Bar)

        1. re: HabaneroJane

          I think the River is a better contrast to Pacific Time, while Area 31 is a little more uppy, being in a higher floor, in a hotel, with valet service, beautiful space, etc.

        1. re: 2top

          I heard they are reopening with a new concept this weekend. Does anyone have any insight as to what the changes are other than a bigger space?

          1. re: mikek

            I believe Altamare will remain fish centric but the new chef is a Michael's Genuine graduate so there should be some new additions

        2. I had a very simple grilled swordfish filet at Pacific Time this weekend. While it was delicious, it was very simple and served with broccolini on the side. I did wish it had a little more to it.

          1. Karen took me to Area 31 for my birthday dinner a few months ago and while the fish we ordered was very nicely prepared, the service was "iffy". It may just have been an off night but we went on a Sunday (early in the evening) and the place wasn't very busy.

            We started with two appetizers (Tiradito and Prosciutto, Bass, and Melon) and both were very good. I ordered the whole fish cooked in a salt crust and it was moist and flaky with a good clean taste. I don't remember what Karen finally ordered but she enjoyed it. The problem was that the first fish she ordered was not available. Okay, no big deal. Restaurants run out of things and a seafood restaurant serving fresh, locally caught fish won't necessarily have every item every night. Even early on a slow Sunday night. The server waited patiently while Karen made another selection and then told her that was also not available without volunteering any additional information. I was about to ask what else might not be available but Karen's next guess was spot on. Whatever it was, she thought it was very good.

            We enjoyed our meals and, it being my birthday, decided to split a dessert. I noticed that Area 31 offers a cheese plate (Formaggi) on the dessert menu described as "selection of cheeses with accompaniments." I asked our server what cheeses were in the selection and realized that this would not end well. She didn't know so she asked the other server working near us. He didn't know but said he'd ask the manager. She came over and said she didn't know but would check with the kitchen. When she returned she said it was cheddar, a blue cheese, and some kind of goat. I was afraid to ask about the "accompaniments". We ordered something else.

            With all that, we would go back again because the fish was very good and it's possible this was just an off night for service. http://www.area31restaurant.com/

            1. Not sure from your message if you're looking for something more simple or more "composed." Area 31 actually does both (at least when I visited) - a section of the menu with composed dishes, another with several different plain grilled fish. Pacific Time is basically all composed dishes, my favorite there is the grouper cheeks in curry with bananas (sounds unlikely but it works). The menu at Pacific Time is actually not as fish-intensive as Area 31. Both are good. I go to PT a lot more often, it's a lot more accessible and less complicated than going to a hotel restaurant.

              1. How is PT in general? I have actually only been there for lunch. What are the can't miss dishes? Would you rather go elsewhere with an out-of-towner?

                Sorry for confusion. The parents like composed dishes with light, clean flavors (i.e. many of the fish preps at Red Light).

                1 Reply
                1. re: mikek

                  Here's my complete thoughts on Pacific Time ->

                  My favorite fish item may be the curried grouper cheeks. It's also a nice, very fresh tasting take on tuna tartare. I actually don't think I've ever had any of the full-size fish entrees.

                  PT is always big on the light clean flavors.