HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Burned at Tin Fish

Not a big fan of their fish & chips, so I usually get the grilled halibut 2-taco plate, which is reliably good. This normally comes with their waffle-cut fries – as I’m not wild about those I gladly pay the $2 upcharge to get their “fresh-cut” onion rings. I much prefer cornmeal-crusted to beer-battered onion rings, and the ones at the ‘Fish are some of my favorites.

No more. I placed my usual order, and it appeared with greasy battered rings. I asked the server if they had changed the onion rings (as they obviously had), and she said “yes, these are more consistent”. I replied “They’re Sysco, right?” She admitted that they were, shrugged, and took off before I could even ask for fries to replace them. I was in a hurry to eat and go so I didn’t press the issue, but I did notice on the way out that the menu still read “Onion Rings (fresh-cut)”. Fresh-cut 6 months ago right into the Sysco freezer, I guess.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
  1. Ugh.

    1. Sysco didn't make those onion rings. They were made by a food manufacturer such as Lamb-Weston, McCain's, Simplot or Moore's to name the biggies in onion ring production. They were frozen at the manufacturing plant and delivered to Sysco already frozen. Sysco didn't do anything except deliver what the customer ordered. Direct your ire to the restaurant that changed their menu item but not the wording on their menus, not the distributor. Why hold the distributor accountable for the product when it is the restaurant that made the choice to order it.

      Those onion rings may be pretty nastry (and, having had to taste test lots of onion rings once) I have no doubt that they are. But...they are what the customer (i.e. the restaurant) ordered. Those onion rings only hit the Tin Fish back door because some on in the Tin Fish organization ordered them.

      The Tin Fish
      2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

      8 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        Where do your favorite San Diego onion rings exist? I'm a big onion ring nut. Had some at Neighborhood a couple weeks ago (after a foray into Noble Experiment). Very tasty.

        1. re: bizzwriter

          Phil's BBQ has terrific onion rings.

          Phil's BBQ
          3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

          1. re: bizzwriter

            Almost every small Mediterranean Style place that offers Gyros makes their own thick cut onion rings extremely well. Greek Style Chicken (two locations in El Cajon) and Elsa's (El Cajon Blvd at 70th) as well as Weevil Burger (a redone Boll Weevil which offers gyros) come to mind immediately...

            Greek Style Chicken
            955 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92021

            1. re: bizzwriter

              Second to Phil's, those are great. Also Burger Lounge.

              1. re: bizzwriter

                Ritual Tavern does good onion rings.

                Ritual Tavern
                4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                1. re: bizzwriter

                  Thanks, all, for the onion ring tips. I will take some time to personally investigate each one. I really do love these molten rings of oniony excitement!

                2. re: DiningDiva

                  DiningDiva: I can't believe you're lecturing me about repulsive factory food. I _do_blame Tin Fish, completely. Didn't the title _and contents_ of my post indicate that? So Sysco just supplies them -- they're still a lousy product, whatever conglomerate made them. My complaint is with Tin Fish, for no longer making their own rings and then (by not changing the menu) misrepresenting their product.

                  bizzwriter: I'm not a San Diego resident and don't really have any local favorites. I've had Phil's rings twice -- first time they were great, second time terrible. Probably an oil-temp thing. It's been so long, I don't remember, though -- aren't those beer-battered rings?

                  1. re: Steve Green

                    SG, I'm sorry you thought I was lecturing you. That was not my intent, and I didn't realize you weren't a local. Unfortunately, there are many on this board that like the make the equation "Sysco = poor food" when that is simply not always the case. That is the filter through which I read your post. The equation should actually read "poor choices by the chef/owner/buyer (or poor production) = poor food".

                    I also think that there are truth in menu laws in which Tin Fish might be in violation. If the menu reads "hand cut" and they are clearly serving packaged, then that's a violation for which the local health department can (and probably should) cite them for.

                    For the record I've done cuttings and tastings on prepared onion rings many times. There are very few that are very good, and the ones that are need to be eaten straight out of fryer pipping hot. I don't eat onions rings very much any more, even though I love them, because they're usually so disappointing. I guess I won't be trying them at Tin Fish now, will I ;-)

                    The Tin Fish
                    2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106