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Jul 18, 2011 12:06 AM

Sea Rocket Bistro Review

Full Review with Pictures:

Uni in shell, a simple presentation that looks anything but. No foams, emulsions, or aiolis to be found. Just straight up sea urchin gonads and a spoon. Ballsy move chef Chad, I like it.

uni in the shell, lemon, smoked sea salt

In fact, I like all of Sea Rocket Bistro. From the quirky decor and laid back ambiance, to the local, sustainable menu and impressive craft beer selection.

There are places I go looking to be dazzled by some inventive combinations of flavors, inventive spins on old classic, or novel technique. And then there are places I go when I want simple, well prepared ingredients, with little to no risk involved in having an entree “work”. No matter where I go, I always show up hungry.

Market Halibut – Seasonal Vegetable

Vegetable Risotto – seasonal vegetables, gouda, herbs de provence

Beet Baklava – roasted beets, goat cheese, macadamia nuts

In case the menu descriptions don’t make it obvious enough, Sea Rocket Bistro falls into the latter camp. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, or the halibut, beets or risotto for that matter. They’re focusing on providing quality, well prepared food, in a laid back setting.

I’ve seen a few mixed reviews of Sea Rocket, but I can’t find any reason to fault the place. Everything I tried, I enjoyed. The service was friendly and efficient (the two most important things) and I even spotted Chef Chad chatting with patrons in the main dining area. I would be happy, and plan to visit again.

Sea Rocket Bistro
3382 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

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  1. The mixed reviews are likely from prior to the new chef's arrival.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      It really has improved quite a bit all around since the new chef took over.

      1. re: Josh

        It's been a few years since I've been back, because I wasn't impressed. My key question about the new chef - does he use salt? I think the main problem before was lack of flavor.

        1. re: ekomega

          Short answer - he does.

          well the uni came with sea-salt (not needed) something like grilled mackerel surely won't either. The Halibut had a nice flavor - it wasn't the best cooked piece I've ever had, the accompanying vegetables were salted. As an aside, when you order the fish, it's mostly just the fish - you'll want to order a side or shared plates. .

          The risotto (which wasn't exactly risotto - but a good cheesy rice) was very flavorful, ditto the baklava.

          I didn't mention the soup du jour, but one of my dining companions had it. I took a taste and it was very garlicy.

          1. re: Rodzilla

            Was not aware of the chef change. Look forward to a revisit now. Nice write up.

            1. re: gbrl

              I've been in since the chef changed. I REALLY wanted to like this place as I am a huge fan of local, sustainable and meats you can feel good about and the food sounds really good. I went in for their Monday $10 burger night. It was not great. The bun was so stale it basically ruined everything. I ordered it medium rare on the rarer side. It was almost well done, I asked the bartender and she said, "Oh I thought you ordered medium." ???? I also ordered the uni on toast, it was fine & an appetizer I plain forgot what it was. I don't think we will return. I realize this is not a meat place but, if you have a burger night you advertise in a big way the burger should be awesome and you shouldn't make your guests feel like the cheapskates who ordered the special.

      2. Visited last night- enjoyed the entire meal. It was happy hour, they had these great mini fish tacos. The thresher shark entree was quite tasty as well.

        1. Husband and I just had dinner at SR last Wednesday night. The meal was wonderful, we were so excited to have such a quality meal, and then....

          I just read the chef is leaving to go work for Brian Malarkey at his new place polyester or cotton or whatever the heck it's called....;((

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dagney

            But he still will be involved with the restaurant and the sous chef is now chef de cuisine so the quality of food should be the same in the future.

            1. re: honkman

              I'm was so relieved to hear this. When I first read that Chad White was headed to Gabardine, my first thought was, "just when Sea Rocket started to get it's groove...poof, it gone". Hopefully, the new chef will be just as good. At the same time, Gabardine just might live up to it's hype after all.

          2. I like the attention they give to vegetable sides here. We had a few of them recently and loved them all. I wish more restaurants did this. I'd come here just to eat that.