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Jun 22, 2012 07:17 AM

Redondo Beach (Pier and environs) rec's--please help!

My boyfriend lives within walking distance of the RB pier and likes to go to Quality Seafood. I love seafood and grew up in New England with places near the shore that look similar in feel to QS, but every time we go to this place I've had a mediocre experience. To me, the word quality should be in quotes. Honestly, I am beginning dreading going to this place. And yet he wants to go this weekend.

For instance, I was so excited to try their fresh uni (I'm an uni lover and experienced uni eater) but wound up hating it--all I tasted was super salty sea water. I've had live uni before at a sushi place and this was a completely different experience, so I know it wasn't the fact that is was live that made me not like it, but rather the way it was "prepared". I've had also had grilled local halibut at QS and IMO they overcook it. My BF's salmon looks overcooked to me too. Nothing about this place is appetizing to me. Yet he really wants to go there and I don't want to be difficult.

Maybe I am ordering wrong? If anyone can make a recommendation that would be terrific!

Is there any decent, -cooked- non-fried seafood on the pier? The BF doesn't do raw seafood so I need someplace that isn't raw-only. I need to find a place that I can live with, and eat something without getting a stomach ache.

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    1. re: Servorg

      this. i have the same issues with QS.

      izakaya bincho is also on the pier, while the standing room and eat at joe's are nearby.

      1. malibu fish grill is not bad, but it's not on the pier (maybe that's a good thing! lousy parking, though). i'd avoid captain kidd's.

        i wish there was something like la jolla's el pescador on the pier.

        1. Uni myth: Opening the live urchin fresh in front of the customer means it's gonna be great uni, right?

          No. Contrary to popular belief, cracking open uni just before eating doesn't ensure quality.

          The quality of the urchin roe within the shell is an innate biological characteristic and pre-determined even before opening. Opening the shell in front of a customer does nothing to improve or detract from the quality of the uni within. There's no way to predict the quality of the uni until it's tasted.

          That's why "fresh uni out of the shell" is a scam, in my opinion. Opening a live uni is a crapshoot - you have no idea if that uni (while undeniably fresh) is gonna be good, mediocre, or bad.

          The uni are sold in Japanese markets (generally higher in quality) are already extracted from the shell. The uni-monger sorts out different quality tiers before it's brought to market and puts them in different wooden trays - this way, proper price levels can be set based on quality. Chances are, the uni monger, who is far more experienced at predicting which urchin will have the best roe, will open those shells first at his/her facility to determine the best prices. Meanwhile, some of the more questionable urchins get shipped off to restaurants intact for the "fresh uni out of the shell" ritual.

          Quality Seafood, located in the lower level of the pier, is a no-go for me, simply because I'd rather enjoy the breeze and view on the upper deck of the pier.

          My favorite orders at Pacific Fish Center are actually the steamed spot prawn & dungeness crabs (neither of which are raw) - I order the sashimi platter 'cuz my guests usually go "ooh" & "aah" when they see it ordered at another table. Their sashimi platter is certainly pretty, but the taste is not particularly noteworthy. There's also fried clam strips for your SO.

          Izakaya Bincho is definitely worth hitting. Then afterwards, it's a short drive over to Handel's Ice Cream on PCH for a sweet treat.

            1. re: ns1

              GREAT article -- I just learned something new. I wonder what grade of uni I've tried at Go's, Mori, and Zo? Lately I've been going to Hiko and his uni is really divine.

              This sentence "Good uni resembles a kitten's tongue, plump and beady with papillae." made me laugh because prior to 2010, I had a fear of uni and had never tried it, because to me, I thought it resembled the texture of my cat's tongue.

              I am so glad I eventually mustered up the courage to try it, though!

              1. re: sablouwho

                We have recs for you in the other thread for what you are looking for.

            2. re: J.L.

              Oh, I am totally with you regarding the fresh uni myth and am quite aware re: sorting into grades based on quality (mainly because I follow great posters like you here on CH :-). I was simply curious to try it in this manner at QS because I'd read about some ppl had reported good experiences with it. That and frankly, on the day in question, NOTHING at QS appealed to me and I kinda had to order -something-.

              As for Pacific Fish BF definitely wouldn't eat the fried clam strips--we're not looking for fried seafood. I wish that I could get a better idea of what they serve to see if there is anything there he would eat. (Ditto for myself--I like sashimi but I'm spoiled by Go's Mart so I doubt I'd order it at PFC).

              I get the feeling that if we go to the pier, he will want fish, not Izakaya. (Frankly, I would prefer the Izakaya, but he's treating so if he wants fish...) I think I'm a much more adventurous eater than he is.

              It's a bit of a challenge in our relationship, really. He likes more simply food than I do--steak, burgers, grilled salmon. He thinks that the places I pick for us to eat are too "foo foo" for him (despite the fact that he appreciates my focus on organic/farm-to-table ingredients).

          1. re: uni

            QS is the raw experience. Take the uni, crack it open, give it to you.

            @ Sushi joints, if you buy live uni they take out the innards and wash them out before returning it to you for consumption.

              1. re: Servorg

                Been to Kincaid's before with prior boyfriend, actually! Bluewater Grill looks good--never been there before, will check it out. Thanks.

              2. I am going to add --> if there are other good rec's in the Redondo area (beyond just seafood and beyond the pier area) I'm really open to hearing about them. My dear BF has simple tastes in food and a few of the places we've gone to (not just QS) have been really hard on my stomach.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sablouwho

                  Does the BF like beer?

                  Select beer is a newish bottle shop and tasting room where the old CHP surf shop use to be.

                  You can do beer tastings there.


                  It's a bit of a challenge in our relationship, really. He likes more simply food than I do--steak, burgers, grilled salmon. He thinks that the places I pick for us to eat are too "foo foo" for him (despite the fact that he appreciates my focus on organic/farm-to-table ingredients).

                  Interesting dillema, I'm glad my GF and I are on the same page when it comes to food.

                  Although I would not equate organic/farm -to- table as foo foo, I have an idea what your getting at.

                  1. re: burntwater

                    You are going to think we are really lame...he and I are very very modest when it comes to lightweights. I've never ever seen him order a beer. It would be fun, though, to check out this place as it looks cool...I've never learned thus far to enjoy the taste of beer (or coffee, for that matter) but maybe if I did a tasting this place would actually find something that I would like. (The closest I can get to beer is hard cider, which I do like, though I can never finish the huge glass most places serve.

                2. Yes, you were the OP wanting a place with valet parking for a blind date last September. Is that the guy who now is the BF?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nosh

                    I definitely started a thread asking for good blind/online date venues, and I remember there was another CHer who only wanted valet-only venues, but she was someone different than me.

                    I've been on what seems like a zillion blind/online dates, which is how I met the guy I'm seeing now, but we've only been going together 4 months so he wasn't from last September. Thanks for your interest, though, and what a good memory you have ! :-)