I attended an opera matinee this afternoon and afterwards we wanted to get a bite to eat. We ended up at Spike's Africa mostly because it was the first thing we came to walking and it was starting to get chilly outside.
Sat at the bar, ordered the following:
Crab Hush Puppies
Fish of the Day Ceviche
Mussels in Coconut Curry Sauce
+ drinks (2 tangerine margaritas and a Patron Reposado)
* Hush puppies were more like round crab cakes, not greasy, and fairly tender, but had some weird spice in them that prevented them from being an outstanding app. Dipping sauce, which looked and tasted suspiciously like 1,000 Island dressing didn't really go that well with them. This dish, while well executed, had the potential to be really good, but fell short due to flavor profile.
* Where the hush puppies missed the mark, the clam chowder certainly more than made up for it. Creamy, rich and chock full o'clams. Excellent rendition of a West Coast version of an East Coast specialty.
* Fish of the Day Ceviche would have been a whole lot better had it not been made mostly from very strong, very fishy, dark meat fish. Accompaning tortilla chips were on the verge of stale. This dish was a pretty big miss and very close to inedible due to the fishiness of the fish. The only thing that saved it was the generous blob of guacamole it came with.
* The mussels in coconut curry were fabulous. The mussels were big meat specimens that were tender and not over cooked. The coconut curry sauce was so delectable you could slurp it down solo, which we did. Unforutnately, there were extraordinarily long juliennes of carrot that also came with the dish that were annoying and difficult to eat because of their length.
The tangerine maggies were heavenly, the Patron a mistake because it's, frankly, not that great a reposado and was way over priced at $12.
The bill with tax but not tip came to $87 and change for 3 drinks, 1 soup, 2 apps and one entree, all ordered off the lunch menu. Prices go up at dinner. The mussels and the soup did warrant their price point, the ceviche, hush puppies and Patron did not.
El Agave has a very large and diverse selection -http://www.elagave.com/tequilamenu.html
El Vitral downtown has a very good selection too, but someone on this board said they thought it was closed, which means you'll have to go to Otay Ranch to experience it, and based on the Yelp reviews, that might not be such a great idea.
If you're looking for mezcal, try Mayahuel up on Adams a half block West of 30th
Thanks for the review. Yelpers seem to love it but I never trusted their palates. The few negative reviews I read very much mirrored yours. When I'm back in SD for the summer I'll have a looksy ;) I know what to order now!