Locals Days at Old Fisherman’s Grotto in Monterey
Locals Days are Monday through Thursday at Old Fisherman’s Grotto on the wharf in Monterey. From 11am to close, a special menu offers a three-course meal including chowder or salad, choice of entrée, and dessert of the day from $13 to $15. Mom and I checked it out last month for month. We simply asked for the locals menu when the hostess seated us. The menu spells out that it is limited to residents of zip codes that start with “939”.
Mom started with the clam chowder . . . and our waiter automatically brought two soup spoons so we could share. I had the house salad, served on a chilled plate with blue cheese dressing on the side. For me, the jury’s still out on whether I like raw julienne of beets.
For her entrée, Mom picked the eggplant parmesan vegetarian entree. Over a bed of penne pasta in marinara sauce with roasted veggies, the portion size was enormous served in a big deep bowl about a foot across.
The slabs of eggplant were tender and delicate, not oil-logged, but could have used more salt. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, more cheese too.
For me, the grilled sand dabs, ever so lightly breaded and grilled in butter. Four sweet little fillets were piled high on a raft of sautéed vegetables. The lemon caper sauce painted on the plate was just the right amount, not drowning out the other elements.
The caramelized onion risotto was a ball of mush. But, I especially liked the organic baby vegetables, a mix of zucchini, carrots, sugar peas, and sweet red peppers blended with fresh herbs.
Dessert of the day was key lime pie, and it was presented with ostentatious flair.
As can be seen from this profile of the slice, the pie was more whipped cream than key lime curd. Yet with the tropical fruit purees, berries, toasted almonds, and buttery graham cracker crust, this was a fine ending for an inexpensive meal.
Comparing these sand dabs with Abalonetti’s three-course offering for $12.95, the Grotto’s is not only twice the amount of food for the $2 difference is price but higher quality too. The service is also more polished and attentive. Mom enjoyed the Grotto’s water views, and the overstuffed upholstered benches in the booths are kind to old bones.
Old Fisherman’s Grotto
39 Fishermans Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
Free parking in public lot Monday through Thursday with photo ID and proof of “939” residence.