California spiny lobster season is officially in full swing - so where's the best place to ravage the sweet flesh of this Pacific sea bug?
Tucked away amid the hustle and bustle of Point Loma 's historic fisherman enclave is Mitch's Seafood. But its discreet location - behind Point Loma Sportfishing - is all the better for taking in San Diego Bay's beauty while tearing through a fresh catch, likely harvested by Mitch and other local fishermen. Suffice it to say, this modest seafood joint is a favorite among locals and has become a destination for Taco Tuesday warriors.
Right now, Mitch's mouthwatering spiny lobster special includes a whole lobster - simply seasoned and grilled - served with drawn butter and an ear of corn prepared similar to Mexican-style street elotes ($36). Not feeling that hungry? No problem, because there are half orders for $18.
Because of our regional ties to Baja, San Diego sees plenty of spiny lobster prepared Puerto Nuevo-style, but in my opinion, frying the delicate meat overcooks it more often than not. Sometimes, simplicity reigns supreme, and that's certainly the case at Mitch's with their clean-tasting, juicy presentation.
1403 Scott St., Point Loma. mitchsseafood.com
Lobster rolls are having a moment in San Diego, and come later this month, the popular sandwich will be clawing its way into North Park's ever-evolving food scene at Pete's Seafood and Sandwich. Chef and owner Peter DeCoste is a San Diego transplant by way of New England, where he grew up in the business - at his father's restaurant, and then later working at his brother's three seafood joints for 24 years.
For DeCoste, it's all about giving diners an authentic taste of the foods he grew up with.
"We'll have a traditional Maine lobster roll, which has just a touch of mayonnaise on a New England-style hotdog roll, buttered and grilled on the outside, giving that hot-to-cold contrast with the lobster meat," he explained.
With chowder practically running through DeCoste's veins, it's not surprising that he's particular about that recipe, too. He said that while many places serve a meat-based chowder, his is all about the seafood, and prepared simply with big-clam flavor in mind.
Most of the seafood will come from Maine, he said, with some locally harvested fish on the menu. There will also be po' boys and East Coast, Italian-style sandwiches, like eggplant parmesan. This particular location - the former home of Searocket Bistro and Bazinga - has yet to see a concept stick; however, things are looking bright with Pete's approachable menu that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
"I don't want anything here to cost $20, that's not what I'm about," he said, adding how much he loves the North Park community, where his sister has lived for the last 10 years. "I needed the weather, so I moved here, too - worked at Lefty's (Chicago Pizza) in Mission Hills for four years, and decided to take a leap of faith and open my own place."
Pete's Seafood and Sandwich is slated to open the last week of October; for updates, "like" their Facebook page. Hours are slated for from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
3382 30th St., North Park. bostonpetes.com