Seafood lovers rejoice: There’s a way to satisfy cravings for fish tacos AND sushi, in one restaurant.
The family-owned Bird Rock Oyster and Sushi Bar opened for business just two months ago, and already it’s finding its niche within the community, developing a loyal customer base.
Co-owners Gabriel Uribe and Albert Sandoval have been longtime connoisseurs of this fusion-style cuisine, and were eager to introduce the concept to La Jollans following the success of Uribe’s restaurant, Baja Oyster and Sushi Bar, in the South Bay area.
“People like to try something different; we’re here to offer that,” Sandoval said.
“We want to give them something authentic and homemade,” Uribe added.
To emphasize this, once a guest is seated, “we explain the different dishes and how we prepare them,” Sandoval said.
Everyone receives a sample cup of the consommé, the seafood-based broth flavored with onions and cilantro that’s used as a base for the restaurant’s soups. For an instant soup, patrons can crumble some chips from the complimentary basket placed on their table and add it to the consommé. Those who want something a bit more elaborate are offered selections such as the 7-Sea Soup, which pretty much contains every type of seafood the ocean has to offer, including shrimp, octopus, fish, scallops, crab claw, calamari and clams, plus vegetables.
There are numerous traditional Mexican-style dishes on the menu, from Burritos filled with chipotle shrimp to Ceviche Tostadas topped with smoked fish. One of the highlights is the Shrimp Fried Tacos, which Uribe said is much like the ones eaten on ranches south of the border.
Then there are the “Chef’s Specialties,” which include entrees such as Lobster and the Clams Stuffed with Seafood. On a recent evening, the “Chef’s Creation” — which varies — was the Shrimp Rockefeller, a “comfort food” dish that was perfect for a chilly evening. Shrimp and creamy spinach were enveloped by melted cheese, which had bits of bacon that added a hint of a smoky flavor. On the side were rice and salad.
As the name implies, oysters are one of the main attractions, and they are served up in several different ways: half shell; stuffed with shrimp; “Rockefeller” style; fried; grilled; and the Kumamoto (a prized variety in the oyster world).
And of course, there’s sushi — an entire page of the menu is dedicated to the Japanese delicacy. Many of these rolls are named after popular locations in Baja, including the Tijuana Roll (eel and cucumber wrapped in avocado) and the Cabo Roll (spicy tuna and cucumber, topped with albacore and avocado). One of the signatures is the Santo Tomas Roll, which contains yellowtail, cucumber and sprouts wrapped in rice, then garnished with spicy tuna, albacore, tuna and curls of avocado. Another is the K-38 Roll, which features soft shell crab, shrimp tempura, avocado and cucumber encased by rice, then decorated with spicy scallops.
The Japanese theme also carries over into desserts, with Tempura Ice Cream and Cheese Cake Tempura. Lunch specials are available from noon to 4 p.m. daily, with a half-dozen selections that range from the Garlic Octopus Burrito with rice and beans to the 9-Piece Sashimi with Miso Soup.
Recipe of the Week: Spicy Shrimp Tacos
Makes 4 tacos
• 15 shrimp, diced, peeled and de-veined • 1 Tablespoon butter • Garlic, to taste • 2 scallions • 2 sun-dried red peppers, deep-fried, chopped and diced • 2 Tablespoons white wine • Dash of Worcestershire sauce • Dash each of salt and pepper • 4 tortillas • 4 Tablespoons shredded cheese • Diced cabbage, to taste • Cream sauce with mayonnaise, to taste • Lemon juice, to taste Melt butter in a pan; add shrimp and sautee with garlic, scallions and sun-dried red peppers. Add white wine, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt, and continue to sautee until cooked. Next, put a tortilla on a griddle, and add 1 Tablespoon of shredded cheese. When the cheese is melted, add the shrimp mixture (with 3-4 shrimp). Repeat for the remaining three tortillas. Top each taco with diced cabbage, cream sauce with mayonnaise and lemon juice to taste. NOTE: For a Surf & Turf version, add New York steak!
Bird Rock Oyster and Sushi Bar
Open Since: 2014
The Vibe: Casual, Relaxed
Address: 5752 La Jolla Blvd.
Phone: (858) 412-4105
Signature Dishes: 7 Seas Soup, Chef’s Creation, Shrimp Fried Tacos, Bird Rock Roll, Santo Tomas Roll, Baja Roll, K-38 Roll, Cabo Roll
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Patio Seating: Yes
Happy Hour: No