Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pasadena Fish Market
I have been to dozens of restaurants in California in the years since then that tried to capture that atmosphere. None have. There was a cajun restaurant in Monrovia that was possibly the least consistent restaurant I have ever patronized. There is Lucille's BBQ with their over-the-top attempts at a Southern roadhouse. And even an absurd restaurant in Sacramento that hung mardi gras masks from the ceiling fans and served a shrimp po' boy as bad as any sandwich I have ever eaten.
So it was with no small amount of enthusiasm that I decided to visit the Pasadena Fish Market after a local blues musician - who grew up in Louisiana - told me that the place was fantastic and reminded him of being back on the bayou. I knew the place - I'd driven by it hundreds of times but never stopped. Never even thought of stopping, actually. But now I knew I had to go.
I showed up on a hot afternoon and stood around for a few minutes while the woman behind the counter took phone orders. It gave me time to study the menu. She apologized when she got off the phone. I ordered the lunch plate of "shrimps" and took a seat.
Ten minutes later I was handed my food in a styrofoam container and I walked over to the side of the restaurant, where the dining area is, and took a seat.
Did I share my table with three flies? I did. Was there a large oscillating fan to cool the room? Yes. Was it broken? Of course. Were these the best fried shrimp I have ever eaten in Pasadena? Indeed they were.
I knew I was going to like the box as soon as I opened it: a slice of bread lay on top a pile of crispy, seasoned fries, slaw, and at least a dozen fried shrimp. I could not believe I got all this for $6.04. Any of the "fancier" seafood restaurants in Pasadena serving fried shrimp this good would charge two or three times that price. The fries were good, the slaw was okay if a little on the sweet side (it had raisins in it), but the shrimp were spectacular: plump, juicy, perfectly corn meal-battered with sides of tartar and hot sauces.
I was pretty full when I finished the shrimp but I would be lying if I said I didn't consider getting an order of catfish or something else. Next time.
Posted by JustinM at 9:24 AM