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Fish Story | Napa

Author: | posted 10/5/10 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Fish Story Lobster Roll

Forget everything you know about fish and chips. Because you’ve never actually had them until you’ve eaten them at Fish Story.

Imagine, if you will, angel wings of beer batter and flour gently floating over moist, flaky local rock cod. Take it for a salty, vinegary dunk. Cram it all into your mouth until your tongue sizzles and burns. Finish with a soul-satisfying crunch against your back molars. Kennebec french fries soak up wayward morsels of oil and fish and batter, all the more delightful for their service.

Best. Ever. And that’s no fish story.

Perched at the edge of the Napa River in the enviably cool Riverfront development (home to Morimoto and the soon-to-open Tyler Florence eatery, Rotisserie & Wine), this Lark Creek Restaurant Group (Bradley Ogden & crew) opening is a biggie.

At the helm is Chef Steven Barber who left BarbersQ to open the restaurant. A restaurant veteran of MECCA and Bambu in SF, he’s long been on the critic’s radar and will likely get plenty of nods for his this new venture.

With daily menu updates, the restaurant sources fish and shellfish according to the notoriously strict sustainability guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program and Barber’s using the former Copia gardens to farm herbs and produce. So don’t expect to see swordfish on the menu anytime soon.

Here’s the fork-11.

The Food: It’s a lengthy menu broken down in to Raw Bar, Soups & Salads, Starters, Rolls & Burgers, Features, Today’s Fish and Seasonal Sides.

You’re here for fish, so don’t miss the freshest flavors of the sea in their simplest form. Fish Story is bringing in seafood from around the US (and beyond), so you’ll find Massachusetts clams, Florida Shrimp, Hawaiian ahi tuna tartar (yes a usually yawn-worth menu inclusion, but given an incredible prep with hazelnut oil, avocado mousse and Fresno chili, $14). Fish Towers are date-impressers in three sizes (Keeper, $36; Whopper, $68 and Moby Dick, $99) showcasing a variety of shellfish. Of course bigger is always better.

Fried Monterey Bay Calamari ($10.5)and Fried Ipswich Full Belly Clams ($14) are getting high marks, but there’s no denying Fish Story’s take on the East Coast “Roll” — Bay Shrimp, Maine Lobster or Dungeness Crab. Its a wedge of soft bread stuffed with huge chunks of (in my case) lobster gently dressed with mayo and spices ($21).

Opening entrees include Chili Roasted Dungeness Crab ($18.5 for half/$34 whole), North Bay Cioppino ($26), pan-roasted Halibut and Grilled Idaho Trout ($18.5), along with the Rock Cod Fish & Chips (made with house-brewed Fish Story Ale, $16.5), and Shrimp and Grits ($19). There are, of course, several non-seafood options for abstainers. But come on, really?

Today’s Fish is similar in concept to what’s done over at Go Fish — a selection of daily fish prepared simply with a choice of sides, salsa verde or citrus butter ($17 to $39). Sometimes simplicity is best. And for dessert, don’t miss a cup of the Lark Creek group’s signature butterscotch pudding.

The Drinks: Wines on tap are a nice touch, and the Fish Story Ale on draft is currently “arriving soon” though other beers and speciality cocktails are available. A fresh blended lemonade ($3.95) and other mocktails make for a less tipsy indulgence.

A bright interior overlooks the river

The Vibe: The dining room isn’t huge, and even at lunch can fill up as eaters gawk at the live lobster tanks and spectacular riverside views. If you’re reservation-less, pull up to the bar, where service is polished and you can gab with your neighbors. Don’t feel the need to dress up, this is strictly casual. There’s a kids’ menu, so the nippers are welcome as well.

The Outlook: Things seem to be going swimmingly for Fish Story, a much-needed seafood-centric eatery that lets its fish do the talking. Beyond fresh and local, Fish Story walks the walk with serious sustainability as well.

Fish Story: 790 Main Street, Napa, 251-5600. Open M-F for lunch 11:30 to 2:30pm, Dinner Sun-Th, 5:30 to 9:30pm, Fri/Sat 5:30 to 10pm.

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15 Responses

  1. jessica January 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I was VERY disappointed with this place! I will never go back. I went with 5 other people who all agree. Our food was just ok. It was over priced for the size you got. Everything should have been larger portions for the price. Our reservations were at 8, we arrived at 7:45p and were seated at 8:20. We asked the server who was nice for several things that he failed to do or bring. I didn’t even bother with dessert I didn’t want to waste another dollar or minute there.

  2. wrecked 'em October 8, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    and they have a layaway plan for the lobster dishes.
    of course, it’s proper to perch on your seat at a fish place.

    • biteclub October 8, 2010 at 9:58 am #

      funny. very funny. my son took my leftover lobster roll to school for lunch. I’m like, “Dude! That is a $20 sandwich. Eat it with care!”

  3. Erin October 7, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    I, too am obsessed with the fish & chips at Fish in Sausalito (also well known for serving sustainable seafood) so much that, hardly a day goes by that I dont wish I was sitting in the Sausalito harbor stuffing those delightful fried bites of the freshest halibut i have EVER tasted into my gullett :) WIth that being said, I will try Fish Story and see how they measure up. So far, BiteClub (BTW Heather, you were hilarious at the Regatta, with your little megaphone talking about porky goodness) has been pretty on point, I just have a hard time believing that there are fish & chips out there that even hold a candle to the ones served at Fish. I look forward to the taste test :)

    • biteclub October 8, 2010 at 9:57 am #

      See what you think. I had the ones at Fish a while back and they are pretty rockin’ too. I was just so impressed with the Fish Story ones. Thanks for the props for regatta. That was a freaking long, hot day.

  4. sagart86 October 7, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    The “Hook, Line and Sinker” combo is a good deal too. For only $27.00, I had the Little Gem Salad and the grilled Idaho Trout, but you can also get a cup of clam chowder and shrimp & grits ,and it all comes with Butterscotch pudding. Nice outside area right above the Napa river.

  5. N October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    Will us common folk be able to get what you got or did the owners recognize you and give you special treatment?

    Also, what on earth is a “fork-11″? It must be an actual item because I can’t think of any other reason to write the word “fork-11″.

    • Kate October 8, 2010 at 9:10 am #

      fork-11 appears to be a pun on 4-1-1 aka information. I thought it was kinda clever and silly.

    • biteclub October 8, 2010 at 9:57 am #

      Yeah, it’s a take on 411. I was trying it out. I think its funny. But yeah…not everyone thinks I’m as funny as I do. :)

  6. MJF October 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    I’ve become rather obsessed with the fish and chips at Fish in Sausalito, but you wax so rhapsodic I will accept the Fish Story challenge!!

  7. CD October 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Sounds good. Although, am I the only one that tunes out when there is talk of another new Napa restaurant?

    • biteclub October 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

      Um, not much opening over here lately. So, one has to ramble a bit.

  8. Wojamo October 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Looks/Sounds yummy! But, um, where are the rest of the prices? Entrees? Desserts? I just need to know how many of my kids I’ll need to sell before going there (they need to pull their weight somehow!)

    • EMJ October 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

      Menus with prices are on their website. Can’t wait to try it!!

    • biteclub October 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

      Prices added. I hear they accept children as payment. They need someone to clean the lobster tanks.

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