For our 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner, I took the wife to Monterey’s Fish House, which had been recommended by a good friend I knew when I was teaching at the University of Hawaii.
We’d been touring Monterey all day. We didn’t want to go back to the Carmel Valley Ranch because of the traffic construction that delayed us when we left the resort, would delay us if we returned, would delay us when we drove back to Monterey, and possibly delay us again when we returned to the resort after dinner.
Consequently, we arrived at the restaurant around 4:30 in the afternoon; it didn’t open for dinner until 5 p.m. So, we parked at the adjacent tile company lot, thought twice and moved to street parking around the corner. Had to respect the business, y’know.
After waiting 30 minutes, we walked back to the entrance, only to discover a long line of about 40 people who had parked in the tile company lot. Damn, that’s what I get for being considerate.
Of course, we stood at end of line, and just barely got seats at the oyster bar after being told a wait for a table would be about an hour. Most of those in front of (and behind) us had reservations, so the alternate choice was the best bet.
Our oyster shucker/waiter was Chris, and he was a helluva whiz at what he did. He took our orders in turn, in between shucking oysters for the packed house. Friendly! Efficient! Excellent! Fast! Personable! There aren’t enough words to describe him.
The wife had some seafood mix and I forgot to take a picture of her entrée because mine arrived at the same time.
Chris laid a plate of Calamari Steak before me, sautéed in butter, along with a plate of penne and veggies, all of which he sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.
It was a tastiest, most tender and deeply flavorful calamari I’ve had in a long, long time. Certainly, I’ve never had anything like it in Hawaii.
I can’t have Italian food without having a dessert. The wife and I split a tiramisu, which actually could have been dessert for four, it was so big. It was accompanied by a huge scoop of pistachio-flavored gelato, and was one of the better tiramisus I’ve ever had. If I were still rating tiramisu in my now-defunct Heavenly Tiramisu website, I’d give it a 10.
I need to go back and try other dishes there. But next time, I’ll know to make reservations ahead of time, get there early, and park in the tile company’s parking lot.
Monterey’s Fish House, 2114 Del Monte Ave., Monterey, CA 93940. Phone (831) 373-4647. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dinner: 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.