By choice, I recently uprooted my life as a newspaper reporter in Michigan to pursue a longtime dream of living on the West Coast. With that move has come a 10-month rollercoaster ride of emotions, both good and bad.
One of those poor, unsuspecting riders of this rollercoaster has been my dad, who has been a rock and strong support when I feel I’m at my most crazy.
I’m living with him and my stepmom until I land a better-paying gig that will allow me to live on my own (or at least get an apartment with five other roommates).
I know living with someone as mega-sensitive and emotional as me is not easy as I go through the highs and lows of figuring out my life’s direction. Keeping up with the highly competitive job market in the Silicon Valley, establishing new friendships and avoiding the dread of online dating are just a few of my concerns.
Despite my ongoing anxieties, my dad always reassures me that I’m not going insane but just experiencing the growing pains of starting over.
So the very least I could do for this man was go in with my stepmom to treat him to a well-deserved, thank-you Father’s Day dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, The Fish Market in Santa Clara.
One of the reasons why we enjoy this restaurant is because the food is consistently delicious. As frugal as I can be, I don’t mind spending more if the food leaves my palate and my belly satisfied after each visit. The Santa Clara restaurant, which has been around since 1979, prides itself on offering the freshest of seafood options and updates its menu daily to reflect changes in season, availability and fishing luck, according to its website.
Dish of Choice
For starters, we ordered the Garlic Cheezy Bread, which takes the restaurant’s signature Romano cheese sauce and bakes it on top of a split sourdough loaf. We also ordered the Salt & Pepper Calamari, cooked in tempura breading and served with a side of sweet chili sauce.
For my entree, I ordered the Mesquite Grilled skewered combination plate with pacific red snapper (or rockfish), white tiger shrimp and sea scallops. The dish came with two sides, so I chose the Au Gratin potatoes and roasted vegetables.
My father chose the Seafood Salad & Avocado, which was dressed with cucumbers, green beans, hard-boiled egg and king crab salad with basil vinaigrette. My stepmom ordered the Washington Myagi Oysters, coated with Panko breading with Au Gratin potatoes and coleslaw. Along with three iced teas, our bill totaled about $84.
The Garlic Cheezy Bread was the highlight of our meal. The bread had a delightful crunch, toasted just right on the edges but still soft on the inside. If you love garlic, you’ll love this appetizer because the garlic flavor is strong. The cheese sauce had a bold, hearty taste, and it created a delicious, bubbly layer on top of the bread.
I liked that the calamari breading was light in texture, but I wish there was a smidge more seasoning. I also enjoyed that the chef incorporated bell peppers and jalapenos, which brought subtle heat to the dish. The sweet and sour tang of the chili dipping sauce was an interesting switch from the aioli and marinara that is typically paired with calamari.
I liked the mild tastes of the snapper – which had the right amount of flakiness – as well as the shrimp and sea scallops. I didn’t get a strong “fishy” taste, which I appreciate. The restaurant takes the seafood in this dish and charbroils it over hot mesquite coals. This brought a smokiness to the edges of the meat without burning it to a crisp.
The seafood paired well with the creamy richness of the Au Gratin potatoes and the roasted vegetables, that were cooked just enough to leave a subtle crunch (there’s nothing worse than mushy vegetable medley).
Every time we go to The Fish Market, we have received consistently good customer service along with a delicious meal. Our waitress Charming was very courteous and attentive, talking to us as if we were old friends. She made us feel at home.
The Santa Clara location is just one of six in the state and has become a popular staple among local residents and the business crowd, according to its website. The restaurant also has a retail seafood market that displays fresh fish everyday and an oyster bar that fills up pretty fast with hungry customers.