Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Bridgeworthy: Fish Guts, A Taste of Baja in Barrio Logan

Fish Guts, one of Barrio Logan’s newest restaurants, sat empty under construction for over a year, maybe more. Its sign and unusual name teased passersby leaving one to wonder if it would ever officially open. Recently, as I turned onto Logan Avenue, there it was, Fish Guts all lit up. It got my attention like a tequila headshake in Mexico; the only thing missing was the whistle. 

Exterior of Fish Guts in Barrio Logan.

Coming up in San Diego in the ’80s, punk and ska dominated the music scene. Does the name Fish Guts or its skeletal fish carcass logo put out a real Fishbone vibe, or is it just me? The band Fishbone’s fusion of ska, punk, funk, metal, reggae, and soul set it apart from the standard two-minute, three-chord assault of the other bands of the day. Fish Guts might just be the Fishbone of taco joints. This place is mixing things up and doing things differently, executing just a few things flawlessly.

Entrance to Fish Guts in Barrio Logan, any one else getting the Fishbone vibe?

The all-seafood menu features seven tacos, two appetizers, and one dessert. Headlining the drink menu are four regional signature margaritas made with agave wine. The selection of craft beers from across the border and a few old standbys, Modelo Clara and Negra, was well-thought-out. The two wines available are from the Guadalupe Valley, an Un-oaked Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The first thing I noticed when I bellied up to the bar in this cozy little space was the black and white picture of Marco Pierre White on the far wall. Immediately I knew there was a real chef at the helm. 

Wall at Fish Guts featuring a picture of Marco Pierre White.

I approached the pass-through to the kitchen and complimented chef and owner Pablo Becker on the photo. He responded, “he’s the man,” and fist-bumped me. The meal was going to be a great one; I just knew it. First, we ordered a couple of Modelo Negras and scoped out the appetizers.

Chef Pablo Becker, Fish Guts

You had me at Ritz crackers… the Smoked Fish Dip was a welcome surprise: smoked monchong fish, pico de gallo, roasted serrano mayo, and lime. I have not forgotten, “Everything tastes great when it sits on a Ritz,” but I was scraping the bowl with my spoon long after the crackers had gone. 

Smoked Fish Appetizer with Ritz crackers at Fish Guts.

On to the tacos, the tortillas melted in your mouth; they were so delicate and, of course, made in-house. Pablo’s mother, Lourdes, was behind the bar helping out; she informed me the fish was all from Tunaville, no surprise there. It was evident that everything at Fish Guts was of the highest quality. 

The Taco De Fish and Chips was a departure from the classic Baja fish taco mainly due to the addition of potato salad made with Mexican tarter sauce and crispy potato shavings that topped the lightly battered and fried Gold Spot Bass. 

Fish & Chips Taco at Fish Guts in Barrio Logan.

There was a definite kick to the Taco De Espada. The spicy aioli and blackening seasoning on the white fish cut right through the cooling effect of the jalapeño-cabbage slaw.

Taco De Espada, Fish Guts Barrio Logan.

If you close your eyes when biting into the Taco Al Pastor, you almost mistake the achiote Chile guajillo marinated salmon for meat: the cured onion, cilantro, and sweet pineapple chunks round out this nicely balanced taco.

Taco Al Pastor, salmon and chunks of pineapple at Fish Guts.

They have one vegetarian option, the Taco De Hongos (Fungus), which features oyster, cremini, shitake mushrooms, shallots, serrano, a bright tomatillo salsa, and Manchego cheese, two ways: fresh and griddled crispy. 

Unfortunately, they were out of this mushroom taco and the Ceviche Estilo Acapulco appetizer. I will return to finish tasting the rest of the menu, especially those margaritas. Fish Guts is a hefty dose of “ Everyday Sunshine.”

Fish Guts
2222 Logan Ave, San Diego 92113

Dinner 4:00pm – 9:00 pm | Tuesday – Saturday
Sunday 11:00am – 6:00pm
Closed Mondays

 

 

 



Clyde Van Arsdall
Clyde Van Arsdallhttps://oliveavenuesupperclub.com/
Clyde is a trained chef that has worked in hospitality for nearly 40 years. In addition to cooking, he is a freelance food writer and storyteller. Currently he works for CH Projects managing the pool and Beginner's Diner at the Lafayette Hotel. Clyde is a third-generation Coronado local, CHS graduate, and father of three. He also owns and operates Olive Avenue Supper Club, a boutique catering company specializing in culinary experiences. You can follow his culinary journey on Instagram @oliveavenuesuppper and read all his stories at www.oliveavenuesupper.comHave a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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