I’m a sucker for a good gimmick, especially if it’s done right. I’m not talking being served by a pirate or a creepy clown making balloon animals for whiny kids. I’m talking a good, simple concept that defines a restaurant, one that draws people in from miles away.
The Blue Water Seafood Market Grill fits the bill. It’s easy the longest wait I have had at any Triple D, even though I went around 4 pm. I had a 5 or 10 minute outside, standing behind two old ladies (who reminded me of the female version of Statler and Waldorf from the muppet show) bitching about the number of people since “that man from that show came”. I nodded in agreement and looked to the sky while whistling in hopes that my pasty white complexion wouldn’t give me away.
Once inside, I realized I was still in for a wait which in the end was a bit shy of an hour. During this hour, a number of cool and/or amusing things happened:
1. I continued to be exposed to the banter of the local gossip club talking about everything from annoying tourists to the destruction of the San Diego water front.
2. I was able to choose from any of the numerous cuts of beautiful, fresh fish cooked in a your choice marinade and served on a sandwich, salad, plate or taco. The pacific halibut was calling my name so I had it thrown on a salad.
3. I was offered a local craft beer for a few bucks in line while I waited (which I believe lead to a stunk-eye or two from the Waldorf). There is something liberating about sucking back a pint under the watchful eye of a swordfish.
4. I enjoyed watching people trying to violate the “you can’t sit until you get your food” policy. Staff patrol the grounds like parking attendants looking for violators. If necessary, they will make a scene similar to that of an embarrassing “Happy Birthday” serenade. It seems like a stupid policy until I paid, turned around and… like clockwork; a window seat magically appeared…and it was nowhere near the muppets.
For some reason, I’m missing the picture of the halibut itself but the freshness of the fish and the care in preparation was evident. It was perfectly cooked and a good portion size for the price.
They stick to what they do best…fish. A dozen oysters for $15? Shrimp Ceviche for $5.25 (with El Indio chips from next door)? A bowl of clam chowder for $4? Even today (I went a couple of years ago), the menu still offers fresh fish at great prices.
Here’s a Statler and Waldorf quote which I think is quite relevant in this context.
Statler: [Up in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf make fun of Pepe's bad jokes] Hey, the shrimp’s floundering!
[Statler and Waldorf both laugh]
Pepe the Prawn: You shut-up okay?
Statler: He told us to clam up!
Waldorf: What’s he want to do? Mussle us?
[Both laugh again]
Pepe the Prawn: Don’t get me steamed okay!
Statler: Steamed shrimp!
Waldorf: Oh, pass the cocktail sauce!
Pepe the Prawn: That’s it. I’m coming up there!
[Leaves the stage to go to the balcony]
Statler: Whoooaaa… I’m shaking!
Waldorf: You’re always shaking.
[He laughs and Statler grumbles]
In the end, like the muppets, Blue Water is a gimmick that works. If you have an hour to kill, don’t see it as a long line but instead as an experience and enjoy; the fish is well worth the wait.
Verdict: 5 Guys