By Dr. Ink
The long-established and family-owned King’s Fish House taps into nearly every hedonistic pleasure the oceans have to offer. Except during happy hour.
With more than 10 locations scattered mainly throughout Southern California, including Mission Valley, the regular menu offers an abundance of dishes that turn me into an aquatic glutton.
I’m nuts about their crab cocktail, jumbo Mexican shrimp, wild little neck clams, and — when my budget allows — their whole Alaskan king crabs and North American lobsters.
After recently learning the spacious establishment offers weekday happy hour in its festively decorated bar lounge, I rushed in like a ravenous shark for the kill, assuming prices on some of my favorite dishes would be slashed.
They weren’t. Although, ubiquitous fish tacos, ahi tuna, and fried calamari were a few bucks cheaper, along with a couple of sushi rolls and several non-seafood items.
Deals are also available on beer, wine and cocktails. But because Stone Cellars wines and cocktails such as cosmopolitans or agave stings don’t snag my interest, I settled with eager curiosity for a 16-ounce glass of King Crab Honey Blonde Ale for $5.50, which normally sells for $7.
For the same price, I landed an eight-piece spicy tuna roll, which goes for $9.75 outside of happy hour.
My waiter didn’t have a clue where the light, crisp ale is brewed. When I did an Internet search (while stretched out in my comfy over-sized booth), I found the ale originates from a microbrewery in Eureka, California called Top Bluff.
I’m bummed the ale is brewed only for King’s and not available on the retail market. As far as honey blonde ales go, it had good body and enough sweetness on the finish to qualify as a fine choice for daytime outings – and my fridge.
The spicy tuna roll arrived only a minute after I ordered it. Despite the waiter’s insistence that it wasn’t pre-made, I felt otherwise due to the fishy flavor and overly settled texture. Sadly, the shaved ginger served alongside tasted fresher than the tuna.
King’s happy hour menu is neatly divided into four price tiers: $4.50, $5.50, $7.50 and $9.50. At the low end are items such as french fries, edamame, and Coors Light, while the upper rung lists blackened shrimp taquitos and ahi poke. In between is a concise range of dishes and drinks such as “bar burgers,” chicken wings, Saint Archer pale ale, and a couple of wines and cocktails.
If the company is listening to this bar-crawling bargain hunter, I vote for additional craft beer offerings, better wines, and one or two dishes featuring creatures with pinching claws and hard, red shells.