Los Angeles has never been thought of as a “seafood city” in the same way that a Boston or New Orleans or Seattle is (LA has never had the fishing traditions that can be traced back to the early foundations of these cities), but in recent years there have been several restaurant openings looking to change that perception. Proven standby’s like Providence and Water Grill remain at the forefront, with more recent additions like Son of a Gun, L&E Oyster Bar, and Connie & Ted’s providing a formidable selection of choices to cure serious seafood hankerings. However, there’s one name that’s overlooked far too often when it comes to seafood in this city, and that’s Fisherman’s Outlet.
Located on a rather bland stretch of Central Avenue, it originally opened in 1961 as a fish market at the hub of downtown’s business, garment, produce, and of course, seafood districts. Fifty years later, business is good as ever, the chaos during peak lunch hours is truly a sight to behold, orders yelled and trays served at breakneck speed. Despite the crowds that show up Monday-Saturday, it amazes me at how many people I talk to who have never heard of it.
Fisherman’s Seafood Gumbo (L) [$7.95]
Though it may not strike you as a must-order, the seafood gumbo is about as authentic as you’re going to find outside the state of Louisiana, overloaded with chunks of spicy Andouille sausage, tender scallops, shrimps, and crawfish meat. Lost somewhere beneath the rich and hearty soup is a bed of rice to absorb the multitude of Southern flavors going on.
Orange Roughy [$14.95]
You can always count on any charbroiled fish to arrive simple and perfectly-cooked. The orange roughy was flaky and moist, with a meatiness to it that explains its nickname as a “poor man’s lobster”. The tangy cajun sauce served on the side adds a depth of flavor to the fish, but purists only need a squeeze of lemon.
Giant Combo Shrimp & Scallops [$17.95]
My go-to dish at Fisherman’s Outlet consists of two colossal shrimps, butterflied and separated from the shell, alongside four jumbo scallops grilled to perfection. Even with the application of FO’s addictive garlic butter sauce, the fresh, ocean flavors of the shrimp and scallops remain at the forefront. The fries are probably frozen, but let them soak up some of the sauce and you’ll find that they’ve managed to disappear from your plate before you realize it.
Admittedly, the location may take you a bit outside of your comfort zone the first time you visit, and it may be intimidating to have to yell out your order in the midst of the madness at its busiest times, but Fisherman’s Outlet consistently executes it’s mission of delivering generous portions of quality seafood at affordable prices. Although Los Angeles may never be mentioned in the same sentence as other cities when it comes to seafood, places like Fisherman’s Outlet offer an experience uniquely LA, where appearances mean nothing, and good food eaten alongside better people means everything.
529 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dine date: Wed 06.10.13, 2:00pm