Just relaxing on an islet in the Caribbean

Monday, January 31, 2011


A neighbor from the South Bay has made a comfortable home in our charming community. Settled upstairs (above Tommy Bahamas) in the notable Heisler building with views of the dazzling Pacific Ocean is ROCK’N FISH, a steak and seafood restaurant. Owners and high school chums Michael Zislis and Jim Donegan often conceived serving American fare and classic New Orleans cuisine to hungry patrons and with two other Southern California locations these mates have accomplished their goal opening their latest venture in beautiful Laguna Beach. Expect proprietors Michael or Jim to stop by your table for their nightly meet and greet to make sure everything is copacetic from service to food. Upon entering ROCK’N FISH a staircase beacons you up into a wonderfully designed restaurant where four popular Laguna Beach artists showcase their creative and whimsical custom-made workmanship. Adjacent to the main dining room is a great bar that boasts several flat screen televisions where friendly mixologists aid you in fulfilling your cravings for signature libations of all types. Rock’n Spirits sets the bar very high with an inventory of 47 tequilas, 29 different vodkas, 43 Scotch Whiskies to mention a handful. If you are a connoisseur of draught beers the 24 on tap will quench your brew thirst! For special private events the separate dining room with an extensive wine cellar accommodates fifty guests.

Chef Joseph Tripi, a 24 year veteran in the food industry, has teamed up with Newport Meat Company, Santa Monica Seafood and LA Specialty to dish up the best quality meats, freshest fish (which is shipped in daily from local purveyors) and finest produce. Unlike the competitors, ROCK’N FISH’s unique method of grilling the meat and seafood over 100% red oak wood makes a noticeable tasty difference. Foodies, you will not be disappointed!

My favorite item on the appetizer menu is the Signature Grilled Fresh Artichoke and the side of roasted garlic aioli…it is FANTASTIC and you can really taste the red oak grilled flavor difference! Where most restaurants boil the artichoke, Chef Joseph first steams then grills adding salt and pepper. I make a point to order the artichoke every time. Another choice starter is the light and Crispy Calamari with tarter sauce and horseradish cocktail sauce. Along with ten different appetizers you may also enjoy fresh seafood starters: Poke Martini, Colossal Shrimp or Dungeness Crab Cocktail and fresh shucked Oysters. Arthropod lovers will not want for fresh, well-prepared seafood at ROCK’N FISH.

For a delightful salad try the Blue Cheese Wedge. A huge chunk of cold and crispy iceberg lettuce arrived at my table slathered with a creamy mixture of Mine Shaft Blue Cheese dressing, sweet red onion slivers, thick crumbles of Nueske Applewood Bacon and candied walnuts. The salad is refreshing with an excellent balance of sweet walnuts and salty bacon.

Hubby had the Oak Grilled Chicken Sandwich and within several minutes devoured every morsel. With a facetious tone I asked him if he enjoyed his “sammie” and almost choked on a chunk of iceberg when I heard him say, “It’s better than mine!” (guys, my hubby is an outstanding home chef with very “high” standards!). The chicken breast is marinated for 24 hours in a special sauce giving it a great flavor then served hot on a freshly baked sesame seed bun with all the accoutrements. A “must try” on my next visit.

The “D.Z.” Burger will knock your socks off. Oak grilled Angus beef is cooked to order then topped with gooey melted Gruyere and Mine Shaft Blue Cheese, caramelize sweet onions, Applewood smoked bacon and garlic aioli on a grilled French roll. The burger arrived to our table long after the other entrées and although it was a tad bit salty we all decided this burger was well worth the wait and sodium bloat.

My carnivorous craving for the Aged New York Steak was appeased when my chow arrived with perfect grill marks and cooked to order medium-rare. The fare, along with my side of sautéed garlic spinach and coleslaw was simple yet enjoyable and my predatory craving indulged.

Unless you are on a serious low-fat and calorie restricting diet at all costs avoid the Seafood Jambalaya! A steaming hot dish piled high with fresh clams, shrimp, chunks of moist fish and spicy Andouillesausage in a Cajun cream sauce is served over your choice of rice or linguini. After one taste, I could feel my coronary vessels constricting but my tongued dance the boogie woogie when these flavors passed my lips…I highly recommend this dish! Heck, order it as a first course and share it with your dinner group that way you may all share in the calories!

As the waitress meandered towards my table the slight pang I felt deep within my gut slightly intensified, therefore, when she handed me the dessert menu I considered tossing it on the floor…glad I didn’t! After all, how could I turn down a sweet confection from ROCK’N FISH since all my other meals from this dining establishment have been pretty dang good? Repeated flashbacks of the intense savor of Sticky Toffee Pudding, a steamed - dark brick of delectable moistness enhanced with a caramelized butterscotch-like flavor and toffee sauce, keep firing off in my brain. Alas, I would love to thank the Queen Mum herself for sharing this glorious sweet pudding with us yanks!

My experience with other cuisine from the ROCK’N FISH menu left me feeling very satisfied since they were very tasty, well prepared and fresh. I have dined at ROCK’N FISH on several occasions and although the food is very good, more than once the service was careless with cocktails taking too long to arrive to my table, dirty dishes and empty plates hanging around a tad bit too long and one evening my dining partner’s entree arrived long after I was done eating mine. I am hoping before summer with the huge crowds of tourists arriving in town the service will improve. All-in-all, I am glad ROCK’N FISH decided to grace Laguna Beach with its presence and I know we will enjoy a splendid relationship together!


Rock'N Fish on Urbanspoon

Open Daily 11:30 until close
Great $Price$ Point
Wonderful Wine, Beer & Spirit Selections


  1. I can't WAIT to try it =)Looks delish!


  2. Thanks "Uptown"...you will leave happy! xo

  3. What other restos do these guys own? And I will say that when I ate there, I was not that pleased but I didn't try anything you had, so next time I'm in town I'm heading back!

  4. Greetings Monica (my daughter's name)!
    ROCK'N FISH Manhattan Beach & ROCK'N FISH LA Live (Staples). I'm glad you will give them another chance. Cheers!

    P.S. I love your hours (3:06a.m.). Haha!!