Restaurant Review : the New Oscars of Ocean Beach

by on September 18, 2013 · 6 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

 Oscars smokfish jc Oscars
5060 Newport Ave
Ocean Beach, Ca 92107

 This review is a difficult one for me to write because in March of this year I reviewed the “Newport Avenue Yacht Club Restaurant” – virtually the same restaurant as Oscars – same owner, same address – and gave them an outstanding review. Shortly after I reviewed it – 10 days after they had opened – I was informed that it was no longer the Newport Avenue Club but was now called Oscars.

I have a new foreign language student living with me – Riccardo – and he mentioned to me that he had a delicious smoked fish taco at Oscars and wondered if I had ever eaten there. I should mention that he is only 19 and is unable to go to places like South Beach because of the age requirements. He told me the taco was one of the best he had ever had and I should try it.

So, I called my neighbor Jim and asked him if he would like to go with me to try out Oscars, particularly since he had been my partner when I went to OB Fishers. I knew he would accept and we went last Thursday, at 6:45pm.

My immediate response was that it hadn’t changed much since it was Newport Avenue Yacht Club. It looked a little more run-down; the menu board was the same black slate with writing on it but the offerings were a little more extensive. I did not see any fried fish or French fries on the menu, something I commented on in my original review.

Oscars menu jcA very nice feature was a complimentary cup of fish soup, replete with many vegetables, as we were placing our order. Andrea said the soup was made with yellowtail, and it was delicious.

Since Ricky had suggested we try the smoked fish taco, Jim and I ordered one and shared it. It was prepared with shredded cabbage and slices of avocado and cost $3.75. We each ordered the “Especial Taco plate – served with shrimp, spicy fish and scallops – and it cost $4.75. In all honesty, the “Spicy” was a little too much spice for me; the shrimp were delicious, and if there were scallops I did not taste them. Jim ordered a side of beans ($1.50) that he said were good, but I noticed that he added a goodly amount of salt to them.

Andrea, the order taker, was delightful, and knew the menu well. What she didn’t know was why John, the owner, changed the name of the restaurant and altered the menu slightly.

Oscars inside jcIt is interesting to note that he still does not have a beer and wine license and I heard a customer tell a member of his party that he was going to go down the street to bring back a beer. I ordered a strawberry Jarritos – $2.25 and Jim had water. They do not offer ice tea.

The food was good; served quickly and well presented. BUT….throughout the entire meal we were fighting off flies – mainly fruit flies. They were everywhere; on my cup; on the food; on the table. Fruit flies are relatively easy to get rid of – a little apple cider vinegar, mixed with a dollop of liquid dish detergent, and a little bit of water. I don’t know if the flies were all over because we were seated next to the trash container – which I didn’t notice until we finished our meal and looked for a place to put our trash. (All the foods were served in paper or Styrofoam cups.)

Jim pointed out to me that the cleanest place in the restaurant was the bathroom. The dining room looked like they didn’t expect anyone to eat inside; benches were on top of benches; we had to move things around in order to sit comfortably. (It was breezy and we elected not to eat outside.) While there, there were two single men that came in and one family of 3. They all ate outside in the patio but one remarked that he wished people didn’t stand in front of the restaurant and smoke.

Oscars bathrm jcThere are still no sides served with the menu items; the cabbage and avocados gracing the food was fresh; and all but two items – the skirt steak taco and a surf and turf taco – were fish.

I asked Andrea if John was there to talk to but she said he was ill and had taken the night off. It was nice to see that she and her mother – Amalia – were working together.

So … would I go back? I don’t think so. In spite of the food being good, the lack of cleanliness bothered me. I kept wondering what the kitchen must look like if there were so many flies in the main room. (The kitchen is hidden behind a wall and one cannot look in while ordering and/or eating. ) The fact that the bathroom was so clean tells me that the restaurant can look the same way, but it needs a little more tender care.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Tyler September 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

It’s September. You are going to find flies at ANY restaurant with open air in OB.

Best fish tacos in OB hands down. I’ll take them over the ranch dressing drenched tacos at South Beach any day.

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avatar judi September 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

I disagree with you, Tyler. The food is great, no doubt about it, but there are “flies” and there are “fliessssss”. The amount in the “dining room” far exceeded the amount of “extra protein” I am willing to eat. There are ways to handle the insects – even in an open air restaurant.

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avatar Goatskull September 19, 2013 at 8:11 am

Perhaps point out the excessive fly issue to them both in person and/or Yelp. Give it 6 monthls and hopeully they will have fixed or at least improved the problem.

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avatar Debra September 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I made up my own homemade bug killer, by putting a few drops of liquid dish soap, about 2 or 3 Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into a 6 oz old spray bottle and filled the rest with water. So far, it’s worked on houseflies (after numerous sprays), those pesky gnats and white flies on my geranium–without any side effects.

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avatar judi September 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

It works on your white flies? I am overrun with them. Will have to try it TODAY!

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avatar OB Mercy September 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Oscars was just voted best tacos in SD by Ian Pike of the Reader, 4.5 stars on Yelp for all 3 locations…is a pretty amazing feat, and another great review in SD Magazine here http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/Blogs/Food-and-Drink/Winter-Spring-2013/Everyday-Eats-Tacos-at-Oscars-Mexican-Seafood/

I have to tell ya Judi, on the whole Net, yours is the only negative review. I do understand reviews are subjective, but you might need to give them another chance. I agree with Tyler on both points….there are TONS of flies everywhere, even at our beloved Raglan right now. And they totally beat South Beach, never understood why so many like that drenched in sauce taco, overloaded with cabbage…and not even fresh fish! Oscars….always fresh.

The only thing that’s a bummer, is that when I went in there a few nights ago, I asked what happened to the free broth filled with fish they were giving away with a purchase, just like German’s Mariscos Truck does and they said they don’t do that anymore. I showed my disappointment, and they gave one to me. Would it kill them to keep that going? I don’t think so, it’s only a small styro cup.

Anyway, in a town FILLED with fish tacos, it’s not easy to stand out. But IMHO and obviously many others, Oscar’s does.

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