Restaurant Review : Ketch Grill and Taps in Point Loma

by on February 24, 2022 · 13 comments

in Ocean Beach

Restaurant Review

Salmon salad

Ketch Grill and Taps
2614 Shelter Island Drive
Point Loma, CA 92106

By Judi Curry

Almost three years ago to the day I had dinner at the Ketch and did a review of the restaurant.  At the time I was impressed with the menu and when I had out of town guests I took them there for lunch. But that time I was very disappointed – the menu had changed – and the food was only fair. That surprised me because the other restaurants in the chain are so good. (Miguel’s, Brigantine, etc.)  I have not been back since.  Things were about to change.

I received in the mail a birthday coupon for $10 off of a $30 purchase. Ron and Toni and Mary and Eddy had talked about us going out for my birthday and when asked where I wanted to go I suggested the Ketch.   They only take reservations for 6 or more, but we decided to take our chances and go to the restaurant. After all, it was a Monday evening, albeit President’s Day, and we were unprepared for the 30 minute wait.  However, when we were told that we could sit in the bar and wait for our table we decided to stay.

If you have ever been to the Ketch – the old “Red Sails” restaurant, you know that it is difficult to determine what is the bar and what is the seating area for the restaurant.  There was some confusion as to where we could sit; when our table would be ready, etc., and it later turned out that we were comped for our drinks because of the confusion.  Ron and I had Pina Colada’s that were only fair – while Mary had a red wine that was recommended by the server and she said was quite good.

IPA Battered Fish and Chips

We were finally shown to our indoor table – it was just too cold to eat outside – and we found that we were just as cold as if we were outside. We were seated right at the apex of where the open patio begins and the inside portion of the restaurant ends.  The cold air continued to sweep onto our table the entire time we were there, and that made our food colder than people sitting elsewhere in the dining room.  The doors to the outside are large double doors, and it would have been more comfortable for us if one of the two doors was closed, but that did not happen.

It is interesting to note that the menu had changed again since I was there.  The original menu had authentic Portuguese plates offered. I did not see them this time.  But even so, the menu had a lot for everyone, including gluten-free items.  There were appetizers, salads, chowder, sandwiches, “Ketch of the Day”, etc.  We decided not to have appetizers because the entrees seemed large enough to be filling.

Macadamia Crusted Mahi

The “Ketch of the Day” is interesting.  There were 4 kinds of fish available, and one could have them as a salad, a sandwich, Taco’s or a plate.  Ed elected to have the Salmon salad, which was a large piece of salmon on a mixed bed of lettuce.  He said it was very good.

Mary had the Macadamia Crusted Mahi, which was Mahi on toasted coconut risotto, brown butter French beans and pineapple buerre blanc.  She said that the Mahi was good, but the risotto was too thick and gummy.  It was sweeter than she was used to, but that was probably because of the coconut and pineapple combination.

Toni had the Kale and Farro salad.  It was on the menu as organic baby kale, Italian faro, butternut squash, California goat cheese, cucumbers, Marcona almonds, golden raisins and vegan honey-truffle vinaigrette.  When the salad was originally served to her, there were so few pieces of Farro that they could be counted on one hand. She asked for more and a bowl of Farro was brought to the table.  She also found that the salad was not made with Kale, but with baby Spinach.  She was disappointed with the change, and if she had been told that there was no Kale that night she would have chosen something else.

Kale and Farro salad

Ron and I both ordered the IPA Battered Fish and Chips.  The fish was served over house-cut fries.  In all fairness I have to say that my fish was good; crispy and would have been much better if it were hotter! The fries were so mushy – and cold – that I did not eat more than a few. I noticed that Ron also left his on his plate.  The tartar sauce was good, and made for a better tasting fish, but I felt that I did not get what I had paid for.

Our server was pleasant and helpful, and brought me a large bowl of ice cream with a tasty cookie in the middle to celebrate my birthday but even he screwed up.  When the bill came I asked Ron – he was paying the bill – to see if the $10 gift certificate I brought in was on the statement.  It was not.  He called the waiter over and pointed it out to him and he was apologetic and changed it, but there was no question that it was my birthday, and I had personally handed him the certificate when I placed my order.

So once again I was disappointed in the meal(s) at the Ketch.  I think it would have been better if we had not been so cold.  We all wore our jackets and sweaters during the meal.  It was also very loud and made talking to each other difficult.  My lunch earlier in the day at Miguel’s was much better than my dinner at Ketch.  For two restaurants owned by the same company the contrast in the food and service was very noticeable.  I hope that the Ketch irons out some of the difficulties we experienced tonight.  It has tremendous potential.

[Editordude: actually Judi reviewed Ketch in October 2018 and in March of 2019.]

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

judith curry February 24, 2022 at 9:17 am

I do not see myself returning to the restaurant in the near future. In discussing our meals later the next day, none of us were truly happy with the offering, and even Ed, who seldom gets cold, said he was very uncomfortable with the cold air blowing on him. Too bad.


Deb Porter February 24, 2022 at 3:43 pm

I had similar experiences each time I went to the Ketch .. (3 times). Unfortunately the food doesn’t match the lovely decor. I won’t be going there again


Sal February 24, 2022 at 5:20 pm

Unfortunately this is yet another one of those restaurants where they blow all the money on making it look good and have disappointing food. Classic tourist trap, and there are so many like that. And don’t get me started on the fact that every restaurant has their doors and windows wide open even on cold days! Shut. the. door. It’s there for a reason. I get during the last few years open air flow was a price we had to pay if we wanted to go out, but this predates COVID too.


Debbie February 24, 2022 at 7:31 pm

What is it with restaurants piling everything on top of each other ?? !!

Always ask to be moved if the spot/table does not suit you. If they can’t make you happy and comfortable it’s time to leave rather than be unhappy.


Odette February 25, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Same experience. The Ketch was good when it opened and for awhile after.
Then it went downhill. The food was not as good and got worse. I no longer go there. Went across the street to the Brigantine and it was much better. Miguel’s is better, too. Gelato store is good, too.


Vern February 28, 2022 at 10:06 am

Agreed. Seems around the time the hiramasa-hamachi tostadas we’re removed from the menu, things started to decline (food wise). Been back on occasion to support locals, but Ketch has dropped off our radar. Let the tourists have at it.
(Hint: try the Ketch “surf & turf fondue” if you really want to feel bad afterward).


Frank F February 26, 2022 at 8:42 am

Sometimes when I read Rag food reviews I wonder if the reviewer is eating at the same restaurant where I eat at. The Ketch is an awesome restaurant, one of our favorites. The line out the door is a testament to their food and ambiance.

And if you’re eating at an indoor/outdoor restaurant in coastal San Diego and you get cold easily, take a jacket.


Judi February 26, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Sorry. Just because there’s a line out the front door doesn’t mean the food is good. We were all wearing jackets. Our food wasn’t and it was cold and mushy. With the great reputation of the Brig and Miguel’s this is a huge disappointment- When 5 people get together for a meal and no one is happy the restaurant had best be checking their quality control


Chris February 28, 2022 at 6:54 am

I’ve always had a good experience there (tho I usually go to the downtown location) so I am equally surprised by Judi’s takeaway, but she’s right in that lines are not a good measure of the food’s quality. Many restaurants are popular more for their atmosphere than the food. Think all restaurants that are part of the Cohn Restaurant Group. Many restaurants are popular with tourists who don’t a have particularly high standard. Then there are people who just like standing in line for the social aspect.


Erik thomas February 26, 2022 at 2:51 pm

They even spelt the name of the restaurant wrong, it’s spelt catch as I catch a fish, there is no k in the word catch, Dudth.


Michael February 26, 2022 at 8:26 pm

Ironically, you spelled “spelt” incorrectly :)
Incorrectly is actually the only word you can spell correctly by spelling it incorrectly.


GML February 28, 2022 at 8:23 am

Ironically Michael, I believe you failed to ketch Erik’s sarcasm.


Judi February 26, 2022 at 3:10 pm

A “Ketch”
Is a two-masted sailboat. It’s spelled correctly


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