San Diego, CA

Watergrill - San Diego Seafood Restaurant

Dinh Lee

Watergrill is a seafood-focused high-end restaurant located in Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown, San Diego. They are known to have some of the freshest seafood and an amazing dining experience with great service and environment.

For our meal, we ordered their live California spiny lobster, their wild pacific bigeye tuna poke, their king salmon roll, and their wild pacific bigeye tuna entrée. As for drinks, we ordered their castaway cocktail and their 6th & J cocktail.

For one of our main entrees, we enjoyed their live California spiny lobster which is charcoal grilled and served with their homemade coleslaw. This specific type of lobster is found from Baja California and up to Monterey Bay. They are caught by local fishermen who catch them in traps by hand one at a time. California spiny lobsters are seasonal and not always available. They are only available from October to March. We fully enjoyed this lobster, which is all tail, no claw, and very meaty. The tail meat is extremely bouncy and meaty with a great texture that is very satisfying to bite into. It is perfectly cooked to maintain its bounciness while still being soft and tender. It is absolutely perfect served with melted butter and coleslaw.

Next, we tried their wild pacific bigeye tuna poke, which, for me, was the star of the show. It is quite a simple appetizer dish made with marinated pacific bigeye tuna, avocado, sweet soy, and sesame seeds. The tuna was incredibly fish and the flavor was absolutely amazing. I was so blown away by how much I enjoyed this dish upon my first bite. The fish was so tender and literally melts in your mouth and the flavor was a mix of sweet and savory, incredibly addicting. Served with crispy chips, this was a match made in heavy. The avocado just made everything even better. The avocado was very fresh and firm, not mushy at all, but still soft when bit into. The combination of the flavorful fix with the buttery avocado was a match made in heaven and I still think about it from time to time. I cannot recommend this more as an appetizer, it definitely set the bars extremely high for the rest of the meal.

Unfortunately, the bars were never met again because I was very disappointed by the rest of the items that we ordered. For one, I am a major sushi lover and enthusiast, so I was thrilled to see that they had a section of their menu dedicated to sushi. I figured that since it is a seafood restaurant, their sushi is probably quite good. We ordered the king salmon roll which is made with farmed Atlantic salmon, avocado, hazelnuts, papaya, and white soy lime vinaigrette. This was not my speed at all. The flavors didn’t quite work with each other and the salmon itself tasted a bit fishy than I expected. I don’t think I’ve ever had this problem with sushi or raw fish as I handle it quite well, but something about their salmon was a bit off to me. Or perhaps it wasn’t the salmon itself but the mix of all the different ingredients and flavors that was off-putting. I’m reluctant to think that it was the seafood that was not fresh because the seafood in the previous dishes were extremely fresh, so maybe the flavor profile just didn’t work for me. I really want to give them another chance so If I were to try their sushi again, I would go for their king crab California roll because that sounds insanely delicious.

Lastly, we also tried their wild pacific bigeye tuna entrée which is their pacific bigeye tuna seared and served with grilled maitake mushrooms and sizzling sesame oil. This dish really confused me. This bigeye tuna compared to the bigeye tuna in their poke is like day and night. The seared tuna itself was practically flavorless other than the seared edges which were crusted with certain spices and ingredients. The seared edges were spicy, spicier than I liked, and other than the flavor of spicy, there really wasn’t much more to it. I will say the tuna was very fresh and tender, a very satisfying texture to bite into, but it could seriously use some seasoning. Perhaps this way of preparing the tuna really just didn’t work for me. On top of that, the grilled maitake mushrooms it was served with also not enjoyable for me. It was overly spicy but lacked pretty much all flavor other than spicy. I really couldn’t enjoy this dish and was very disappointed considering how amazing their tuna poke was.

Overall, I’d say this restaurant has some really high highs but also some really low lows which shows that there definitely is potential and that dishes can be hit or miss. I feel a little responsible for not choosing the right dishes, as I know that there are probably much better dishes that they offer, however, I just have no idea of knowing which will be amazing and which will be disappointing. I would go back just for their poke though, and hopefully, I can discover some other amazing dishes alike.

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San Diego, CA

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