Well after three attempts to have a meal at the new Corner Fish Grill in Mission Viejo, I finally got in. The first three times after they opened, I came to closed doors saying that they needed additional staff training. Well, Monday evening I finally made it in. The kitchen was a-buzz with activity with three line cooks plating dishes and a busy front counter. When you walk in you run right into the counter with no menu’s displayed, instead, laminated menus. There is seating for about 40 with “bar” seating towards the front with a view right into the kitchen.
After looking at the menu, I decided I would try the Halibut ($13.95), grilled with a side of rice and slaw. Turns out they ran out of rice and I had to settle for french fries. I also opted to try their a-la-carte Taco special (2 for $5.50)with one grilled shrimp taco and one breaded and fried shrimp taco. Fellow foodie, Niyaz at the OC Register said his dish was more fine dining in appearance than it was fast-casual so I was looking forward to a nice meal this evening.
It was about 8:00 in the evening and there were probably about 6 other patrons in the restaurant. There were no “Now Open” signs in the window and the tinting of the windows makes it looks like it was closed from the outside. The inside of the restaurant is very spartan with nothing on the walls. From a design perspective, I would have lowered the hanging lamps another foot closer to the tables and I definitely would have had some art work on the walls to make it feel a bit more cozy. The tables weren’t adorned with anything except the salt and pepper holders. A displayed menu would have been nice too.
So 15 minutes came by (the cashier came by twice to apologize and assure me it was on its way) and I was presented with my dish. My halibut was a small piece with fries and slaw spread out over a large plastic plate. Hardly the fine dining experience my colleague experienced. I overheard the couple at the other table who also just got their food and they said they expected more fish for the money. He went on to say that the Olive Garden had more bang for your buck. Unfortunately I had to agree. I paid $13.95 for my dish.
I was hungry so I dove in. First of all, it was salty. Another couple two tables behind me said the same thing a few minutes after I got my food – so I know I wasn’t the only one thinking that. The halibut was a bit overcooked. The slaw was tasty and I tore thru that. So what about those fries?? They were cold and weren’t fresh. Needless to say, they were left on the plate. For 15 minutes of waiting and not getting my original rice selection, I would have hoped I would have gotten fresh fries.
So let’s move onto the tacos. Both were served on flour tortillas (you have a choice of flour or corn when you order), cabbage and their version of pico de gallo. I actually liked their condiments, small diced pieces of jalepeño gave it a kick. But the disappointment here wasn’t the flavor (I actually liked it) but it only had one shrimp in the taco cut up into three pieces. Honestly, I think I get more shrimp in a Del Taco Shrimp Taco than I did here. Both the grilled and fried shrimp tasted great, I was just yearning for more. The cabbage and pico de gallo were about 85% of the filling.
I really wanted to like this place. But after several attempts to eat there and being greeted with a closed sign (three days after their opening date) then getting the food I had today, sadly I am not impressed. I will go back there in two weeks and see if things have gotten better there.
Corner Fish Grill
26051 La Paz Road
Mission Viejo, CA 92691