Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Delivery from Pacific Catch

One night, we were really craving sushi for dinner, but didn't want to go out to get it.  I looked through all the possible sushi locations on the popular delivery sites in San Francisco: Seamless.com, GrubHub, Eat24, Foodler, delivery.com.  Sure, they had sushi, but every place that I cross referenced on Yelp scared me away.  They all seemed to be the bottom of the barrel.  I was at a loss.  We considered using Postmates to deliver Whole Foods sushi.  It isn't amazing, but seemed less scary than the other choices before us.

And then ... I remembered Caviar.  A much smaller delivery service than the others, they partner with restaurants that do not normally offer delivery, but offer takeout.  They charge a flat rate delivery fee of $9.99 anywhere in the city, and automatically add on 18% gratuity.  It isn't the cheapest option, but their web site is beautiful, with quality photos of every dish so you know what you are getting, and they provide real time monitoring of your delivery.  But the best part: they partner with places you actually want to get food from.  I've only used Caviar once before, when we wanted pizza, and were able to get Little Star Pizza, my favorite pizza in the city.  So I eagerly pulled up their site, hoping that their curated options would include sushi.  And indeed they did.  I had two choices even.

I picked Pacific Catch, mostly because I've walked by their Marina location in the past, and it always looks busy, which seems like a good sign.  They actually have 2 locations in SF (6 total in the Bay Area), and I think my order came from the further location.

Ordering on the Caviar site was easy and flawless, and I received a call from the driver when he was a few blocks away.  I appreciated being able to GPS stalk him via the website as he approached with our sushi.  No problems with Caviar, at all.

The food was fine, which is saying something for delivery sushi, but it certainly wasn't remarkable, and seemed pricey for what it was.  I'd still consider going to Pacific Catch in person sometime to get some of their other food (the menu is very extensive, featuring fried seafood, seafood tacos, etc, but those items didn't seem particularly suited for delivery), but I wouldn't go for the sushi again.  So far, no takeout sushi has even come close to the takeout sushi we had from Roka Akor.
White Tuna Poke.  $12.
I know I said we were ordering sushi, but Pacific Catch has an entire section of the menu devoted to Hawaiian Poke, in more styles than I even knew existed - 7 total, including a vegetarian tofu option.  Since they featured poke so prominently, I had to try it.  And, it was raw fish I was craving, I didn't entirely care what form it was served in, poke worked for me.  Most of the pokes are ahi based, and since we were getting an ahi roll, I decided to go for the white tuna version.

Described as "yuzu citrus, fresno chilies, white soy sauce, red onions".  Served on the side were crispy wonton chips.

This was good.  Nice sized chunks of tuna that tasted fresh.  Very thinly sliced onions and peppers.  Flavorful from the soy and burst of citrus, well seasoned.  Everything was well balanced, both in the flavors, and in the ratios of different ingredients.

I really liked the crispy wontons.  It sounds silly, but they just got these right, super crispy, not too oily, great for scooping up the poke.  But, the poke itself was so tasty, I preferred to just eat it plain, and enjoyed the leftover crispy wontons dipped into sweet chili sauce later.

Definitely my favorite dish of the night, clearly fresh, and well thought out.  I'd gladly try another variety of their poke, or order this one again.

$12 price seemed a little high for the small quantity, but this was clearly fresh, quality seafood, so it wasn't too bad.
Spicy Tuna Roll. $9.
Next, an actual sushi roll, since, sushi is what we wanted.  Pacific Catch doesn't actually serve any nigiri or sashimi, so rolls were the best we could do.  Plenty of the rolls included deep fried components, which wouldn't work for delivery.  And all but one use avocado, which I'm allergic to.  I could easily ask to have the avocado left out, but I was worried my note would get missed in the delivery order, and I'd be unable to eat the sushi.  So, I had one choice: spicy tuna.

Described as "ahi tuna, sriracha aioli, chili oil, cucumber, daikon sprouts & green onion".

The role was very mediocre.  All components were a bit mushy, particularly the rice.  I couldn't taste the tuna, as there was way too much of the sriracha aioli, which didn't actually taste like sriracha, just like mayo, but it was orange colored.  The cucumber was fresh and crispy at least.

So, somehow flavorless, just mushy rice with a crunch of cucumber.  I didn't really care for this, and it turned me off from ordering any of their other rolls too.  Price was fine.
California Roll Salad. $19.50.
And finally, we went for the only other cold choice, a salad.  They offer salads topped with seared ahi, grilled salmon, chicken, or crab salad.  The ahi looked good in photos, but since I love crab, and Ojan was craving California rolls, we went for the California Roll Salad.

Described as "meal sized" and "made with organic spring greens & hearts of romaine, real crab salad, avocado, cucumber, ginger, tomatoes, carrots & shredded nori with soy-wasabi vinaigrette".

Ah yes, avocado, again, clearly, since it was a salad version of the California roll.  I asked to have the avocado on the side, and knew that if they failed to read my instructions, it hopefully would just be touching part of the salad, and I could work around it, unlike inside a roll.

My request was honored, and the avocado came in a separate container on the side.  I didn't get a photo, but it was a generous amount.

I'm not really sure what I was expecting, since I'd seen photos, and read the description, but somehow, I wanted this to be more than just the sum of its parts.  It wasn't.  It really was just a salad.

The lettuce was a mix of spring greens and hearts of romaine, fresh, crispy enough.  Same with the shredded carrot, the grape tomatoes, the sprouts.  There wasn't any cucumber, as was listed in the description.  Nothing exciting here.

I found the addition of a big clump of ginger a bit fascinating, as it was really strange inside a salad, but given that Ojan is a ginger-o-holic and stole all the ginger from the sushi roll, this meant I actually got some.  The nori sounded great, but because it was thinly shredded was just totally lost in here.  Perhaps some kind of bigger chunks would work better.  Both of these components reflected the sushi roll aspect of the salad well.

The salad normally comes with one scoop of the crab salad, but I had them add on a second scoop (extra $4.50), since that is what we really cared about.  I knew it was supposed to be "crab salad", but I wasn't quite sure what that meant.  It turned out to basically be the filling from a California roll, which, I guess is expected.  Cooked, shredded crab.  It didn't contain any pieces recognizable as crab, which was disappointing.  While filler-style crab like this works fine inside a sushi roll, it was a bit sad on the salad.  Sorta like eating canned tuna, as opposed to the real thing?  I think I was hoping for something more like the style of crab salad you get inside a sandwich crab roll, not a sushi crab roll.  It wasn't seasoned either, so it was pretty flavorless and mushy.

The soy-wasabi vinaigrette was good, it had a bit of zing from wasabi, and the soy flavor went well with the crab.

Overall, this was disappointing, but really was what it advertised to be, it just turned out to not be what I really wanted.  $19.50 is pretty pricy for a salad, even if it has two scoops of crab salad on it, since the crab salad wasn't remarkable.  I wouldn't get this again.
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