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BEACH GOURMET: Gladstone’s 4 Fish, Gladstone’s 4 Fun!

It seems that Gladstone’s has been on the beach, serving its trademark clam chowder, since God was in shorts. Located at the junction of Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard, Gladstone’s has been baiting local and visiting fish lovers since its inception by Robert Morris in 1981. Morris identified a need for beachfront dining in the area, and established the restaurant with his own Clam Chowder recipe, that is still pleasing palates over 28 years later.This past (glorious) Sunday, I encouraged the Mirror editor, TJ, to accompany me to Gladstone’s for a late lunch, and also to experience his first visit to this Westside landmark.Parking is “valet easy” ($6.00 per car or $3.00 per motorcycle), and the inevitable weekend wait on such a beautiful day is to be expected; For us it was about 1/2 an hour, tempered of course by the beautiful weather, and amazing views, available from the large dining deck. We were eventually shown to our booth that was perfectly positioned for priceless views across the beach as well as the perpetual expanse of The Pacific Ocean.The menu at Gladstone’s is, as expected, dominated by the fishes. These fishes come in an assortment of packages. Sandwiches and salads, entrees and oysters, and pastas and platters, to name but a few. But, to start, we decided that we simply had to share a bowl of their claim to fame, The Chowder (“that made us famous,” it said right at the top of the menu!). It arrived very quickly (Gladstone’s really does have the production down pat, as dishes arrived at tables in a fast and furious fashion), and was hot and creamy. Accompanied by the tasty table bread we both agreed that this chowder was no imposter, and its recipe clearly had a secret ingredient or two. Wholesome, full of flavor but not overly heavy, it was as good as it gets.We studied the menu for our entrees, and although tempted by such tantalizing delights like the 12oz Australian Lobster Tail ($70.95), The Alaskan (one pound extra large king crab with 8oz filet, $78.95) or the exotic “market price” options (all served with a couple of sides), not being employees of AIG, or having been included in any latest “stimulus plan,” we decided to check some of the more fiscally responsible choices, of which there are many. TJ went for Fish and Chips (Alaskan Cod filets with coleslaw and chips, $23.95), and I chose the delicious sounding Blue Crab Cakes (with spicy tartar sauce and two sides, $23.95). Again, both arrived speedily, courtesy of our chirpy server, Robert, who was the consummate professional (I was shocked to later discover that this was his sixth day…still in training!). TJ’s fish and chips was traditional, but with a twist. Instead of French or steak fries, Gladstone’s interpretation is to serve the dish with potato chips, yes, that’s right, the kind you buy in a bag! Novel, and with such a hearty helping, satisfying to boot. The serving included three robust pieces of Alaskan Cod encased in crispy and tasty beer batter. It was rather good indeed, with the moist fish flavorful and tender. TJ was more than happy, and I enjoyed my donated sample also.My Blue Crab Cakes were scrumptious. Three healthy patties, well seasoned and served with my choice of baked potato and corn on the cob, this plate hit the spot for sure. Tartar sauce was supplied in stereo, one standard and one spicy. The spicy one had a good bite and was not uncomfortably hot at all. In fact, I don’t believe I touched the other one at all, the spicy version was certainly a good compliment for the crab cakes.One last thing. During the month of April, Gladstone’s is hosting Jazz weekends in aid of The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. Every Saturday and Sunday (except Easter Sunday, April 12th) the patio will play host to local school Jazz bands, so as well as cool seafood, stunning views and a refreshing sea breeze, you will be graced with the soothing tones of some, apparently, very good musicians.Gladstone’s 4 Fish, Gladstone’s 4 Fun, and in April, Gladstone’s 4 Jazz. Enjoy it, we did!17300 Pacific Coast Highway310.454.3474.

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