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Home / Articles / Eats / Food & Drink /  On the dock of the bay
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Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009

On the dock of the bay

Waterfront dining without the pretense or the price tag

By Candice Woo

Hudson Bay Seafood Restaurant

1403 Scott St.Point Loma619-222-8787

At the recommendation of a local fisherman, I met up with a friend at Hudson Bay Seafood to try it out for an early dinner. The sun was still sparkling, and we were drawn by the promise of prime waterside seating and a good meal, usually mutually exclusive elements. My go-to spots for simply prepared seafood, El Pescador and Blue Water, have the delicious food down but lack the view.

Even for two longtime San Diegans, Hudson Bay Seafood was hard to locate, tucked behind Point Loma Sport Fishing’s bait-and-tackle shop, in a building shaded by tall trees. The parking lot in front of the restaurant charges by the hour; save your dollars for food by finding a free spot on a side street.

The vibe here is much more low-key and less hectic than neighboring Point Loma Seafoods, and though the menu is smaller, it’s offerings are fresh and locally focused. Owner Mitch Conniff, a San Diego chef with a sport-fishing background, took over Hudson Bay Seafood from its previous owners last November. He overhauled the menu, getting rid of dishes that used frozen or shipped-from-far-away fish. Now 75 percent of the seafood Conniff serves is from waters around San Diego and Baja, and he’s continuing to work to increase that percentage.

Ordering is done at the counter, where you pick up your drinks and leave your name so the servers will be able to find you when they deliver your meal. We found seats on the outside balcony that’s lined with a narrow eating bar and stools, providing a spectacular view the San Diego skyline and local dock life in the boat basin. From the lineup of local and regional taps, we chose Scrimshaw pilsners from North Coast Brewing; the crisp, clean-tasting beer was a great match for seafood and perfectly thirst-slaking.

We shared a homemade clam chowder that was fine, not too thick or potato-laden, if a little under seasoned. Local seafood—filets of fish, scallops and more—are seared on a flat-top grill and served on a salad, in a sandwich or on a platter with french fries or roasted red potatoes. I chose the local halibut, sandwiched in a huge torta roll. The filet was fresh but cooked until a bit overdone, losing some of its moistness. The sandwich had all the right parts, but with so few simple ingredients involved, each element needs to be spot-on. A basket of fried calamari on a bed a fries with homemade tartar sauce was good, and Hudson Bay’s seafood tacos, my new favorites, are hard to beat—the grilled fish and garlic-and-lime-marinated shrimp versions are particularly tasty.

Conniff, who most recently worked as a banquet chef at Hotel Solamar with Jsix chef Christian Graves, says he has plans to add a meat grinder to the kitchen so they can freshly grind beef for their popular burgers and make seafood sausages in-house.

Hudson Bay also serves breakfast egg dishes like benedicts, burritos, chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, feeding early-risers and the groups embarking on the chartered fishing boats that leave from the neighboring docks. While we ate, we were entertained by the free wildlife show before us—brown pelicans jostled for the best dockside perch and seagulls bobbed in the water beneath our feet, hoping for an errant french fry. A parked rowboat nearby was filled with a congregation of fluffy, long-legged snowy egrets, and just a few feet away, two seals swam along the pier and amongst the fishing boats, no doubt enjoying their own fresh seafood meal. Write to and