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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Walt’s Wharf
201 Main St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740
(562) 598-4433

Take a beautiful day in southern California, a beach, a pier from which we can watch swimmers, windsurfers, surfers and kite boarders frolic in the Pacific, a lovely Main Street lined with intriguing shops and restaurants, and you might be in Seal Beach, named not for aquatic animals but for Navy Seals, those highly skilled, brave Special Forces charged with dangerous and heroic tasks as they serve our country.

Our Uncle Jesse chose his favorite restaurant there—noted for its special culinary skills—and took us to Walt’s Wharf where the motto is “If it’s fresher…it’s still swimming.”

Walt’s Wharf was Uncle Jesse’s first choice on our previous visit to Seal Beach, but the line of diners waiting for dinner snaked around the block. This time we lucked out and in an earlier hour were quickly seated.

Walt’s has that “beach” feeling yet is not too casual. The décor and staff immediately give us the feeling that we’re entering a restaurant anxious to offer a wide variety of fresh, innovative and tantalizing dishes.

The menu is extensive and changes daily. Everything is appealing. It’s hard to choose.

Walt’s dinners include a choice of soup or salad. Aunt Jeanne chooses the salad, but we three try steaming bowls of Boston Clam Chowder. It’s marvelously thick, and hearty with clams and potatoes. It is accompanied by chunks of crusty bread. Had the bowl been bigger, dinner would have been complete!

Our entrees are as beautifully presented as they are delicious. Uncle Jesse chooses Oak Grilled New Zealand Orange Roughy with papaya and red chile salsa, scalloped potatoes and steamed organic carrots. It is a provocative intermingling of flavors and textures, and it’s beautiful. Uncle Jesse proclaims it delicious and eats with great gusto.

On the advice of our waitress, Shayna, I choose Oak Grilled Mahi Mahi stuffed with Blue Swimmer Crab and mozzarella cheese, and accompanied by asparagus, and lemon caper sauce. It is light and moist and served on a bed of Black Hidden Rice. Rob selects the Oak Grilled Local Swordfish with pineapple and Fuyu Persimmon salsa, crispy herbed risotto, sautéed bok choy and caramelized red onions with balsamic glaze. It’s Rob’s nature to try local fish whenever possible, and he is rarely disappointed. Rob and I trade tastes, and both are excellent.

Aunt Jeanne decides on the Fresh North Atlantic Sea Scallops, oak grilled medium-rare, with melted leeks, sautéed mushroom, and fingerling potatoes with a roasted red pepper nagé. It, too, is scrumptious. There’s so much that she brings half home for the following day!

Dessert is tempting, but absolutely out of the question. Just a smidge of room left for a comfortable cup of coffee. Great company; great dinner. Uncle Jesse was absolutely right. Walt’s Wharf is terrific.

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