When local restaurant veterans Jeremiah Higgins, Mike Anderson and chef Scott Leibfried joined former L.A. Galaxy soccer star Cobi Jones to open Arch Rock Fish in the summer of 2010, they set themselves the unpretentious, yet ambitious goal of establishing a “neighborhood joint.” “We want to see people often, not just once a month,” says Higgins. Located on Anacapa Street and named after a land formation on Anacapa Island, the restaurant features brushed concrete floors, butcher-block tables, booth seating, cocktails, a stellar wine list and the main draw: superb, reasonably priced seafood from Pacific and Atlantic waters.
Forget the $7 bottle of water that every restaurant offers; Arch Rock Fish filters its own and serves it free in a retro glass “milk” bottle. Grilled fresh salmon with fennel, radishes and arugula is just $18. Beer-steamed mussels: 12 bucks. Weekday specials include the Monday crab boil and the Tuesday clam bake. The salmon burger is killer, and the lobster roll was created by popular demand.
The food is delicious but not fussed over, evidenced by sea bass served with lemon oil, lemon zest and pico de gallo, – simple. “If you have great fresh seafood, you don’t need to do a lot to it,” says Leibfried.
The native New Yorker and former sous chef to “Hell’s Kitchen” chef Gordon Ramsay grew up fishing with his father on Atlantic piers and then “getting clam chowder on a dock,” which he recalls as “pretty great.”
He wants Arch Rock Fish customers to have a similar experience. “We cook here in a way that is all about the fish,” he says. Simple, honest, well-prepared food and drink at fair prices – good “bricks” if you’re building a neighborhood joint.
Arch Rock Fish
608 Anacapa Street
805.845.2800 • www.archrockfish.com