Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Two Fishermen

OK, let’s be real, dining at a strip mall isn’t my idea of fine dining.  It’s not that I’m a food snob (well, I kind of am) – I love funky clam shacks, diners, dives and hot dog stands.  I’d eat cheeseburgers and corned beef on rye w/ Swiss everyday if this were a perfect world… but going to a restaurant in a strip mall just doesn’t ring my bell, tickle my toes or float my boat…  but life is full of surprises, and Two Fisherman was definitely a surprise.

First, I’ve never been to Santa Ana, but we were meeting up with our friend Roger who suggested the restaurant for lunch.  Santa Ana is miles from my home in Studio City and to get there it’s miles of driving on construction riddled freeways.  Not an auspicious beginning… but I’m always up for a fresh fish food adventure… so Richard and I braved the cranes and traffic and arrived just in time to join the lunch crowd at Two Fishermen.

Owned by Don Kim and Chase Oh (hence the “Two” Fishermen)

Chase Oh

the little restaurant is bright (lots of window) w/ a simple, modern cafeteria-style design

 with a wall-sized mural of – what else?  A fish. (Well, there is that chef and lovely pier, but the fish rules.) 

Chase is one of the chefs, along with the restaurant’s manager, Daniel Cahauntzi. 

Chase Oh

Daniel Cahauntzi
Together with their sous chefs, they offer a variety of starters, salads, power “bowls” tacos, burrito wraps, gyros, special rolls (ie: Calif. roll, spicy tuna roll, etc.) and “fryer” dishes (served w/ pita bread and 2 sides) and grill entrees (served w/ pita bread, 2 sides, various sauce choices or tarragon garlic butter).

There are ahi tuna, Mahi Mahi, salmon, tilapia, catfish, haddock, shrimp, wahoo, crab, and calamari dishes – and for the non-fish lovers there are also chicken, lamb, tofu, and even Korean barbeque selections.  And don’t forget the “sides” which include a mint peanut slaw, a hummus veggie dip, grilled veggies, French and sweet potato fries.

What to order?  Roger helped us navigate the menu.  Richard zeroed in on the crab cakes…

Roger the salmon gyro… and I opted for the grilled shrimp gyro (it was lunch, after all, and I love “sandwiches” at lunch)…

We chose the sweet potato fries and the mint peanut slaw as our sides.

We got our number and grabbed a table.

The food arrived and, of course, I had to taste Richard and Roger’s choices, then I dove into mine… The crab cakes were served with a chipotle aioli sauce – soooo good!  The sweet potato fries were crisp on the outside and yummy soft on the inside. The gyros were filled with perfectly cooked, “just off the boat” fresh fish, crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, feta cheese, with a citrus creamy sauce (or a fat free yogurt sauce) on a sweet wheat bun (or you can choose a white bun) -- all, and I mean ALL, of my prejudices against eating in a strip mall vanished – well, at least at Two Fishermen.

The food was so good we had to try one more thing… deep fried shrimp, coated in panko.  Another winner.

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert… and Chase’s tiramisu was the perfect choice to end a perfect lunch.

So, if you’re in the Santa Ana ‘hood and are in the mood for some delicious fresh fish fare, have your car speed over to the Two Fishermen mini-mall – you won’t be disappointed.  And, it’s kind to the pocketbook, too.  I didn’t see one thing priced over $12.95 – and most dishes were in the $7 - $10 range.

If you go for dinner, be warned, the restaurant doesn’t serve wine, beer or hard liquor.  But don’t let that let that stop you.  Have a nightcap when you get home.

Two Fishermen Grill & Rolls
2321 East 4 St. Suite G
Santa Ana, California 92705

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