Need perfectly cooked fish for lunch Saturday, SF Bay Area

For mom’s birthday. The last time she visited, she brought her own fish up from LA and cooked it in my kitchen. Which is fine, but not really fit for a birthday celebration.

Other restrictions: can’t be a fatty preparation like fried fish or fish drowned in butter. Prefer to stay away from Chinese food.
She arrives at the Oakland airport at 10 am and we have a 20 month old who needs to be in her crib in Oakland at 1pm.

Any ideas out there? I’ve been brainstorming for a few weeks already, nothing comes to mind.

Bon marche (sf) is doing a melt in your mouth skate wing. It’s in brown butter though, not sure whether that’s ok. Check with them before going, for availability.

Thank you for the suggestion, they are closed for Saturday lunch unfortunately but I will keep your tip in mind for the future.

Single-portion sized boneless salmon fillets are my go-to when unfussy, non time-consuming fish is needed. Lightly cover all over in a little neutral oil (I find OO too flavored), season with S&P, and roast uncovered, skin side down in a thoroughly pre-heated hot oven for about 8 minutes. 450 is probably hot enough. Best to use a shallow metal tray, lined with non-stick foil if you have any.

The fish is fine hot or cold and forks off the skin easily on your plate. Serve with buttered Yukon golds and a green salad. Quick pickled broccoli can be made a day ahead and is a perfect side. The deep green makes an attractive plate with the pink fish.

I’ve just re-read and realized that you are looking for a restaurant rather than a recipe.

I think I’d better steer clear of any complicated tasks today!

They have started serving Saturday lunch, I think?

I presume you would prefer East Bay given the 3-hour window. Calavera does a nice whole grilled fish (branzino, red snapper), and good possibility they would do for lunch if you called and requested. Sushi is an idea. There are seafood view places on the water that may work out ok for what you seek if they are having a good day (Scott’s Seafood in Oakland, Skates in Berkeley, etc.). Jack’s at Jack London doesn’t have the view really, but the food is likely better – I just never warmed to the place, vibe, or the cost. Yankee Pier in Lafayette is a good choice through the tunnel.

Yay! I think Yankee Pier fits the bill quite nicely. The others don’t offer as many non-fried non-raw seafood choices. I’ve never been to Yankee Pier but the old reviews on Chowhound are very good. I will report back so that Hungry Onion has a recent review.

But if fried is okay for someone, whole belly clams can be had at Yankee Pier too, saving trip to Woodhouse in SF.

Two of us can eat fried food, but I did not grow up eating fried clams. The once or twice I’ve had them, they weren’t very “clammy” flavored because it seemed like the breading overwhelmed the flavor. I really enjoy steamed clams simply because they taste so purely clammy. Am I just trying the wrong version of fried clams? If so, I would definitely be interested in trying a proper version, I don’t want to miss out on a great clam dish!

You might have had clam strips which are made from a different animal than Ipswich clams that are used for the whole belly dish.

Yankee Pier did not disappoint, it was ideal for what I was looking for. My lobster roll contained a good amount of high quality sweet lobster meat sandwiched between a buttery brioche-like bread. Potato chips and coleslaw on the side were solid. Father had ciopinno,which he loved but did not share with the rest of the table. The salmon we ordered for kid and mom were both perfectly and simply cooked. The only dish that was subpar was the ceviche, which didn’t have enough acid or flavor and the pieces of fish were the size of bay shrimp. With the exception of the lobster dinner special at Jacks in Jack London Square, the food at Yankee Pier was noticeably better in quality and execution.

Thanks for the report.

Re lobster roll, was the lobster meat cold?

The lobster meat was warm and the bread toasted.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold