Killer Sardines, Oysters and Padron Peppers for Cheap at The Whaling Station
July 13, 2012
The local prix fixe three-course dinner at The Whaling Station (373-3778) remains one of the better deals around Cannery Row.
It's $20 for a whole steamed artichoke or curry soup or mixed green salad (the soup’s my favorite; the artichoke is surprisingly poorly presented), plus a big main like the catch of the day or half roasted chicken or short ribs (flat iron or chateau sirloin for additional $4), and Pisto's homemade limoncello or chef's choice of dessert.
Now there are more deals going down at the old standby next to the Sardine Factory.
Small plates like salted and spicy padron peppers ($4), meaty grilled sardines ($5, with one pictured above), deep-fried sausage-stuffed olives ($3) and Spanish toast with manchego ($5) are part of a new bar menu of bargains.
In addition to the poppin’ peppers (not as good as Mundaka's but half the price), nicely smoky and substantial sardines (pulling out the backbone is half the fun), and funky stuffed olives (stick with the free marinated ones), the new bar menu does “sensational seasoning” fries and a mini twice baked potato for $3 each, two Fanny Bay oysters on the half shell and sliced-from-the-cart signature prime rib sliders for $4 each and a Guanciale pancetta mac & cheese for $5.
The oysters proved sublime, the sliders melt-in-your-muzzle, the mac-’n’-cheese so-so.
The entrée bar-only menu remains popular, with the signature open-faced steak sandwich served on garlic bread with an iceberg wedge and fries ($17) and a stuffed burger blended with bacon, onion and cheddar with fries ($17) among the only-at-the-bar exclusive treats.
The John Pisto-and-company powers-that-be have also added an upscale mixology menu to match the trendy Spanish-style snacks—think The Whaling Station Manhattan ($12) with 12-year-old small batch George Dickel, Boissiere sweet vermouth and Amarena cherry liqueur; rum lime daiquiri ($11) with Sammy's Beach Bar rum, lime, agave nectar; and Basilico martini ($10, with Pisto’s own limoncello, Ketel One Citroen Vodka, ripped basil, sugar rim.