Dining Outside at King’s Fish House

The albacore tuna roll at King's Fish House.
The albacore tuna roll at King’s Fish House.

King’s Fish House opened in the Westfield Valley Fair shopping center during the height of the pandemic in October 2020.

But you’d never know it.

The place has been hopping since it debuted. So much so that the mall even turned over to the restaurant an additional outdoor dining area a few steps away that had been just extra public space before. The restaurant now opens up that seating area on weekends when it gets extra busy.

Even on weekdays, though, there’s still plenty of outdoor dining, as the 7,400-square-foot restaurant is lined with floor-to-ceiling garage doors that can be opened up entirely. The tables on the perimeter also have woven mechanized blinds that can go up entirely or be let down to shield from the sun.

That’s where I sat when I was invited in as a guest last week, enjoying a nice breeze on a balmy night. After more than a year of cooking at home or getting takeout, I’ve only dined outside at about eight places in the past two months. I will say that King’s is the only one I’ve encountered so far where not everyone on staff was masked. As of today, mask wearing indoors is only recommended, not mandated, but if you’re the very cautious type, that may be a consideration.

The restaurant opened on the mall's new dining terrace.
The restaurant opened on the mall’s new dining terrace.

This is the first Northern California outpost of the Southern California restaurant chain that’s owned by King’s Seafood Company. It operates a dozen restaurant concepts in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

To drive home the freshness of the ingredients, the San Jose restaurant even showcases two 300-gallon saltwater tanks stocked with live seafood from around the world.

With garage doors that let the outside in, the expansive restaurant sports an open-air feel.
With garage doors that let the outside in, the expansive restaurant sports an open-air feel.

To get the night started, the Mojito Verde ($14) is a refreshing way to go with the summery blend of rum, lime, and mint served over plenty of crushed ice with a sugarcane garnish. Or go for a classic Negroni ($14), its mix of gin, vermouth and Campari served straight-up with an orange peel to play up its bitter citrus note.

Mojito Verde (front) with a classic Negroni (back).
Mojito Verde (front) with a classic Negroni (back).
A server will ask if you would like sourdough bread and butter. It's wise to say "yes.''
A server will ask if you would like sourdough bread and butter. It’s wise to say “yes.”

Warm sourdough bread and butter arrive at the table as you get settled in.

King’s boasts a large menu with most any type or preparation of seafood you might crave. A bonus is that it lists what seafood is farmed or wild, plus its geographic origins.

The King’s albacore tuna roll ($15.50) is sizeable. It’s a spicy tuna roll draped overtop with slices of albacore tataki, and a flourish of crispy onion threads that add great texture.

Spicy, tomato-y Creole shrimp.
Spicy, tomato-y Creole shrimp.

The N’awlins BBQ Shrimp ($17.50) arrives in a small cast-iron pan. Half a dozen shrimp are napped in a generous amount of chunky tomato sauce with a dollop of herb butter. There’s some definite heat to this dish, with the spiciness nudging past moderate but not enough to make you break out in a sweat. Grilled sourdough alongside is the perfect vehicle to dunk into that pool of delicious sauce.

Seafood from the grill come with your choice of two sides. My husband went for the Wild Ross Chilean Sea Bass ($39.75) that was moist with a nice golden sear on top. For sides, he chose grilled asparagus, thick spears glazed with balsamic; and mac ‘n’ cheese. The latter featured elbow macaroni, separate from one another in a velvety cheese sauce rather than so many other versions that feature clumpy pasta with solidified cheese. It’s a pretty mild mac ‘n’ cheese, so if you tend to favor the bite of sharper cheddar, you’ll find that missing in this rendition.

Wild Chilean Sea Bass cooked on the grill.
Wild Chilean Sea Bass cooked on the grill.
Delicious cedar-planked wild salmon.
Delicious cedar-planked wild salmon.

At this time of year, I can never resist wild salmon, especially cooked on a plank ($36.75). The fillet, served more on the medium side rather than medium-rare, arrived on a cute little cedar plank and done up with a sweet-peppery glaze that complemented the rich taste of the salmon. A mix of brown rice and quinoa along with nicely al dente carrots and sugar snap peas accompany it.

King’s is located on the new dining terrace right across from Bloomingdale’s and Tiffany’s. With such posh neighbors, the restaurant definitely stands on its own with a caliber of cuisine that’s a world away from the food courts of your youth as it gets.

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