Dining At One Fish
Last week, I went fishing — and got One Fish.
Plus a superlative meal.
One Fish Raw Bar opened in 2021 in downtown Campbell next-door to Manresa Bread, and what a find it is. Chef-Owner Trent Lidgey opened his small, fine-dining raw bar after stints as sous chef at San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn, chef de cuisine at The Lexington House in Los Gatos, and most notably, sous chef at Uni Restaurant, a modern izakaya in Boston where he oversaw the sashimi program.
The vibe is relaxed and the food meant to be shared tapas-style. There’s a small patio in front with outdoor dining available, as well as seating inside at tables and high-counter seats. There are also seats right at the chef’s counter, reserved for guests partaking of the $185-per-person 11-course sashimi tasting menu. A final option is the 5-course family-style meal ($95-per-person for the standard; $135-per-person for the premium).
Since this was our first visit, my husband and I decided to order a la carte, starting with a glass of the Junmai Ginjo Nama Shiboritate Heiwa “Winter Seasonal” from Wakayama ($16). Served chilled in a slender wine glass, it tasted of melon and orange with an edge of savoriness. If you’re a sake newbie, this is a great place to imbibe because the tasting notes provided on the menu are so clear and thoughtful.
The menu changes daily, but Black Magic Oysters ($4.50 each) with spicy Meyer Lemonade is a beautiful way to prime your palate with their cold, bracing, floral-citrus punch with the merest tickle of heat.
They were served on ice with our bowl of Fort Bragg uni ($25) perched in the center. Creamy sake sabayon covers the entire dish, so you have to dig a spoon all the way to the bottom to get a little bit of everything — the sweet, briny uni and the surprise of crunchy cornbread croutons. It’s one of the most unusual uni preparations I’ve ever had and one of the most memorable, too, with the slight savoriness of the sabayon contrasting with unexpected subtle sweetness of the cornbread.
The striped bass preparation ($21) brought forth firm, clean-tasting raw slices of the fish garnished with soft green almonds, tangy-fruity green strawberries, and tiny blooms. A green almond romesco added hits of nuttiness.
Lidgey ages Mt. Lassen trout ($23) for 5 days to firm its texture and concentrate its flavor before serving it simply sliced with a drizzle of sweet soy sauce and horseradish. The fish took on a very silky yet meaty, rich texture. Honestly, if I didn’t have to share this with my husband, I wouldn’t have because it was just that delicious.
Anchovies from San Francisco Bay ($24) were not served the expected way — fried or Escabeche-style, but with spring asparagus and pickled onion to pile atop toasted brioche slices. That allowed the natural taste of these small oily fish to come through vivdly.
If you enjoyed the cornbread croutons in the uni dish, do order the actual mini cornbread loaf ($13) that arrives warm, smothered in cultured cream, and dotted with smoked trout roe and dill. It’s a decadent little snack with crisp edges, a moist crumb, a luxurious sauce, and pops of salty little eggs.
Just because a restaurant is named for fish doesn’t mean you should steer clear of any non-seafood dishes. Case in point, the spring fried rice ($13), which is one of the best renditions I’ve had at a restaurant in a while. It comes in a blazing hot little cast-iron pan. We ordered ours with Chinese sausage ($3) to complement the cabbage kimchi within and the kimchi aioli squiggled over the top. The kimchi doesn’t add searing heat, but rather a fermented complexity to the overall dish. The grains were separate not clumpy. You’ll feel as if you hit the jackpot, too, when you discover all the many coveted crispy bits. The Chinese sausage was not cut into coins but was chopped finely, which enabled the pieces to crisp up completely like bacon bits, and to intersperse more fully with the grains of rice.
There are only two choices for dessert, and we went with the chocolate pudding ($12). Served in an earthenware bowl, it was very chocolate-y and just sweet enough, with a crumble of black and white sesame seeds and puffed rice adding texture and deep nuttiness.
If you haven’t yet tried One Fish, make a plan to do so. You’re sure to fall for it hook, line and sinker.