Tommy Gomes, the Director of Public Relations and Marketing of Catalina Offshore Products – our favorite seafood distributor) immediately recommended trying Wrench and Rodent. We knew that a restaurant suggestion from arguably the best fishmonger in San Diego means seriously great seafood is to be had. Without hesitation, Tommy helped us with dinner reservations for the evening.
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub is located in Oceanside, CA. When we arrived after our beautiful drive up the coast from San Diego, we weren’t sure if we were at the right location as there is no signage for the restaurant. However, from past experiences, we know that no sign is usually a good sign. Just look to the left of Bull Taco and you will notice a small restaurant with eclectic decor… you have arrived!
Whenever it’s available, we enjoy dining at the sushi bar. It allows us to interact with the chef and learn more about the dishes being served. Davin Waite is the Executive Chef and owner of Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub. We were lucky enough to be seated at the sushi bar over which Chef Waite presided and to learn more about the man behind this amazing restaurant.
Ever since he was a child and could reach the stove, Chef Waite has been experimenting with food preparation and cooking. His professional restaurant experiences commenced 18 years ago at Sushi Taisho in Carlsbad and Mister Sushi in Encinitas. Chef Waite further developed his skills at Ichiban in Santa Barbara. Eventually, he moved on to Café Japengo in La Jolla where he honed his craft under Chef Jerry Warner and Chef James Holder. In 2004, Chef Waite and his brother opened the Fish Joint in Oceanside. He left the Fish Joint and opened his own catering company in 2012. Chef Waite next partnered with Bull Taco and in the summer of 2013, Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub opened.
A trend that is taking place amongst restaurateurs is utilizing the resurgence of local farming and sustainable fishing practices. Such is the case at Wrench and Rodent. The menu exemplifies sea and farm to table dining. Each day, Chef Waite obtains the freshest ingredients and evolves the offerings accordingly. Although the menu presents conventional sushi rolls, sushi, and sashimi, the restaurant is known for its’ more experimental creations. We learned that many of the restaurant’s offerings are not listed and left it up to Chef Waite to prepare anything he wished. We knew we were in very capable hands.
Our dining extravaganza kicked off with an incredible plate of swordfish pastrami, which was smoked and cold cured. The slightly smoky and sweet flavors delightfully exploded in our mouths. This was followed with blue fin tuna nigiri which was perfectly fresh and tasty on its’ own. Next, we had 3 types of yellowtail served with a chimichurri sauce: wild local, farmed in Mexico, and farmed in Japan. Chef Waite continued to thrill us with local yellow fin tuna lightly dressed with seaweed, spring onions, and sesame seeds. Following this, we savored smoked New Zealand salmon with a garnishment of pickled onion. Was he done with us?! Thankfully, no! Chef Waite prepared live California Gold uni sashimi. What an experience! Lora normally doesn’t appreciate the taste of uni, but the quality and freshness really does come through in the mild but very specific flavor of the creature. The finale consisted of snapper with pea tendril greens. We surrender to Chef Waite! Our taste buds, stomach, and heart were fully satiated with the enchanting meal and evening with Chef Waite and the rest of his team.
Incredibly fresh and delectable, Chef Waite’s preparations were a perfect balance of traditional, experimental, and playful. The meal, the incredibly personal and attentive service by the entire staff, and the conversations with fellow diners made this evening truly extraordinary. We were delightfully surprised by our experience and cannot wait to return to Oceanside to revisit our new friends and to sample Chef Waite’s new creations.