Every year, Wally’s Wine hosts a Central Coast Wine and Food Celebration in their Westwood parking lot, showcasing some of the best of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast, all for the sake of charity. Two years ago, one of the better bites belonged to Pier 46 Seafood, a then-new business just south of Paso Robles in Templeton. The chilled rock crab claws from Morro Bay that Erik Gonzales served that day left a lasting impression, and it took two years, but I finally made it to the market and cafe he co-owns with Tony DeGarimore.
Pier 46 Seafood is located in the same Templeton strip mall as Joebella Coffee Roasters, 15C wine bar and J&R Natural Meat and Sausage, along with a Trader Joe’s. This is basically ground zero for the Templeton food scene, though the mall is fairly new.
The establishment is named for the nearby highway that connects Paso Robles with the Pacific Ocean. According to their online mission statement, “Owners Tony DeGarimore and Eric Gonzales are proud to bring you sustainable and local seafoods from artisan fishermen, and are honored to offer these fine products to our community without any middlemen; Therefore keeping costs down and substantially increasing freshness.”
Asian Shrimp Salad ($13) was a blackboard special that was more or less an oceanic upgrade on the popular Chinese chicken salad. 10 plump shrimp rested on romaine lettuce with fresh strawberries, dried cherries, pecans, wonton strips and Chef Antonio’s Asian inspired dressing of olive oil, sesame oil, white wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar. The salad could have done without the pineapple, but the banana chips were a surprisingly good addition, providing even more texture.
In addition to the menu and featured items, you can also have them grill anything from the market case at cost. For me, that meant half a pound of seasonal Santa Barbara white sea bass ($9.99 per pound) for only about $5, a ridiculous bargain, with firm white juicy fish, simply seasoned and served with steamed carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, tartar sauce and squeeze of lemon.
Pier 46 Seafood didn’t seem to offer the crab claws that initially drew me to Templeton, but their copious bounty still more than made my overdue visit worthwhile.