Alcatraz Seafood

Just a quick heads up today on a fab find that came in from a BiteClubber about Alcatraz Seafoods. The fish market on Sebastopol Road is now offering made-to-order seafood sandwiches, fish 'n chips and chowder as well as BBQ oysters, bacon-wrapped tuna skewers, shrimp and salmon kabobs on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Just a quick heads up today on a fab find that came in from a BiteClubber about Alcatraz Seafoods. The fish market on Sebastopol Road is now offering made-to-order seafood sandwiches, fish ‘n chips and chowder as well as BBQ oysters, bacon-wrapped tuna skewers, shrimp and salmon kabobs on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

There’s no better spot to get fresh fish than straight from the source, so I had to follow up on this one right away. Bless you, Sylvia W. who tipped me off to the lobster rolls.
Made with toasted New England split top rolls (they claim to be flown
in fresh daily), the a generous fist-full of lobster meat is mixed with
mayo and tarragon and slathered onto the sandwich. For $9.89, it seems
almost a steal to get that much lobster.

Despite the heat, I had to check out the Clam Chowder ($4.25)
as well. It’s a thinner than some of the spoon-standing versions I’ve
had before, but that’s not a bad thing by a mile. I knew I had a winner
when I found a nice little film of butter camped out along the top.
Nice. Though I might suggest just a bit more creaminess, the smoked
bacon adds a nice earthy savoriness to the clams and taters.

There’s also an albacore tuna sandwich ($4.99)
made with ultra-low mercury fish, Bay shrimp ($5.99) in a light Louie
sauce, smoked lox (award winning) and a Dungeness Crab sandwich. On the
fried tip, check it out: Calamari and chips!

Keep in mind this is primarily a wholesale/retail fish market, so seating is a bit of an afterthought. There
are just a couple of picnic tables outside the front door with a lovely
view of the parking lot. And possibly a whiff or two of used ice and
oceanic detritus.
But who needs luxe when you’ve got lox?

market also offers lots of fresh fish — bug-eyed snapper, Ahi,
calamari and the like for subsequent meals. You can fax in your order
ahead of time for quick pickup.

Sea you there.

Alcatraz Seafoods, 3230 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, 707.527.8876. Open daily 9am to 6pm.


3 thoughts on “Alcatraz Seafood

  1. My first – and only – experience at this place last year was terrific and I wrote Heather to alert her to it. She pretty much immediately visited it, had the lobster roll and chowder and wrote a column about it. Imagine my chagrin when others had less wonderful experiences and all the negativity began to pour in.
    Well, finally, I was back in that area (corner of Sebastopol Road and Corporate Place) for work purposes and lunch-less.
    So I took myself in hand (cannot deal with foul odors like rotting fish, etc.) and went in.
    No odor except that of a clean establishment. (At one point my ex- and I were partners in a restaurant in Embarcadero Center, SF – so believe me, I know what a clean restaurant should smell like…)
    Checked the fish – all whole fish were bright eyed – a sure fire test regarding freshness. Asked for a taste of the lobster. Excellent texture, flavor, etc – inquired regarding freshness and the guy behind the confirmed that it was indeed fresh. (Again – my ex hails from a heavy seafood environ in SF where he worked as sous chef at one of the Bay Area’s hallmark seafood restaurants, helping open a branch of same in Embarcadero Center prior to our breaking off on our own….)
    Not actually in the mood for lobster, I ordered a crab sandwich and again – was totally and completely pleased at what I got.
    The bread was fresh and sliced at the right thickness to accomodate the very generous amount of crab heaped upon it. I asked for “everything” and got a combination that complimented the fresh sweetness of the crab perfectly. Yes it was $7.95 or something but I got about a half pound of crab – really good crab.
    Delighted – I mentioned it to one of the managers of an enterprise up the way and got to hear that that little place has become one of the most popular among their staff. Another former restaurateur, she went on and on about the various dishes, heartily recommending the fish and chips (“…they’re red snapper, you know – quite unusual and absolutely the best…”).
    I did notice that the place is no longer called “Alcatraz” and that the gate to the more commercial-appearing back of the property announced the name of a commercial fishing outfit.
    So – possibly the place has changed hands?
    I don’t know.
    What I do know is this – if you are in the mood for a truly scrumptious crab sandwich, outstanding fish and chips, brilliantly executed shrimp cocktail suitable for a light lunch, or other seafood treats – take that $15 you’d throw away during your next trip to a casino and check them out again.
    I’m betting you’ll have a good, solid experience.

  2. I ordered fish and chips for my family and I’ll NEVER go back. Worst I ever had. Fish was over cooked and dry. Couldn’t taste the fish because the batter covering it was so heavy. 40 bucks down the tubes!

    Posted By: Alex (30/08/2008 8:05:39 AM)
    Comment: By far the worst lobster roll and clam chowder I have ever had. When I read the ship in New England Split Top rolls I thought for sure they had to know what they were doing…NOT! The lightly toasted roll was heavely butterd set on the grill only long enough to melt the butter making it soggy and greasy. The tarragon was so strong you could not taste the lobster. And the clam chowder was bowl of low fat milk with potatoes. There were five tiny pieces of clam on the bottom…found them as I poured “It” in tne trash can. The hugh noisy fan did little to remove the stench.
    Posted By: Manord Phillips (29/08/2008 11:39:39 AM)
    Comment: This Place was Horrible, it smelled, the food was bland. There were a couple of nice boys working, too bad their supierior didnt know what he was doing, talking to the customers but not helping the work load. I wont be back.
    Posted By: J (28/08/2008 2:28:02 PM)
    Comment: Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. Ummm, No thanks, I’ll pass….
    Posted By: Jennifer (28/08/2008 2:17:56 PM)
    Comment: Okay, I went to Alcatraz to get one of their lobster rolls, after reading how it was so fantabulous. What a disappointment! It was horrible! The roll, which had been toasted in a machine which filled the entire room with a foul-smelling smoke, absorbed the smell, which affected the taste. The lobster meat was flavorless – even the tarragon mayo had no flavor. I was thoroughly disappointed and ended up throwing half of it away. Not to mention that the “Laurel and Hardy” duo who were working behind the counter were only half! The “Hardy” look-alike was clueless…ambling around the kitchen, picking up utensils, then putting them down again, as if he couldn’t remember why he’d picked it up in the first place! He was totally inept. The “Laurel” guy seemed to know what he was doing – including be able to speak in complete sentences with the patrons. Too bad the food was so bad. I won’t be going back!
    Posted By: in2sin (27/08/2008 11:50:45 PM)
    Comment: To Mark….BTW I love Pike’s in Seattle and think it is one of the greatest markets on earth, if not a bit touristy. Though, it may smell like fish it does not smell like rotten fish as is the case with Alcatraz seafood. The strong rotten spoiled fish smell is due to a buildup of bacteria. Which can be caused by not cleaning properly, not storing at the proper temp or a combination of both.
    Posted By: in2sin (27/08/2008 11:28:02 PM)
    Comment: Well, I’ve been to this place a few times to buy oysters at wholesale and to have them smoke a salmon I caught. The oysters were always good. However they ruined my salmon when they smoked it. It was a beautiful 45 pounder perfect for smoking. When I got it back half of it was raw and the part that was smoked enough to eat had no flavor and the worst texture ever. This was about 5 years ago right before they were busted for fraud I think. Anyway I was in the neighborhood and decided I would give them a second chance after such a positive review. So my wife and I arrive at about 12:30 on Saturday. The first thing we notice is the horrible smell of rotten seafood when we walk in the door. There is a line of about 6 people waiting to order with two employees working the counter. We head to the end of the line and start to wait. After standing in line for about 10 minutes we had some time to observe the place. There was spoiled food sitting out everywhere. The place looked like chaos. There were flies and dirty utensils wherever you looked. Furthermore the Saturday specials you listed in your review were not on the menu nor were they to be seen anywhere. So mainly due to the chaos and filthiness of the kitchen we decided to just leave without trying anything. When this review was written I think the writer must have had a serious case of the munchies to think this place even comes close to being good. Additionally I grew up in SF and know what a good fish market should be like. On a scale of 1 to 10 with Swans on Polk being a 10 I would give this place a -5.
    Posted By: eat_gator (26/08/2008 6:35:07 PM)
    Comment: Laurie, sounds like you are one of those bloggers that use this forum and blogging itself as a form of “road rage” w/ a key board. It’s a fish market, not La Bernadin.
    Posted By: Heather Irwin (26/08/2008 9:15:51 AM)
    Comment: Bwahaha. On the take at a seafood market? Like they’d pay me off in tuna and chowder? You’re funny.
    Posted By: J (26/08/2008 8:57:40 AM)
    Comment: Mark, it’s called an opinion.. everyone has one, get over yourself !
    Posted By: Mark (25/08/2008 11:29:16 PM)
    Comment: Hey Laurie you sound mighty bitter. And even SUGGESTING that Heather reviews places because she’s “on the take” is moronic. If you had a bad experience at a place then so be it, but don’t try and slander the one TRUE review on the Press Demo. By the way, have you ever been to Pike Place in Seattle? It smells like fish. But it’s never been doubted as being a “real fish market”
    Posted By: Heather Irwin (25/08/2008 4:55:55 PM)
    Comment: Man, I’m really bummed to hear about so many bad experiences. My lobster roll (seen above) was really good and huge. Just a hint of tarragon. And I was in there totally on the sly, so I didn’t get any special treatment. It smelled nasty fishy outside by the parking lot (I saw big cans of detritus making their way to the trash) but inside was actually very clean smelling and I’m a stickler for that. Ugh. I hope they get their act together. If not, keep letting me know and I’ll revisit.
    Posted By: Un-impressed (25/08/2008 4:18:15 PM)
    Comment: Okay, look at the picture and once you see just how small the “Lobster Roll” is you will definately not be too impressed. In fact, the place smells extremely fishy (very bad if you know fish markets) and totally expensive for the quantity. Not to mention it is way to loud inside to make an order. If this is a FISH MARKET then I’m the Pope. NOT IMPRESSED. Sorry, fish guy.
    Posted By: Disappointed (25/08/2008 4:08:07 PM)
    Comment: I found the food okay, I just wasn’t impressed with the flavor and size of this imfamous Lobster roll, VERY small bun and the lobster was fresh but the mayo/terragon sauce was, let’s just say, I make a killer seafood salad and I wouldn’t have used tarregon. A little disappointed with the Calamari, very tender but way too much coating. Overall, good enough but next time I will make my own or have the Lobster roll again, maybe……..Just seemed expensive for such a small amount of meat.
    Posted By: Rosario (25/08/2008 11:21:53 AM)
    Posted By: Laurie Simkalo (24/08/2008 9:07:07 PM)
    Comment: Having read about the best lobster roll, and never having written in a blog, but the absolute horrific meal I was served there, deserves something. The lobster for the roll was taken directly out of a sealed bag, which tasted like it had been frozen. The roll which was supposed to have been flown in daily, was grilled only to slightly warm, and the mayo they mixed the lobster in was oily and left an upset stomach. Not to mention that the place smelled of fish, and anyone who goes to a fish market knows, shouldn’t smell. In future blog bite club, check out your recommendation, or are you on the take?
    Posted By: Curly (24/08/2008 8:10:06 AM)
    Comment: I work around the corner from this place and it is great. You’ve got to try the prepared meals. Give them some notice, but you can pick up a complete dinner on your way home that is healthy and tasty!
    Posted By: big D (23/08/2008 10:33:29 AM)
    Comment: Well Heather, as for the chowder getting creamier….it ain’t gonna happen. I asked and was told the chowder is CANNED!!!
    Posted By: Karen (23/08/2008 5:49:10 AM)
    Comment: I just returned from Maine where on Fridays at a certain restaurant we went to, you can get 2 lobster rolls for $12.95. I had at a different restaurant a lobster roll on an untraditional hoagie roll for the same price. So $9.95 for a lobster roll clear on the other side of the source (I’m guessing it’s east coast lobster) seems like an excellent price to me. What I’m curious enough to find out is if the roll has a lot of claw meat and chunks of seafood. And are the rolls really authentic northeast frankfurter rolls (which I really wish the sold here, but hey, look how long it took to get Entemann’s in Calif)
    Posted By: MsSteak (22/08/2008 9:05:17 PM)
    Comment: And what I wouldn’t give for a real Oyster Po-Boy too … This place is on my next to do list!
    Posted By: Dart (22/08/2008 7:50:07 PM)
    Comment: STOP!!! You had me at Lobster Roll.
    Posted By: Wojamo (22/08/2008 2:48:37 PM)
    Comment: I LOVE this place! Haven’t tried their prepared foods yet, but they have excellent fresh fish. I’ve purchased beautiful, fresh Ahi there as well as wild salmon, oysters and scallops. Decent prices, too. Yum!
    Posted By: kudzu (22/08/2008 12:49:07 PM)
    Comment: I wish I could be on my way to Alcatraz Seafood rightthisminute. What a bargain that lobster roll is — even figuring in gas, it’s cheaper to go there than buy one in Larkspur or SF. And spoon-standing clam chowder is not authentic, so I look forward to trying that, too. Goodie.

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