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Pismo's Costal Grill

Reviewed by Dom on Nov 06, 2009

What's it like?

I recently made my way to Pismo's Grill for dinner and... I guess the best way to put it is that I was underwhelmed and disappointed. However, this may just be due to the "newness" factor.

Staff: I also encountered the same type of confusion that is to be expected with the opening of any new restaurant, but I found the hostess and the wait staff to be friendly and courteous despite how busy it was in the dining room.

Ambiance: When I was seated and was able to take in the interior, I got the impression that the restaurant itself didn't have a clear idea of where the direction it wanted to go. On one hand you have the coastal open air window dining and the fish market nestled within a nice sandy wood interior, but the number of HD Televisions around the entire dining room gave it a feel similar to that of a Sports Bar & Grill. It kind of gives the feeling it would be a lively and fun casual dining experience (if the price were to fall in line with that philosophy) or a nice lunch.

Food: This is the area where I began to feel the initial pangs of disappointment. I chose to pass on the appetizers and went straight for an entree selection. (I will most likely return for lunch to sample some of the apps they offer.)I selected the wild Alaskan halibut with braised kale w/bacon and rice pilaf. (Roughly $25) When my entree arrived the 1st think I noticed was how bare the plate appeared. I think this was because the plate used for the entree seemed 2x the size of what was needed for plating so there was a lot of empty space to be seen in the presentation. The pilaf was cold and the halibut and kale were both at temperature, but overcooked. This may be because it was extremely busy and they are still working out the logistics of operating at full capacity so early and I am willing and planning on going back to test this theory, but will most likely order a more casual item such as one of their sandwiches, the fish and chips or clam chowder.

Price: Unfortunately, my experience with the food certainly did not justify the price at all. I expect a much higher level of attentiveness during the preparation of the components in the dish for the prices advertised.

Overall, I feel that if Pismo's presented itself as a casual dining experience with prices more in line with that philosophy I would have enjoyed my time there a little bit more as I could properly align my expectations. Despite this, I do plan on going back to see if the experience is the same as it was for this particular dinner service.



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Lawyerizer  |  Wed, 2009-11-11 11:23

wow, this is definitely a typical fresno diner. desperately trying to sound sophisticated. review couldnt be more off.

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jamescollier  |  Wed, 2009-11-11 11:30

Joe, is that a claim you can expand on? Matt has shared his personal experience - I'm not sure how that could be considered "off," so I'm curious to know what you disagree with.

Have you had a different experience at Pismo's? The reviews here and the talk I've heard on Twitter have not motivated me to check it out.

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Adam (not verified)  |  Wed, 2009-11-11 16:46

"review couldnt be more off."

Wait, how can someone's personal opinion be wrong? Are you claiming the reviewer is literally lacking in the five observational senses? Were you there with them and able to observe that the pilaf was indeed warm?

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jamescollier  |  Wed, 2009-11-11 21:23

Adam, you crack me up.

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Hilary Malveaux  |  Wed, 2009-11-11 14:51

that sucks. my friend's husband is a chef there and i know he has been working really hard for awhile on opening it.

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jamescollier  |  Wed, 2009-11-11 21:24

I think we can always expect opening hiccups - the challenge for the owners and management will be providing an experience that keeps people coming back after the initial excitement wears off. That seems to last about three months here.

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pat (not verified)  |  Wed, 2009-12-16 23:13

I sent in a review on Pismo's that was wonderful. I can't find it here at all.
I have been back 2 times now. Its packed even on Monday nights.
If you go there Dave is there every night making sure things are working well and it is. I talked to him, he doesn't know me from Adam, and he said, he has had the same people in there 15 times since they opened. They keep coming back. We had the appetizers tonight. The artichoke was unreal. And the sourdough bread, I think I gained 2 poinds tonight. Crab cakes are excellent too. Not a bad meal yet.

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lukemundy  |  Sat, 2010-01-02 12:54

Eh... I'd have to agree with Dom. The whole concept of the restaurant seems a bit off. Prices seem high to sit in front of a plastic tablecloth and while the fish was all high quality (a great selection for Fresno) the preparation didn't do much for me. It'd be cheaper to buy fresh fish from their market and take it home to saute it myself!

I will say that the staff was great. We were there with a large dinner party and had to wait 45 minutes past our reservation, but our server was friendly, entertaining, and managed to keep us positive!

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anguyen  |  Wed, 2010-01-13 22:25

I haven't been there but I intend to. I heard they bring in their bread daily from San Francisco. Also, although I know this place specializes in seafood, the tri tip sandwich comes highly recommended.

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stu (not verified)  |  Tue, 2010-03-16 13:39

My wife and I have eaten there twice. On both occasions we found the service to be friendly and fast. We have sampled fish from their market and it was delicious and attractively laid out. As for the wood; well it exceeded our expectations both in quality and presentation. We have tried several dishes with friends and have not been disappointed with any. This gets a five start rating from us but I would recommend making a reservation. My only disappointment as a brit is that the chips with 'fish & chips' were not proper chips.:)