Seafood in the Desert
There are just some things you’re not supposed to do. For me, the thought of eating seafood when located more than 2 hours away from the nearest body of water is a no-no. My people are from islands, what can I say?
But the Mister and I made an exception last month, when we were in Palm Springs the night before going to Coachella. Did you think I’d go camping? Ha! We enjoyed ourselves the night before our all-day scorch fest, er, music festival experience with some cold beers, good food, and sleep in a comfortable air-conditioned hotel room.
After a disappointing first foray into the Palm Springs food scene last December (nothing good came out of that trip, at least not for my taste buds), I was praying we’d find a winner in Shanghai Red’s Oyster Bar, the back bar to the popular Fisherman’s Market and Grill complex in downtown Palm Springs. And complex it is– you have to wind your way past the hostess stand, through the courtyards of the two main restaurants, to a back entrance, where you’ll find the narrow bar of Shanghai Red’s. It’s a bit of a hustle, but if you’re lucky (like we were), you’ll get a hi-boy table for two and proceed to get your grub on.
Don’t get it twisted– this is an oyster bar, straight up. No fancy table cloths (hardly any tables), cheap beers ($2 Singhas!), late-night appetizer specials, and fast service. The Mister and I kept it simple: a shared order of the sampler platter (pictured above) with raw oysters, crab legs, mussels, shrimp, and clams; two bowls of clam chowder; and multiple orders of shrimp and grilled fish tacos.
The clam chowder was solid, and was thoroughly enjoyed, along with the raw platter:
But I wish we hadn’t ordered it, because I was nearly stuffed by the time the fish tacos arrived. I’d heard about Shanghai Red’s fish tacos before, and all the hype is true. Definitely in the top 3 for fish tacos I’ve had in my life. So lightly battered, very fresh white fish– the consistency and thickness was actually close to a very well done order of fish-n-chips. It was a damn shame we had to leave some tacos behind. Damn shame.
This place is pretty no-nonsense, and I like it that way. A far improvement over the overwrought establishments littering downtown Palm Springs, and you can definitely make a night of it here– on weekends, a band plays in the courtyard and the place gets packed. Good times.
Oh, and here’s a gratuitous Coachella picture, just to prove that we were there:
Shanghai Red’s Oyster Bar
235 S. Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262