We first caught word of The Rodent, a sushi joint with a crazy name, from Tommy at Catalina Offshore Products about three years ago. Back then it was a small bar that branched off of Bull Taco and barely had a sign out front saying Sushi. Somehow in a tiny bar with a fryer and hot plate in the corner next to him for cooked food, Davin put out some of the most interesting and delicious fish dishes we had ever tasted.
Davin and his wife Jessica, who runs the front of house, have expanded into the former Bull Taco with their own Whet Noodle ramen bar. On the Wrench side, you’ll still find Davin coming up with new nightly flavor combinations. By now you must be wondering where the name came from. Davin will tell you that the name Wrench and Rodent echoes back to his English past, were pubs would frequently put two unlikely words together for their name.
Local Uni is a frequent favorite. Here it’s cracked fresh in the back and served simply on a plate next to the still moving shell. Not for the squeamish, but you won’t find Uni that’s as firm and fresh as this is!
After trying the Seabasstropub on our own a few times, we were able to work out taking over the entire bar. It seats 9 comfortably, or 10 in a pinch, and is a not-to-be-missed experience. When you’ve got everyone on the same Omakase (chef’s choice) Davin makes sure to run you through the gamut of everything fresh and exciting in their arsenal.
A whole fried fish was one of the more fun dishes to get your hands messy with. We were pulling apart the fish to find every morsel of meat on this unique looking fish. One of the reasons we keep coming back is for some of our new favorite sushi dishes. The Salmon pairs perfectly in several ways.
The buttery Salmon is complimented in these unique ways with tangy Miso or the sugar-salt. The latter is one we always go back to, sometimes more than once in the same meal! We were lucky to have another round of the grapefruit sugar-salt Salmon at the end.
After eating a few raw and a few cooked dishes, sometimes you get a real standout. The Monchong ribs were smoked and delicious, like eating some of the tastiest meat ribs, only here they were fish! This was the dish we remembered the most from this entire meal.
We made it back to a few Nigiri courses before the end. The skin of the Bonito was crispy and torched and the onion blossom was a fun and colorful way to add texture and flavor to the dish. Davin is frequently playing with all sorts of fun garnishes you can find at Specialty Produce or their local favorite Cyclops Farms, a totally organic local farm in Oceanside. We met the owners of Cyclops Farms on our last visit, while they were delivering several boxes of fresh Strawberries. Most went straight to the cooler, but one box went up to the bar, where Alex, the assistant chef, went straight to work incorporating them into his plating.
Bigeye Tuna with apple, mirin, white soy and sea grass then Eel with root-beer teriyaki sauce rounded out our fish for the evening. Here was another example of making the best use of fresh ingredients and creative flavor combinations. You never know what you’re going to get at your meal here, because Davin doesn’t know what the Omakase will consist of before he gets into it. Wherever he takes you, just go with it, and you’ll be surprised with flavors you’ve never tasted together before.
Vietnamese coffee ice cream was the perfect desert to round out the decadent meal. Whenever you want to try one of the most innovative and amazing sushi joints around, go give Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub a try. Take our advice and get your spot at the bar, and let Davin take you on a sushi adventure!