It had been a while since I’d been to a classic date spot restaurant – think red roses on the table, white linen and candlelight – but on walking into Osetra Seafood & Steaks in San Diego I instantly fell for it’s old-school charm.
It was a Monday night and the large double-floor venue had a nice buzz, with a few couples and a group of friends settling in.
Giovanni, the general manager, came to welcome us with a big smile and a delectable dose of Italian charm.
Osetra has been open for 14 years in the Gaslamp district and continues to attract diners with its hearty seafood and meat offerings.
The menu features and array of dishes, making it pretty hard as the diner to choose.
After spending a good 15 minutes running through everything, we finally opted for half a dozen of oysters and a kale salad to start.
For main I couldn’t resist the jumbo scallops, while my companion settled for the Chilean sea bass with fingerling potatoes.
Service was swift and after some warm bread and butter the first courses sailed our way.
The native oysters were large, creamy and nicely prepared with a mix of tabasco, horse radish, vinegar and lemon to play with.
They were well-balanced with the kale salad, which featured a light dressing and sprinkles of beetroot and grapefruit segments.
I would recommend keeping the starters light, as the food at Osetra is generously portioned and believe me, you want to leave room for the mains.
I have never seen scallops so big!
Four giant pieces of juicy white flesh were artfully presented on a white platter.
They were the same size as a giant purple orchid which rested in the middle of the plate and topped with red and green tobiko caviar.
Adding to the indulgent mix was a slick of polenta with bits of lobster submerged in a sunny orange sauce.
The sea bass dish was equally as appetising on the eye, with a thick wedge of fish balanced on top of potatoes and glug of creamy lemon sauce.
We went silent as we tackled our seafood stacks. The scallops were divine and my knife effortlessly glided through the meaty morsels.
Before dinner arrived I explored the cocktail menu opting for a recipe featuring a quaffable blend of aperol and tequila.
But with our food Giovanni recommended a Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany which comes highly recommended. The rich red was the perfect bass note to the fish theme.
Along with its seafood and steak, Osetra is also known for its wine selection. There is a wine angel – a waitress who wears feathered wings and is winched up to get bottles from the tower-like central bar which spans two floors.
Feeling positively stuffed by the decadently rich food we reluctantly couldn’t manage anything too indulgent for dessert.
With our tummies close to bursting we skipped melting hot chocolate lava cake and tiramisu in favour of a scoop of pistachio ice cream and lemon sorbet.
Rolling back on to the streets of San Diego a walk home felt good.
Osetra guarantees to give you a woosey feeling, making you weak at the knees with good old-fashioned charm and mouth-watering morsels.
I’m still dreaming about those giant scallops!
Osetra Seafood & Steaks is located at 904 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
To book a table visit www.osetraseafoodandsteaks.com or call +1 619-239-1800