Just like fishing for compliments, fishing for fish is easier when done with the right bait and lots and lots of nets. Lure in a catch the easy way with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of fresh seafood at Catch in San Francisco.
One of few hosts this year during Feb. 12-20 to display sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which is in its 25th year of commemorating those lost to the virus over the last 30 years, Catch bolsters an intimate night out with simple, seasonal seafood dishes and live music. Begin dinner with fried jalea ($12)—a tarter sauced mélange of tiger prawns, calamari, and rock cod—or warm the soul and the belly with crab and crème fraiche–studded lobster bisque ($12). California flavors as bright and crisp as a just-starched bikini infuse a dish of sautéed blue tilapia with caramelized shallots, spinach, and lemon-caper sauce ($23), and the seafood stew ($22) simmers six different sea-meats in a tomato-based broth for a meal as warm and comforting as a mermaid's briny kiss.
Filling sound space with live piano jazz on Friday and Saturday nights, Catch's atmosphere lends itself easily to a casual after-work drink or predate sip. The bar hosts a variety of signature cocktails, including the cilantro cucumber cooler ($11), the rhubarb sour ($11), and the rare melted ice (Groupon not valid toward alcohol). .
Located firmly within San Francisco's Castro district, 2362 Market Street is steeped in city history. Here, Catch makes its mark in a storefront registered as an official city landmark that originally housed the burgeoning NAMES Project, which famously organized the creation of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The history remains with the building, but Catch aims to create a new legacy while honoring the spirit of creativity and expression rooted in its surroundings.
To foster this spirit, the chefs rotate their menus regularly, accommodating seasonal produce and fresh catches of local, sustainably sourced seafood. Each dish showcases these ingredients while incorporating Mediterranean influences and minimalist Californian sensibilities toward composition and presentation. A hearty bowl of mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, crab, and fresh fish in a tomato broth evokes the flavors of portuguese stew, and the pizzas emerge with inspired toppings, such as smoked salmon and crème fraîche.
The air of refined simplicity also extends to the dining room's decor. Cherry-wood tables line the tiled floors and surround the small, circular fireplace that helps heat the enclosed patio section. Two works of vibrantly colored wall art originals add a taste of whimsy to the space, as does the balcony-like stage that sits suspended 10 feet above the ground, dominating an entire corner of the room. A full piano resides on the stage, beckoning the live jazz bands that perform on Fridays and Saturdays for diners and brave souls who would like to make their seafood meals feel at home by playing sea shanties of yore.