Circle Hook is the latest eatery set to open at Lido Marina Village, joining the restaurant ranks of Nobu, Honor Coffee Roasters, Zinquè, Lido Bottle Works and Nobu at the chic development on Newport Bay.
Circle Hook, arriving in early 2018, is a new fried fish concept by Thos Carson, founder of Bear Flag Fish Co. and Wild Taco, and Scott Breneman, a fourth-generation Dory Fleet fisherman and owner of West Caught Fish Company. (If you visit Dory Fleet early morning before the sun even thinks about rising, you’ll find him or his fishermen selling still-alive catches at extremely affordable prices.)
For Carson and Breneman, the business is a natural partnership; the two have been fishing buddies since childhood.
Taste the sustainable fare at Bear Flag (or at Lido Bottle Works, which also gets its fish from Dory Fleet) and you’ll understand why eating local is best. You’ll probably also be ruined for life, unable to have any kind of fish unless it was just caught that day … or hour. You’ll certainly never go frozen again.
Most of the menu at Circle Hook will trade on sea-faring simplicity, featuring indigenous staples caught nearby like black cod and red snapper. And though the idea is to serve fried fish, Circle Hook will offer a healthier take on the greasy classic. Fish will be lightly beer battered, almost tempura style, with grilled and steamed options available. There will also be a kid-friendly menu for families perusing the shops in search of a place to dine.
A ‘circle hook,’ if you’re wondering, is a specialized type of fishing hook that is safer for the fish than most other varieties; if an unwanted catch (bycatch) grabs the hook, the fisherman can release it with little to no harm. This helps maintain the population of fish in the sea and, as the restaurant that now bears its moniker represents, allows for sustainability to reign.