Lisko’s Fish Market reels in the good times

by Bridget Chapman

In four steps I transported from the El Cajon Boulevard into a miniature fish and produce market similar to those found in Seattle. Lisko Artisan Deli and Fish Market was unlike anything I had seen before in the College Area. I looked around the small market, taking in my surroundings.

Avocados seemingly on steroids near the entrance held my gaze as they stood out on the shelves of fruits and vegetables by the door. A display case filled with organic desserts also greeted my eyes. A mouthwatering slab of mahi-mahi glistened in the fish display as I made my way to the front of the market

Overwhelmed by a expansive chalkboard menu, I promptly ordered the recommended fish sandwich. I figured since everything was locally grown, natural or organic, I couldn’t go wrong with salmon, a meeting long overdue.

My friends and I ordered scallops, sweet potato fries and a Greek salad, along with an order of salmon. We took our seats on the patio, observing our surroundings under the shade of an umbrella. The seating options were sparse, allowing other diners to hear our conversation.

After mingling with our server and patio neighbors, our food arrived. My salmon sandwich on ciabatta bread was fresh and accompanied by the zing of horseradish sauce. I envied my friend whose order of scallops released juice with every slice. The Greek salad also grabbed my attention with its thick tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and boulders of feta cheese. The flavors perfectly complemented the ingredients.

This food frenzy enticed me to try a sweet potato fry, which I usually don’t like. I was pleased with the tender and sweet surprise the golden sliver had to offer.

Upon finishing my meal, my sweet tooth wouldn’t allow me to leave without sampling the dessert options first. I scanned the tartlets and quiches before deciding on the lemon meringue pie. Its small size was ideal for the zingy flavor. It had a softer texture than other meringues I’ve tried, but it still made me dream about my encounter with the next one.

My friend and San Diego State communications major Emma Ross, who is pesco-vegetarian, described Lisko’s as a heaven for her.

“It gave off a really healthy and fresh vibe,” Ross said. “I didn’t feel like I was compromising the quality of my food for a college price.”

Ross said she’s definitely planning on returning to Lisko’s for its organic and natural foods. Ross recommended the fresh tomato pesto sauce Lisko’s sells for those wanting to use the restaurant’s flavor into their own kitchen. She said it’s the most flavorful and unique composition of pesto she’s ever bought.

With the 10 percent discount for college students, my tea, sandwich and dessert totaled about $15.

The sandwiches and salads are in a $6-$10 price range. Despite it’s emphasis on the fresh fish, Lisko’s also has an assortment of meats including roast beef, salami, chicken, pork, lamb, ham and turkey.

Lisko’s employee and SDSU biology senior Jacob Gubbins said there is truly something for everyone to eat there. He said the restaurant is popular with college students because of its affordable prices. Gubbins said there are always specials and the food is a healthy alternative to the average college diet.

“Lisko’s is all about making quality food available for anyone at an affordable price,” Gubbins said.

Gubbins’ personal favorite is the Rolando sandwich. He said he enjoys the rare roast beef, which has no additives of any kind. Gubbins said the onions, tomatoes, horseradish cheddar and Lisko’s sauce complete the sandwich’s savory taste.

With its close location and extensive menu, another visit to Lisko’s Artisan Deli and Fish Market is in my near future. I’ve already planned that my next meal will include clam chowder and an organic drink from the coffee bar.