Thank You and Good Bye!

Written on December 11, 2013 at 2:52 am, by

This will probably be our last blog for a while.  We’ve packed up our things and moved out of our space.  New things are coming and we’re excited to move on and do something different for the moment.  If we ever start Sea Rocket back up again, or have other food-related news to share, rest assured we will do so!  You have been our home and our family for almost 6 years and we will never forget you!


This website, our e-mail addresses, and of course our facebook page will remain active well into the new year so please do keep in touch!  Many thanks go out to Nicholas Colombini for the compilation of this beautiful commemorative video.  If you can’t see the video in your window, click here!


We also have a photo album here from our last night, courtesy of photographer Adam Ghahate.  I hope you’ll enjoy these memories as much as we will!




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Written on December 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm, by

I forgot to publish this blog along with our newsletter on Sunday, but thought it would be nice to share some of the things our guests have been telling us as we near the end of our business.  Click here to see more from our comment cards!


Elena – We are soooooo sad to bid you adieu!  We have always seen the Bistro as our “go-to” for fresh and delicious seafood and veggies.  It is hard to find this combo in our region and we were delighted to find you in your first year of business when we moved to San Diego from Santa Monica.  We do want to congratulate you on the successful undertaking of a very difficult task; that of growing a high-quality eatery into one that is so popular with the discerning foodies out there!  We know you will be using your talent and energy and bubbly personality for other good ventures in the future.  If it involves healthy eating, let us know and we will be there.

very best regards and good wishes,  NB & MP


4 years ago my wife and I got married at city hall with just our immediate family in attendance, afterwards we went to Sea Rocket for our wedding dinner. We eat at Sea Rocket whenever we can, but in particular Sea Rocket has became our anniversary tradition. We went back that next November shortly after learning that we were going to have a baby. Then the next year we were back with a 5 month old, then with a one year old, and just last week again with our families and our two year old. Sea Rocket has become where we celebrate being a family.



I am so sad that you are closing!  My husband and I have enjoyed many fine meals at your restaurant.  We are in sync with your concept of using locally grown, fresh, organic food.  We will miss you.



Wishing you all the best in the future and the endeavors you take up next.  Sad to see Sea Rocket go, but understand that all good things come to an end at some point.  We had our celebratory dinner at your restaurant last year when we closed escrow on our first house in the neighborhood.  It was a wonderful night. I’m also really happy that the majority of your cardboard fish will be displayed again for others to delight in.  We love these fish!



We are so sad that you will be leaving our neighborhood. North Park won’t be the same without you!  I am glad to know some of the fish/art will have a new home. Matthew was a student of mine as an undergraduate and I thought of him each time I visited Sea Rocket with my friends and family.



I heard that Sea Rocket is sadly going out of business.  We are so appreciative of everything that Sea Rocket has done in the community.  You are truly a model of a local business with sustainable practices that works with a community, but we know that you have a dynamic team and we look forward to hearing about your next ventures!



We are so sorry to hear this news about the closing.  You guys are the best and I can’t think of a more inspired group running a restaurant.  We hope to get by and shed a few tears with you before Dec. 8.

Long life, love and good luck to you!



North park is losing a very special place and it will be missed! Your announcement brought tears to my eyes- for many reasons. But as you say, when one door closes…  Your fans are hoping to be the beneficiaries of that other open door!


A fan of 5.5 years. See you on the flip side.


I had not heard that you were closing, I am really sorry to hear that.  I have really admired you and your restaurant.  It is great to see a young woman living her life with such motivation, energy and strength.  You are an inspiring woman who can show even younger women what is possible.  I hope you have much success in whatever your new venture will be.


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December Newsletter

Written on December 1, 2013 at 8:29 am, by

For those of you not on our more frequently published blog list, we recently announced that we have sold the business and will be closing on Sunday, December 8th.  You can read more about that here.


After our announcement, we received an outpouring of heartfelt messages from our long-standing guests.  We compiled a few of them here to share.  While some of them are difficult to read without getting emotional, we are truly grateful for your expressions of gratitude, and the time you took to communicate to us about what Sea Rocket has meant to you. It has been really fun hearing about your first visits and most memorable dinners, and to realize the meaningful histories we have developed with you over time!


For our last week, we will be tapering our menu down to just the basics as we run out of certain ingredients, and the last few nights we may only be able to offer a handful of options.  Because the new owner will close the space for remodeling for several months, she will be unable to use any of our foodstuffs so we are trying to avoid having to throw any food away after our last night.  If you want to make sure you can have your favorite dish one last time, please come in again sooner rather than later as we won’t be able to guarantee exactly how long we’ll have each specific item available!  We appreciate your understanding as we finish off our inventory of fresh, local foods.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Ackerman

On another note, several of you have asked about our cardboard fish, created by artist Matthew Mahoney for a North Park Nights event 4 years ago.  Some of you want to take a fish home as a momento of Sea Rocket, or have just been curious what will become of them when we’re gone.  Well, we’ll be able to honor your requests and let a few of you take one as a souvenir, but we are REALLY thrilled to announce that the rest of the installation will be transported to our long-standing seafood distributor Catalina Offshore Products to live on indefinitely in their warehouse/learning center as a reminder to eat local and sustainably harvested catch!  Thanks to Catalina for this wonderful offer.  (If you weren’t aware, they are open to the public, so when you feel yourself missing Sea Rocket you can head down there and pay the fish a visit while picking up some seafood for your own kitchen!)

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November 30th on 30th with Chef Rob

Written on November 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm, by

For the final Sea Rocket Bistro 30th on 30th pairing, Guest Chef Rob Rubalcaba will create an adventurous sushi roll called Bitches Brew. It will have spicy tuna inside of a small ball of avocado, wrapped in mouthwatering thin slices of raw albacore and raw ahi, topped with microgreens, and plated with two different reductions; one made with Imperial Russian Stout, sesame oil, soy sauce, wasabi and sriracha, the other with aged Double Bastard, soy sauce, serranos, wasabi, and a whole lot of sriracha!

Bitches Brew will be paired with White Oak from The Bruery. White Oak is blended from two different beers, 50% Wheat Wine aged in bourbon barrels  and 50% Golden Strong Ale.  The sushi roll is called Bitches Brew because it was inspired by the gatefold LP artwork by Mati Klarwein on the Miles Davis studio double album Bitches Brew.

On another note, we will be closed this Thursday, November 28th in observance of Thanksgiving.  If, however, you find yourself with no place to go, you are welcome to join us for a private potluck dinner.  If you’re interested, please e-mail for details.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday and look forward to serving you again nightly from Friday, November 29th through Sunday, December 8th (when we will be closing for good.)

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Sea Rocket Will Close Its Doors Next Month

Written on November 20, 2013 at 8:40 am, by

Hello there.  Elena writing here (as it has been for the last 5+ years, even though Dennis’ photo comes attached to these e-mails…)  I have some important news to share with you.  News that makes me sad, but that is also a good thing for us right now.


The time has come to bid this wonderful adventure known as Sea Rocket Bistro goodbye.  It pains me to tell you this because I will miss you all terribly – you, our friends, neighbors, and guests whom we’ve gotten to know so well over the years – but after over half a decade working to bring our locally-inspired menu to life, we’ve had to accept that the costs of doing business this way exceed the restaurant’s ability to make money.  It’s been the most amazing experience I’ve ever had and I have been honored to meet all of the people the bistro has brought into my life, but we’ve decided to accept an offer from a new restauranteur and allow our space to host a fresh new idea.  Our home in the Lynhurst will be remodeled and reconcepted into a totally different kind of eatery, but more info on that will follow in the coming weeks as it develops…


As it now stands, Sunday, December 8th will be our last day in business as Sea Rocket Bistro.

Dennis & Elena, New Year’s Eve 2008…our first year in business…good times!


Dennis and I have relished our culinary creation for many years, and are incredibly satisfied that we were able to bring our concept of local, sustainable foods to our little corner of North Park for the last 5.5 years.  The Rocket took some time to develop into what it is today, and it has often been a roller coaster of a ride (what other restauranteur won’t say the same thing!?) but when I think back on the last couple of years in particular, my heart swells with pride at what our baby has grown into.  Our team of hard working industry pros helped us bring our dream alive, and most of our staff have been with us for 2 or even 3 years now, which is a lifetime in this industry!


We are so grateful for all of the spirit and appreciation you have brought through our doors.  The years of long days and economic struggles were worth it because of you, because of your enjoyment of our menu, because of your support of all of the worthy organizations we’ve hosted fundraisers for, because of your shared love of real, hand-made foods and craft beer, and because of your commitment to community.  We would have been nothing without you, and we will remember you fondly and hope to run into you on the street, in our other local watering holes, or at the farmer’s markets.


Thank you for your enduring enthusiasm, your smiles, and your appetites!  It has been a pleasure and an honor to feed you, know you, and spend quality time with you.  We hope to see you one last time in the next few weeks as we prepare to close our doors – we may shed a tear as we near the end, but we’ll try to keep in mind the saying that begins “When one door closes…”


We hope to see you again through the next open door, wherever that may lead!

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Artist’s Reception with Mick Gieskes: Thursday 11/21

Written on November 9, 2013 at 7:33 am, by

Join us on Thursday, November 21st to see the beautiful, nature-inspired photography of our good friend and local Mick Gieskes, who has an incredible eye for catching the details of nature in a wonderfully artistic way!  This is Mick’s debut art installation.  He’s created a beautiful presentation for his work by hanging framed enlargements from branches of manzanita trees.  Prints will also be available for purchase.

Mick Gieskes is a local runner, hiker, and lover of Sea Rocket Bistro. His running has led him to discover the beauty of the San Diego back country, and eventually he turned his camera on some of the things he saw. His primary interest is in textures and patterns. In much of the work you can find the beauty of the fragility of life, but also in its resourcefulness and ability to find ways to not just survive but to thrive.

The images in the show are mostly from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Mount Laguna, and the Anza-Borrego Desert.


It would be helpful if you could RSVP on our facebook event page here so we can be prepared!



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Toyland Parade Fundraiser, Wednesday 11/13

Written on November 9, 2013 at 7:32 am, by

Hello!  We’re helping raise money again this year for the annual North Park Toyland Parade happening on Saturday, December 11th.  Dine at the Rocket all night this coming Wednesday, November 13th and we’ll donate 15% of our sales to this fun family affair!


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October 30th on 30th | Halloween Party | Beer Week Video

Written on October 24, 2013 at 12:20 am, by

For 30th on 30th next week, we’ll be pouring Manzanita Brewing’s seasonal Witch’s Hair Pumpkin Ale paired with Pork Belly with grilled pears, watercress, star anise, orange, pumpkin risotto, chillies, and brown butter. The pairing will cost $15 and be available as long as supplies last! Check out other 30th on 30th specials here! (It will be updated soon if it isn’t today.)

For our Halloween Party next Thursday, some of the hors d’oeuvres we’ll be serving are:
Fried Pumpkin Risotto Balls
Pork Belly & Watermelon Skewers
Marinated Olives
Butternut Squash Soup Shooters
Blistered Peppers
Grilled Sardines
Deviled Eggs

In case you didn’t read about it in our October Newsletter, we’ll be serving tray-passed hors d’oeuvres from 6-9pm for a flat fee at the door – the cost will be $20 for those of you not in costume, and only $15 for those of you who dress up!  Drinks will be available at the bar, and we’ll run our Happy Hour drink specials all night long to get you prepped for your “real party” later on!  (For those of you not interested in the party, we’ll be reserving a few regular dining tables in the front room as well.)

And, a reminder that San Diego Beer Week starts next Friday, November 1st!  Check out this video we made for a fun way to learn what’s happening at the Rocket!  Our Facebook event page is here, and our Beer Week Schedule of Events blog is here, depending on how you like keeping track of things!

Look forward to seeing you at each and every function!  ;-)

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October Newsletter

Written on October 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm, by

We’ve rolled out our new Fall Menu over the last few weeks (see photos from Part I & Part II here) and we’re getting great reviews on the new preparations of our market fish, broccoli soup and other seasonal goodies!


We’ve also started offering our Happy Hour specials all night long on Sundays!  Now you can get our $2 Street Tacos, $3 Tapas, and drink discounts from 5pm-close instead of just until 7pm.



This Sunday, October 20th we’ll be hosting a fundraiser the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.  Fallen on hard financial times, like many, this organization is making the effort to remain open.  Please come dine with us and help support their operation for the future, “a fun, hands-on wildlife and nature experience for the whole family!”


[PLEASE NOTE: Since publishing this blog, this event has been rescheduled.  Please stay tuned for an update.]  On Saturday, October 26th, from 5-7pm, local food blogger and cookbook author Maria Desiderata Montana will be at the Rocket doing a book signing for her two San Diego local cookbooks, BOTH of which feature recipes from yours truly, aka Chef Tommy Fraioli.  (Our Mac & Cheese is in one and our Fisherman’s Stew is in the other!)


On Sunday, October 27th we’ll be hosing another pop-up brunch by Chef Mark Pelliccia.  Seatings are available from 9am-Noon and can be made on-line here.  Check out our previous blog here to see all of the menu details, and enjoy dining by day at the Rocket!



Halloween is always a fun time at the Rocket!  This year (Thursday, October 31st of course!) instead of our regular dinner service, we’ll be throwing a pre-party dinner party for you!  Meaning, we’ll be doing tray-passed hors d’oeuvres from 6-9pm for a flat fee at the door, and you can still make it to your “real” Halloween party afterwards too!  Entry will be $20 for those of you not in costume, and only $15 for those of you who dress up, so get with the program, and get into the spirit!  Drinks will be available at the bar, and we’ll run our Happy Hour drink specials all night for you (a select $3 draught beer, $2 sake shots and $5 house wines & sangrias.)







Aaaaand, last but not least, we’ve announced our San Diego Beer Week 2013 Schedule!!  Join us November 1st-10th for some awesome beer features and pairings in this year’s fun “10 Days of Beer Week” theme!  Click on the link above for all of the beery details!!  (And look forward to seeing all of your Sea Rocket servers in our special Beer Maid outfits all week long!)


Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for other general news and daily updates!

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Beer Week 2013 Schedule

Written on October 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm, by

San Diego Beer Week is coming!!!  Check out our video here, which explains everything we’re doing in song form!


Join us from Friday, November 1st through Sunday, November 10th for 10 DAYS OF BEER WEEK at the Rocket!  We have all kinds of (drinkable) goodies in store for you, after weeks of thoughtful planning!  Details are listed below the poster.  If there’s a particular event you’re interested in, we do highly recommend making reservations!  619-255-7049.  You can also stay posted to any changes or detail updates on our facebook event page here!  Cheers to beers!


Daily Specials

Friday, Nov. 1st
A Cask of Vienna Cream Ale
From Mike Hess Brewing Co. paired with Orange Creamsicle Bread Pudding


Saturday, Nov. 2nd
2 Wheatwine Ales
The Bruery White Oak paired with Scallops, Sea Urchin, Beets & Watercress
Manzanita Brewing 3rd Anniversary Oaked Ale paired with Sweet Chili Glazed Shrimp with Coconut Curry Cauliflower


Sunday, Nov. 3rd
3 Wet Hopped Ales from Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment
Chinook hopped XPA paired with Braised Short Rib with Smoked Mushroom Puree, Mushrooms and Brussel Sprouts
Citra hopped XPA paired with Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Mushrooms and Sesame
Mosaic hopped XPA paired with Pork Belly with Pineapple Salsa and Lavender Salt


Monday, Nov. 4th
4 Burger Pairings

Short Rib Burger with fried egg, mushroom, caramelized onion, arugula, and white cheddar, recommended with Manzanita 3rd Anniversary Wheat Wine Ale

Grass Fed Burger with blistered peppers, smoked mozzarella cheese sauce, mustard aioli, bj, marinated tomatoes and bib lettuce, recommended with Mike Hess Brewing Co. Vienna Cream Ale

Buffalo Chicken Burger with point reyes blue cheese, red onion, and bib lettuce, recommended with Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale

Mac & Cheese Burger with fried mac ‘n’ cheese patty, and cheese sauce, recommended with Acoustic Ales Experiment Citra hopped XPA


Tuesday, Nov. 5th
5 World Beer Cup Gold Medal winning beers from 2010 & 2012, including:
Ballast Point Fathom IPL
The Lost Abbey Carnevale
Rock Bottom Longboard Brown Ale
Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale
AleSmith Wee Heavy Scotch Ale!
(Plus our usual $1 raw oysters + $2 sake shots)


Wednesday, Nov. 6th
6 Craft Beer Cocktails
Our beer cocktails will highlight a variety of draughts and flavor profiles via a San Fran Shandy, Snake Bite, Black Velvet, Stout Cream Soda, Lambic Sangria, and Cascadian Caipbeerinha.


Thursday, Nov. 7th
7 Dollar Beer Flights
Discounted 4-beer tasting flights available all night!


Friday, Nov. 8th
8 Cans of Craft Beer: 8 in a bucket or by the can, pair them with some Beer Can Chicken!

Hanger 24 Helles Lager
Golden Road Cabrillo Kolsch
Hanger 24 Orange Wheat
Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale
Modern Times Blazing World Amber IPA
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Golden Road Get Up Offa That Brown
Modern Times Black House Oatmeal Stout


Saturday, Nov. 9th
9th Anniversary Ale
Green Flash Brewing Co. Green Bullet Imperial IPA (9th Anniversary Ale in 2011 now seasonally available) paired with Mussels in an IPA Sauce with Cilantro, Shallots, Cherry Tomatoes and Chilies


Sunday, Nov. 10th
10 Commandments Strong Ale
The Lost Abbey Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed with raisins paired with Black Cod with Chard, Dates, Raisins and Smokehouse Almonds

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