Menuplease: The Lighthouse Serves Up Fine Fish

We are still a nation of meat-and-potatoes men and fish-and-salad women… I can’t even tell you how many women have told me that the one thing they’d like to change about their man’s eating habits is to get him to put down the hamburger just once and take her to a seafood joint. So guys, there it is: a really easy way to get on her good side. You’re welcome. – Ted Allen

Fish afficianados may find Redding a barren desert when it comes to seafood restaurants. There’s mega-chain Rosy Crustacean out in Big Boxland, the special occasion place downtown, and the fish-n-chipperie discussed previously in this space. Unless you drive out Hartnell often, you might not be aware of the unassuming little Lighthouse Restaurant at the edge of a strip mall, near a union hall and pet groomers.

The Lighthouse is well-kept with a bright, clean interior, colorful murals on the walls, and comfortable, if utilitarian, tables. While this isn’t really a spot you’d spend all day hanging out with your BFFs, it’s a good place to enjoy lunch or dinner and not break the bank. Order at the counter; they’ll bring the food out to you.

Small cup of clam chowder, $3.29

When the waitress brought the clam chowder, she issued a warning: “It’s really hot, about 160 degrees,” and she wasn’t kidding. M. de Joie first learned to appreciate clam chowder at the gone-but-not-forgotten Weatherbee’s in Eureka, and still holds that as the standard. Chowder at The Lighthouse meets that standard – creamy white, thick with potatoes, clams, and minced vegetables. Wait a minute or two before you dig in or you’ll burn the roof of your mouth.

1-piece fish and chips, $5.79

When Femme de Joie ordered a 2-piece fish and chips, the woman at the counter asked, “Is this for you? How about if we downsize this to a one-piece? It’s really a big piece of fish and if you’re still hungry, we can get you more.” It turns out that they always give you an extra piece of fish. That’s just how they roll here. The waitress said they use pollock, a member of the cod family. It’s mild but not bland, and lends itself well to deep-frying – here, the batter was thin, crisp, and not at all doughy or oily. The fish was cooked through and not dry or overcooked. French fries were definitely above average, cooked to order and not sitting under a heat lamp. Cole slaw was forgettable – the cabbage had lost some crunch and the sweetish runny dressing slid off the slaw back into the cup.
When the fish arrived, the waitress asked, “Do you want any Tabasco or anything?” When M. de Joie demurred, she added, “OK, if you do, you know where the tartar bar is.” Tartar bar? “Oh, you don’t know about our tartar bar? Welcome to the Lighthouse. It’s through that opening and on the left.” The tartar bar was a self-serve table with (of course) tartar sauce, ketchup, cocktail sauce, Tabasco, malt vinegar, and lemons, “everything except horseradish and ranch, we have that at the register.”

Oysters and chips, $8.19

Uniformity in size and shape indicated these oysters came in a frozen box, but were still quite good – better than some that are breaded by hand to order, with a tender crust (they’ll ask if you want them fried extra-cruncy) and briny, juicy interior.

Charbroiled salmon meal, $14.49

Charbroiled meals (swordfish, halibut, mahi mahi, etc.) come with a dinner salad and a dizzying array of choice of sides – onion rings, hush puppies, and fries are the only ones M. de Joie can remember. The waitress making the salad made sure M. de Joie was OK with the toppings being added (hard-boiled egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, shredded cheese, croutons) before she prepared it.

A six-ounce portion of salmon was unfortunately dry and tough, and without a lot of taste. It may have been in the freezer too long and then dried out further with too much heat. However, the hush puppies – crunchy spheres of deep-fried cornbread batter with a few flecks of parsley – were addictive.

The Lighthouse staff is very friendly and accomodating, they’re family-friendly, and the prices are right. The menu is focused on just a few standard items, so you aren’t going to find Calamari Stroganoff or Flaming Shrimp Diablo there. Most of the food is well-prepared; a little attention to details like the freshness of the coleslaw would bring all the items up in quality. Overall, Femme de Joie likes the Lighthouse and would definitely go there again the next time she’s craving fish and chips.

The Lighthouse, 1109 Hartnell Avenue, Redding, CA 96002. 530-223-9200, fax 530-223-9264. Open Saturday-Thursday, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Friday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. Closed Sunday. Credit cards, no checks. No alcohol. On-site parking. Children’s menu.

Femme de Joie’s first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Gwen Lawler Tough says:

    Not only good food but they are good people. Years ago, a 12 year old classmate of our son's was killed crossing Churn Creek Road at night. The Lighthouse Owners-they are still the same- went way above and beyond the call …in helping the boy's mother, who had worked there for a short time.

  2. Avatar Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Thanks for reminding us. I've eaten there and have never been disappointed; however, since I live on the west side of town, I tend to forget it's there. . . . as I said, TANX!!

  3. Avatar Kirsten says:

    Yes- this is a good little place, with VERY a pleasant atmosphere and yes! you can even have a glass of wine. I have spent many pleasant late lunches here, and will continue to do so!

    Kirsten

  4. Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

    I've never been here because I'd never heard anyone say word one about the place. This gives me a nice alternative place to go when I'm hankering for some fish n chips! Yet another amazing review.

  5. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    Yep, great place to sneak out for a quick, affordable meal. One of our favorites.

  6. Avatar Joe Piazza says:

    The Lighthouse is one of our favorites restaurants. We take the family there at least twice per month. Great food, outstanding service, and the price is right. We also love the extra piece of fish, often enough for a snack the next day.

  7. Avatar Barb says:

    If you really enjoy battered and fried, you have to try the zuchinni. They use spears and they are AMAZING. The mushrooms are great too. We get the large combo platter which has a bit of everything and share it, plenty for two! Of course we add on a full order of those amazing hushpuppies. Good stuff!

  8. Avatar Kimberly R. says:

    Sounds tasty — I did not know about this place and will be happy to try it out!

  9. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Why do I get hungry when I read a restaurant review like this? Great article Femme de Joi. I will have have a meal at The Lighthouse.

  10. Avatar Pam Baugh says:

    Only ate there once or twice shortly after the place opened and the fish and chips were very greasy. Sounds like things have improved! Glad to hear! We will try it again. Thank you Femme de Joi:)

  11. Avatar Lea says:

    Hello, off topic – however, it doesn't look like you have ever reviewed Moonstone Bistro? Now, that would be interesting!

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Lea,

      No, but Moonstone Bistro is certainly on the list of places to try.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Femme de Joie

  12. Avatar shirlee says:

    I love this place. Was going to take the hubby there for fathers day. Sorry to hear its closed on Sundays,darn. Will definitely try as soon as possible. Thanks for the great fish and big servings.