February in Oxnard is a magical time for seafood lovers. The Santa Barbara Spot Prawns are in full season, with plenty of roe.
H C Seafood Restaurant
Who needs fancy when you’ve got fresh seafood?
February in Oxnard is a magical time for seafood lovers. The Santa Barbara Spot Prawns are in full season, with plenty of roe. HC had fresh Santa Barbara Spot Prawns in February 2017, but they were no longer available when we returned in December 2018. California staggers the seasons so prawns may be available February through October, but luck has a lot to do with it. Eatrz would suggest calling the seafood market ahead and getting there early. Things are different when the prawns are around, there is an energy of excitement around those lucky enough to make the order.
The pink stuff in the picture is the roe. The texture is crazy, it’s like lobster, but more tender. The flavor is similar to lobster, but with a more delicate flavor. It’s also similar to crab in that it has less intense ocean flavors in the beginning and then it transitions into a more complicated umami sensation. I think the prawns might be up there as my favorite seafood, but it is hard to beat crab for me. I got a 5 pound spider crab just in case and finished the whole thing myself, minus the brains.
This is a life requirement for a seafood lover!
Their sides aren’t great, so people bring some of their own. We tried the fried zucchini and were not that impressed. I saw one family with a rice cooker on the table and hot sauces. The atmosphere is definitely casual and seating is outside, so it can get cold. If I had to do it again, I would bring, a sweater, a nice hot sauce, and maybe drawn my own garlic lemon butter in the parking lot. They are sort of dog-friendly, if you sit at a table on the outskirts of the place. There is a cupcake shop next door if you feel like a sweet finish, but sadly it was closed when we were there.
The Santa Barbara Spot Prawn should not be confused with most fresh shrimp in California, known as the Coonstripe Shrimp. Santa Barbara Spot Prawns are fished at 600 feet and there is a 35 prawn bag limit. The Coonstripe permits a 20 pound daily limit and is fished at 70-150 feet. Don’t get me wrong, Coonstripe Shrimp are awesome, but Santa Barbara Spot Prawns are better. The roe took it to the next level, but I’m told they were supposed to throw the roe prawns back… oops, a wonderful mistake.
Ambiance (Environment) – 1
Taste – 5
Value – 4
Presentation (Plating for food) – 2
Stars: 3 out of 5