I’ve met hundreds of chefs over the years writing and recording Lick the Plate, all having varying levels of skill, creativity, accomplishments and approachability.
But the chef that possesses all of these attributes is Davin Waite, who I’ve featured several times on Lick the Plate for his groundbreaking and wildly successful restaurant adventures, including Wrench & Rodent, Whet Noodle and The Plot, a 100% plant-based collaboration with his wife Jessica, all within a walking distance of each other in Oceanside.
Shootz Fish & Beer is a collaborative effort between pro surfer Cheyne Magnusson and Davin to create a casual counter-style, Maui-meets-Baja menu of poke, tacos and gritty gourmet food accentuated by a fresh raw oyster and sashimi bar.
The restaurant was named after a favorite slang term in Cheyne’s native Hawaii where it means “OK” or an acknowledgment of sorts. Cheyne’s influences include his lifelong passions for skate and surf culture, and on the culinary side the nuances of traditional poke preparation.
Growing up spear-fishing off the coast of Maui along with many years of his own recipe experimentation as inspiration, Cheyne partnered with fellow surfer Chris Slowey, CEO of local brewery and hospitality design-build firm CLTVT in 2017, with the hopes of bringing his obsession to life – Hawaiian-style poke that reflects the intuitive approach of the Polynesian culture.
After a year of successful, small poke pop-ups at local breweries, the two regrouped in early 2021 to hatch the foundation. Both Chris and Cheyne had existing relationships with Davin and the result was Shootz.
The daily specials result from Davin’s commitment to sustainable and total utilization cooking techniques which incorporate the entirety of each fish in his kitchen — from ribs and skin to marrow.
By purchasing whole fish, a range of cuts that represent a variety of flavors and textures are featured. The most tender cuts are reserved for poke and sashimi specials, and the remaining parts are featured in ways that are creative and produce less waste.
Examples would be fish skin fried to make “chips,” ribs and collars served together with Korean chili wing sauce, trim pieces are used for Shootz fish balls (of which I tried and loved) and bones are simmered to make fish gravy.
The menu is fluid and depends on what is fresh and available as we have learned to expect from Davin, but there are fixtures that include four tacos and “Cheyne’s OG.” That’s the poke bowl that started Shootz made with sushi-grade bigeye and yellow-fin tuna sourced from Hawaii fresh and locally.
The “San Miguel” taco has Ensenada-style shrimp and Shootz Sauce inspired by one of the team’s favorite Baja taco shops. There is also a rotating fresh sashimi and raw oyster bar curated by Chefs Henri Ñol (The Plot) and Beecher Cooney (Campfire) featuring Hama Hama and other varieties sourced from the Pacific Northwest.
While the focus is on fish, there will always be at least one vegan option. And of course, given that SPAM is an essential staple of Hawaiian cuisine look for that to pop up on occasion.
And let’s not forget the beer part. Their offerings are designed to complement the flavor profiles of the food and the perfect post-surf or whatever gets you hungry session. AleSmith contract-brews Shootz, a crisp Japanese-style lager that utilizes rice in its grain bill and is available both on draft at Bottlecraft and in retail 6-packs of 16 oz. cans.
Additional recipes in the works include a double IPA, a rosé beer infused with cherry blossom water, and a non-alcoholic brew.
As the newest addition to North Oceanside’s Tremont Collective that I featured recently in LTP, Shootz shares a street-facing café and bar with local San Diego booze retailer Bottlecraft.
Combined with the collective’s communal 3,400-square-foot open-air patio, the space becomes a perfect space for exploring the Hawaiian and Baja-inspired street food that is both playfully irreverent and deliberately thoughtful with the craft beer selection San Diego is celebrated for.
For more information on Shootz Fish + Beer, hours of information, and menu, visit www.shootzfishxbeer.com and follow along on Instagram @shootzfishxbeer.