David Burke, executive chef of Pacifica Del Mar, is introducing its diners to flavorful and light dishes such as the black cod. Burke, Phoenix native, chats with us about his soy marinated black cod and his inspirations as a chef.
What's the story behind the black cod?
We get our black cod from the Pacific NW off the northern coast of Washington.
When setting out to create this dish, I wanted to create something that is light, but still has a
ton of flavor. We pair it with Udon noodles that help give the dish structure and substance.
The noodles are sautéed in sesame oil, Hon Shimiji mushrooms, edamame, and Fresno peppers, most of which are sourced locally. The reason I chose Black Cod for this dish was simple: it’s delicate, flavorful and has an amazing silky texture that most fish can’t compare to.
It was important for me to not lose the essence of the fish by marinating it. We use just a little
marinade so that when you taste it, the flavor of the fish will not be lost.
What do you like about Black Cod?
I feel that black cod is one of my favorites because it is so versatile. It is so deliciously flakey
and melts in your mouth. Easy to use many different methods of cooking and relatively difficult to dry out.
What's the marinating process?
We use the marinade as the seasoning for the fish. I use garlic, ginger, sesame, chili sauce and
soy sauce. After it has been Marinated for about 12 hours, we remove all the excess liquid making it easier to get the skin crispy.
What's the key component to this dish?
The key component of the dish for me is the crispy skin of the cod, as well as the broth. It is
difficult to get crispy skin on a fish that has been marinated, but we use a special type of flour
to aid in the process. The broth gives the dish the delicate flavors of the ocean.
Describe the taste to someone who haven't had this dish?
You should be hit it the mouth by all of the flavors and textures the dish offers. You will get
everything, Sweetness from the fish, spicy from the marinade, savory from the broth, salt from
the noodles. You get crunch from the skin on the fish, al dente noodles, amazing pop from the
edamame and soft flakey meat of the fish.
What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish?
I always love having a good pilsner with this dish. Something balanced so it doesn’t overpower.
David Burke, executive chef of Pacifica Del Mar, shares his Soy Marinated Black Cod recipe.
What kind of experience will a diner get at Pacifica Del Mar?
I feel that everyone gets treated like family here. I have only been here a short time and staff
and guests alike have been nothing but warm and inviting. You get to have top notch food and
great hospitality every day.
About David Burke
Are you from San Diego?
I am originally from Phoenix, AZ. I have lived in San Diego on and off for about 10 years now, and it has felt like home from day one.
Did you always want to be a chef growing up?
I knew that I loved food since I can remember. I fell into the business when I was 16 and
haven’t wanted to do anything else, except be a lottery winner but that’s not a job!!
What has your journey been like leading up your current position at Pacifica Del Mar?
It has been filled with hard work, long hours, and a lot of fun. I get to play with food every day.
What is your favorite dish on Pacifica Del Mar's menu? Why?
I am a fan of the Mahi dish. It’s sweet, savory, spicy, salty, and best of all, I don’t feel like I have
to go to the gym and run five miles after eating it.
What motivates you as a chef?
Family and friends. I would be nowhere without my family. I have the most amazing wife and
baby girl at home. I don’t want the long hours I spend away from them to be for anything else.
What's your favorite cuisine?
I love Italian food, Mexican, Indian, American, Peruvian, and pretty much all of them. Have yet
to meet a food I don’t like.
What's your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Salt, every kind of salt.
What is one culinary trend you're noticing in San Diego?
The “New American” style is popping up everywhere. It is everywhere.