High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill's steam-kettle cooking key to thriving in desert

High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill
The Seared Yellowfin Ahi Tuna has a togarashi spice and tempura asparagus ($28). (Courtesy High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill)

The Seared Yellowfin Ahi Tuna has a togarashi spice and tempura asparagus ($28). (Courtesy High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill)

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Pan-seared Chilean Seabass comes with a Lobster Beurre Blanc (Courtesy High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill)
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The Surf and Turf Burger has sautéed king crab ($19). (Courtesy High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill)
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Fajitas at Pescado Borracho can have carne asada, chicken or shrimp ($17). (Courtesy Pescado Borracho)
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Kim (left) and Chris Glass are co-owners of High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill and Pescado Borracho. (Courtesy High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill)
Chris Glass grew up in a restaurant family in Montana and spent his career in the food industry hoping to one day own a restaurant of his own, according to his wife, Kim.

“When he met chef Eric Emlet, he knew he had found the right fit and wanted to take the plunge and was ready to open his own place,” Kim Glass said.

Emlet was working at Superstition Mountain Country Club, which was a client of Chris’ at Cisco Foods.

“They just hit it off and knew they’d be a great fit together,” Kim said. “So High Tide Seafood was born from that.”

The duo found a nice, high-traffic spot about a mile from SanTan Village shopping center and a concept—fresh, steam kettle-cooked seafood—and for six years have made a good go of it, said Kim, a co-owner and the face of the restaurant out front to patrons.


“We felt like the Gilbert market had plenty of Mexican choices, and seafood was lacking, especially fresh oysters,” she said. “And my husband is such a seafood fan. We decided to go that route.”

Seafood might not seem to make sense in the desert, but Kim said her husband and Emlet make it happen.

“I have to give kudos to chef Eric and Chris because with their background on the procurement, they do a fantastic job,” she said. “So we work closely with our distributors, and we are getting something in just about every day.”

The steam cooking is an attraction. The restaurant has 16 pots at the top of the restaurant bar.

“It’s kind of an interactive cooking, and the chefs up there are happy to explain what they’re doing, what ingredients are in each thing,” Kim said. “We have a generator on the roof, and the steam cooking, it’s so quick. It really locks in the flavor of the protein and doesn’t overcook it.”

The COVID-19 pandemic actually came at a good time for the restaurant. Rather than switch immediately to takeout and delivery, the owners chose to take a much-needed breather.

“We’re very happy to be back, but we just needed a break,” Kim said. “I mean, chef is here mopping the floors at the end of every shift. We all just really needed a break.”

Next door neighbor

Four years into the business, the Glasses and Emlet took advantage of a space opening up next door to start a second restaurant: Pescado Borracho, a Mexican restaurant with a Southern Baja seafood emphasis that is Emlet’s passion, Kim Glass said.

Emlet goes back and forth between restaurants, but Pescado Borracho has returned from COVID-19 with sales up 20% week over week from last year, Glass said.

High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill

2540 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert

480-821-9950

www.hightideseafoodbar.com

Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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