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Bonefish Grill

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The food snob in me expected little from Bonefish Grill. It's a chain, it's mostly in the southeast, and it's owned by the Outback Steakhouse people (their next door neighbors, a block east of Beppo). Three big strikes.

On the positive side, they sent me a $45 certificate. I figured that would mean a free dinner for my 2 kids and me. Maybe even a doggie bag for my wife.

The highlight was a perfectly cooked, perfectly delicious, large, thick fillet of Copper River king salmon. It was on the special sheet for $26 (they had less famous salmon for around $17). Fortunately, I remembered to ask for it rare, because the waitress said they normally do fish medium-well. That would be tragic. But they did mine beautifully (and the waitress checked with me to make sure).

All their fish comes with a choice of the same 4 or 5 sauces. To their credit, they recommended that I get the sauce on the side with the CRK so it didn't overwhelm the great fish. Of course, there are appropriate subtle accents that could be added to this fish, but I don't think they're found at Bonefish. Their thick, sweet "Pan-Asian" sauce was best in tiny quantities.

Their children's setup was similarly lacking in imagination. I was sure they would at least have a kids' version of fish & chips, but there is no seafood whatsoever among their 4 kids' meals (just $4). Nor do they have another seafood item that many kids love, clam chowder (their only soup is corn chowder!). However, our extremely accommodating waitress offered to do a half piece of fish. Instead, we all shared a fried calamari starter and my daughter shared the salmon with me. They were good with the usual kid touches (crayons, puzzle books, cups with lids, etc).

The appetizers, salads, sides, and desserts that we had were fairly standard but pretty good. Service was very friendly in a youthful, inexperienced way.

So I am left a bit confused. I had one of the best pieces of fish I've eaten in recent years, with friendly service for a reasonable price (even without the coupon). However, nothing was unusual or creative. In other words, it was as good as a chain could be. I'll probably return with the kids, but without kids, there are many places in town with much more variety and complexity for not much more money.

Has anyone else tried this place? I'm curious if their regular salmon, and other fish, is half this good.


Edited by Bruce Burger (log)
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What's so confusing? Salmon is an extremely forgiving fish and hard to screw up. Even at home, one can easily make a spectacular piece of salmon.

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What's so confusing?  Salmon is an extremely forgiving fish and hard to screw up.  Even at home, one can easily make a spectacular piece of salmon.

For a fish that is hard to screw up, it's amazing and unfortunate how often restaurants do over cook it or in some cases serve fish/seafood that is not absolutely fresh. My litmus test of a NW restaurant is how they do with salmon. If they screw it up, they would get no recommendation from me.

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I had friends who ate there recently too and raved about their food and service. I'm sure it's good or they wouldn't be expanding. My thought when I go out and spend money on food and drinks is this though: do I want to support a local business who hopefully does business with other local businesses getting me fresher and better ingrediants or do I want to contribute to a large chain that has most likely a freezer full of "ingrediants" and "recipes". I have to contribute to the large businesses enough for gas, water, designer clothes (haha!).

ok, hold on while I climb off my pedastal :blush:

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What's so confusing? Salmon is an extremely forgiving fish and hard to screw up. Even at home, one can easily make a spectacular piece of salmon.

Gotta disagree. I've been served salmon that resembled shoe leather at some restaurants in Seattle. ANY food can be screwed up by an incompetant cook.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I don't care for chains and don't patronize them, but in defense of BG, i'll reject the idea that Northwesterners prefer their fish unadorned.

I sell a lot of plates of fish, salmon, halibut et-al with sauces, particularly light fruit based sauces and salsas, and folks love them.

As long as you arent killing the flavor and texture of the fish, bring on the sauce.

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