Bonefish Grill: 8101 Cooper Creek Blvd. Sarasota, FL

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My family and I went to Bonefish for dinner last night and I have to say that it was about as so-so as a restaurant can be. It’s basically typical wedding food, trying to be fancy- but really not quite making it there. The prices are very reasonable though- with the addition of a salad or soup to an entree for less than $3, so having super high expectations wouldn’t really be fair.

We started with the very popular appetizer, Bang Bang shrimp. Tasty, yes…but what food that’s tempura battered and then smothered in a mayo-y sauce wouldn’t taste good? It sat atop a bed of lettuce which made it appear that it had tons of shrimp, but once I realized how much lettuce was underneath the shrimp, each of us only ended up with 3 or so per person. It was supposedly so spicy that we’d need the bread to cool our mouths off, but no, not really, just a slightly kicky aftertaste.

The salads came out next and I actually really enjoyed mine. The citrus and herb house dressing was full of flavor and the mesclun lettuce were topped with pumpkin (?) seeds, heart of palm, tomatoes and olives, a nice diversion from the boring side salads that often come with entrees from other chain restaurants. With the addition of a few anchovies that came with my father’s salad, this was pretty much the highlight of my dinner. The bread was pretty good too, hot and fresh from the oven- and I enjoyed a crusty piece with the olive oil before the entrees arrived.

For my entree I shared two dishes with my boyfriend, Gabriel. One was the pecan and parmesan crusted trout with a lemon butter sauce, artichokes and basil, and the other was the grilled shrimp and scallops with chimichuri. The shrimp and scallops were the winner, fresh and not overly seasoned. The herby sauce brightened up the seafood and I ended up using it on the green beans as well. The pecan crusted fish was one small step above airplane food. Edible, but not particularly enjoyable. It was sort of bland, which was surprising given the description, and I couldn’t really detect pecans OR parmesan…just a lot of breading. The lemon butter sauce helped a bit, but not really enough to redeem the meal. The steamed veggies were cooked nicely, but the odd side of chickpeas that was the vegetable of the day seemed totally out of place to me with it’s Indian flavoring that really didn’t go with any of the main courses.

Overall, the service was good and the prices were very fair, but the food was totally unexciting and uninspired. I may go back again since the fish is all fresh and not frozen, but I’ll probably stick to the salads and the very basic grilled choices. I was surprised to find out that they aren’t open for lunch which is a bummer because I think going in for a salad with grilled shrimp on top would actually be a pretty good mid-day meal. Oh well.

 

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2 responses »

  1. I wasn’t surprised to hear your “food is edible but not enjoyable’ verdict, having heard it from several other people before (though admittedly not about this same Bonefish location). However, I WAS somewhat surprised to hear you say that the prices were reasonable. While I agree that adding a salad for $3 is a great price, any price is ‘too high’ if the food is merely ‘eh’. Also, Bonefish seems comparatively pricey to other local options here in NYS (driving up Rte 9 in the greater Poughkeepsie area, for example), and certainly “overpriced” for the quality of the food.

    I think I would skip a return visit and focus my attention on finding another locale with fresh-not-frozen fish options so that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice taste for the sake of freshness.

    • Very good point Kimberly…My theory, however, is ‘try everything twice’. I think sometimes a restaurant has an off night…I know a bunch of people who DO think Bonefish is pretty good..and the simple grilled choices were pretty enjoyable…I will plan to just stick to the basics next time and see if I have a better experience. That said, there ARE plenty of other options around here, so it will probably be a while before I give it a second chance.

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