The Gleeful Gourmand: Review: Bonefish Grill's New Fall Menu

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Bonefish Grill's New Fall Menu

*I was given a gift card and invited by Bonefish Grill to try their new Fall Menu. All opinions good, bad, or otherwise are completely my own.*

It isn't typical for me to seek out seafood when I'm dining out. My son is highly allergic to almost all fish and shellfish, and it's become very routine for us to not only avoid it at home, but also avoid it at restaurants (with the exception of when we're visiting the ocean). But when I was invited to try the new Fall Menu at Bonefish Grill, and read all the delicious descriptions of their offerings, not only was I enticed, but I suddenly remembered that I actually love seafood, and I hadn't had any in a very long time. "Sold!" I said to myself.

We set off for the nearest Bonefish Grill with a couple whose food opinions we really value. Bonefish Grill's Fall Menu, which you can find here, has a few true hints of Fall flavors such as pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin créme brulée, and some richer fare you wouldn't  necessarily see on, say, a Summer menu. But working with fish and Fall flavors must be a bit of a challenge because the overall vibe from their new menu didn't precisely scream "Fall!"

Our waitress was prompt and professional, and knew her wines and beverages backwards and forwards, even pausing to make sure I really wanted to switch the wine I was drinking with my meal (my pre-dinner drink was a Sauvignon Blanc, and I switched to a recommended pairing of a Chardonnay for my entrée). I appreciated that for a chain restaurant their waitstaff seemed very knowledgeable, ready to answer any questions and guide choices.

We started with their famous Bang Bang Shrimp, and the Cold Snap Fresh Ceviche. Of course the shrimp delivered in all its perfectness, but we were left scratching our heads over the Ceviche. While it was served in a creative bowl made out of ice, it seemed half-filled with strips of lettuce, and very little of the Ceviche itself. It also seemed to lack the proper seasonings, most notably hints of lime. There were plenty of warm tortilla chips, but not much to put on them.

The Cold Snap Fresh Ceviche.

For the entrée I settled on the Pan Roasted Snapper + Shrimp, which boasted broiled grape tomatoes, a scampi sauce, fresh herbs, haricot vert and an herbed couscous. I truly enjoyed my fish and the shrimp, both of which were cooked to perfection. The Snapper was tender and delicious, and the sauce was very fresh and lively. The tomatoes seemed like a bit of an after-thought, however, tossed on perhaps for a burst of color. The haricot vert were perfectly seasoned, and wonderfully crisp, but I did not enjoy the couscous. It seemed to be of the larger "pearl" variety, and I wasn't overly fond of its texture. It had a rich, sumptuous flavor thanks to either chicken broth or stock, but I couldn't help but wish it was normal, fluffy, light couscous (Disclaimer: This could just be a "me" problem. I have issues with certain textures).

The Snapper + Shrimp (L), Pumpkin Ravioli (R)
Our friends had the Vintner's Burger with house made chips, and the Malbec Marinated Steak + Shrimp. The Burger was good, made sweet with caramelized onions and a red wine jam, and tangy with Danish blue cheese. The cheese was a tad too skimpy in their opinion, but they noted that if you found yourself at Bonefish Grill and either couldn't, or didn't want to order seafood, this would be an excellent option. The house made chips were also particularly good. The Malbec Marinated Steak was very good, and had a nice flavor profile, though our friend wished he had taken the upgrade to the filet from a sirloin. The shrimp on the steak was delicious, as were the mashed potatoes, which boasted small nuggets of roasted garlic. One misstep on his dish was the succotash it came with - a mixture of edamame (we think) and corn that was terribly bland.

Bonefish Grill's Vintner's Burger with house made chips.

The only true head-scratcher of the night came with my husband's dish, the Atlantic Salmon + Bacon Jam Butter. The salmon itself was wonderful, and the bacon jam butter complemented it perfectly. The salmon was cooked to absolute perfection - moist, but crisp on the outside. He also had the succotash which he did not like at all, and a side of Pumpkin Ravioli, which was delicious. The pasta was nicely cooked and the pumpkin filling had great rich flavor without being overbearing (but we both thought the addition of the crispy sage on top was unnecessary and added nothing to the overall taste). The problem was the way it was served. The salmon and dollop of the dreaded succotash were served on an absolutely enormous plate, with both salmon and succotash shoved together to one side of the plate in a haphazard manner, leaving a huge blank space. The three Pumpkin Ravioli came on its own tiny plate. It didn't seem to make much sense - why were they on their own plate? Why couldn't they be on the plate with the salmon? And if they couldn't be there, why put the salmon on a plate that was so enormous so as to leave half blank? We may never have the answers, but it was a little bizarre, especially since up until then all the presentations of the plates were fine.

Also, as a note, two of us chose the suggested wine pairings with the entrées, and found both to be on-point with the flavor profiles.

For dessert we had the Pumpkin Créme Brulée, which was rich without being too heavy, and sinfully delicious (though we wished the sugary caramelized top had been a trifle thicker); and our friends had the Coconut Pie, which was out of this world fantastic with a buttery rum sauce.

Overall we had a grand time (thanks to the lovely company), and the food was very good. There's plenty for seafood lovers to enjoy with both their Fall and regular menus.


Kirsten Oliphant said...

This definitely makes me want to try this menu!! I also REALLY want to create a photo of you with a thought bubble asking "Why such a small plate? WHY A PLATE AT ALL?" I don't know why, but I got this weird mental image. Thanks for such a great post giving feedback on so many dishes. I'm hungry right now so this was perhaps a bad time to read a food review! :)

Kirsten Oliphant said...

Oh, and I love pearl couscous, but it's a TOTALLY different animal than the smaller couscous we're used to. It's almost gelatinous (which is a fun word to say) and most definitely a problem for texture people. :)

Jenna said...

Ha! Yes and YES! I wanted to take a picture of his plate with a big question mark graphic over the blank part, but I didn't have time. We lost light quickly and I was trying to be inconspicuous. Which I wasn't at all, because Buck tried to raise the shade next to our table by stealthily climbing into the booth behind us, but bumbled, fell, and crashed into the table. A manager happened to be walking by and he was very gracious and raised it for us, but I'm sure he saw my camera. We were in stitches. And yes to the pearl couscous. Like I said, I liked the flavor a lot, but the texture was just all wrong. But that's a ME problem. It reminded me of tapioca.

Kirsten Oliphant said...

That's the best kind of dinner: causing a scene trying to be inconspicuous. :)

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