Review of Bonefish Grill, Monday August 2009

Posted in Florida, rated 7 to 7.5 at 11:22 by Dominique

all over the US; we went to one in Tampa, FL
Great for: Bang Bang shrimp, seafood, potatoes

I am now the proud co-owner of a house in Tampa. It’s for my little brother and sister, who are on track to become tennis pros (they are amazing and my favorite people in the world). Besides the enclosed backyard pool with fountain, new pool table, and tennis courts and Olympic pool across the street, one of the benefits of the house is that it is close to a Bonefish Grill. I had never heard of this chain before but it is really something. It’s better than a lot of New York places! Part of that is, of course, the crack they are disguising as a fried shrimp appetizer.

Funnily enough, when my mom announced we were going to the kids’ favorite place, I remembered reading a recipe on foodgawker for the Bang Bang shrimp, chiefly because the woman was so crazy about them. If you can imagine the orgasmic delight conveyed in a mere recipe that would cause it to stand out in my cluttered mind, out of the thousands I’ve read, you would still not fully comprehend the joy that is the shrimp. They are tender and crispy, tossed in a creamy spicy sauce. You’ve had rock shrimp with spicy mayo before, I’m sure. I myself have had stellar examples around the city. I don’t know what the difference is here, but these are better. (The recipe lady thinks it’s rice vinegar. If I can ever bring myself to use enough oil to try making the recipe, I’ll let you know.) They are pretty spicy, though not too much for a Szechuan family like mine, and your chief difficulty might be waiting long enough not to burn your mouth. We loved them so much we got an extra plate at the end of dinner. On the other hand, the Singapore calamari, fried with peppers and sweet spicy Asian sauce, was just good. It was a bit rubbery and the sauce was a little too much on the sweet side. It’s definitely better to eat with chopsticks. I am not sure why this should be, but the only time I’ve had squid that wasn’t rubbery was in Capetown. Maybe it’s fresher there?

The house and Caesar salads were fine. My sister and I loved our perfectly cooked scallops and shrimp grilled with lemon butter. The butter was great – I usually don’t like lemon anything, not being a citrus fan, but it had just the perfect hint of flavor to set off the seafood. It’s better than the chimichurri. Mom and my brother were fairly happy with their nice big filets of Norwegian salmon, although they were a tad overcooked.  And we were all delighted with our sides of garlic whipped potatoes or potatoes au gratin.

This particular Bonefish had lots of room in the bar and seating areas. The décor is warm and inviting but still sophisticated, which I like in a restaurant. We had a very nice and patient waitress as well. I hope when I visit for Thanksgiving I can persuade my dad to take us there again.

Rating: 7.5 / 10
Our cost: $100 for 4 (they honored the app + 2 salads + 2 entrees + 2 sides for $18 deal even though it was the day after)
Noise level: not much, probably lively on the weekends though
Chance of walking in: I noticed those little buzzers you see at Olive Garden and stuff so they probably get packed. There were a decent number of people even though it was a non-holiday Monday night, so I would definitely make reservations.

drawn by Lucas Daniels, the Bibbling Prophet

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