Bonefish Grill offers casually upscale atmosphere, unique menu
by Staff Writer
by Cathy Swiney
HUNTERSVILLE – Monkfish, wolf fish, red fish, white fish.
Dr. Seuss would have a field day writing about the seafood selection at Bonefish Grill, which recently opened in Huntersville. At least 37 kinds of common and not-so-well-known seafood has appeared on the menu at some point.
Seafood dots menus around the area, but with the exception of ultra-casual fish camps, where frying is the preparation of choice, there is no restaurant dedicated to creatively prepared market-fresh seafood served in a casually upscale atmosphere. The arrival of Bonefish Grill, a national chain, in Huntersville changes that.
“As far as the menu and atmosphere, we felt it was a great fit for us,” said Jordan Biel, managing partner of the Birkdale Village location. “There really isn’t that much in the way of a fresh seafood restaurant around the lake.”
It’s a seafood-you-don’t-eat-every-day kind of place. Here are some of the more unusual, as described by the restaurant’s website: Monkfish is a cold water fish out of New England that has a delicate sweet flavor and is known as the poor man’s lobster. Atlantic golden tilefish, which forages mainly on crab, has a firm texture and clean taste, making it as good as sashimi. Arctic wolf fish has a sweet flavor thanks to a diet of lobster.
“We’re trying to bring in something people haven’t had before and also educate them,” Biel said.
Come in a business suit or flip-flops, the polished yet casual atmosphere will accommodate any style. The dining room, where illuminated 3D artwork draws attention, offers seating at booths and tables. A large bar area provides small table seating and three communal tables which invite conversation among fellow diners. The space is dimly lit with upbeat music. The small patio is a welcome sight for those who enjoy dining alfresco.
Start with the signature appetizer, Bang Bang Shrimp. A pyramid of lightly breaded and fried shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce, served on a bed of chopped lettuce, are perfect for picking with the handy chopsticks provided at each table. For a non-seafood option, try Wagyu Beef and Ginger Dumplings, made with shallots, Thai peppers and soy sauce.
Wood-grilled seafood entrees include Gulf grouper, Chilean sea bass, Norwegian salmon, sea scallops and shrimp, rainbow trout, longfin tilapia, coldwater lobster tails and ahi tuna. Personalize your choice by selecting from one of four sauces created to enhance the flavor of the fish: sweet and zesty mango salsa; chimichurri, made with extra virgin olive oil, Italian parsley, garlic and red pepper; pan Asian, a sweet Asian glaze; or classic and light lemon butter.
Pecan Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout is a personal favorite, Biel said of the entree sautéed with artichoke hearts, fresh basil and lemon butter. Baked entrees include Maryland Crab Cakes served with red remoulade; and Diablo Shrimp Fettuccine, tomatoes, capers, onions and spinach fettuccine in a garlic cream sauce.
Specials, which change based on the season and availability, broaden the menu by offering seafood selections from around the world. Tempting choices have included Chilean Sea Bass stuffed with shrimp, scallops and lump crab meat topped with lemon caper butter; and New Zealand Orange Roughy, topped with sautéed spinach, lump crab meat and a lime tomato garlic sauce.
“We don’t accept frozen product,” Biel said. “Depending on the moon phases and what’s on the dock, sometimes (a special) might just run three days.”
A few options that don’t come from the water will appease non-seafood lovers. These include wood-grilled chicken, pork and steak entrees. Also find finger-friendly burgers, tacos and fish and chips.
Entrees are served with a seasonal vegetable and choice of side. The most preferred side, Biel said, is the potatoes au gratin. The cheesy dish mixes cubed potatoes with cheddar, Parmesan and Gruyere that is baked for a pleasing crunchy finish.
For dessert, Jen’s Jamaican Coconut Pie is a favorite. The crustless pie features a creamy custard, rum sauce and fresh whipped cream.
Bonefish Grill is a nice catch for area diners who want to take comfort in the seafood they love or who want to expand their knowledge. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “My, what a lot of fish there are.”