Friday, May 16, 2008

Bonefish Grill Restaurant Naples

Naples’ new Bonefish Grill, in Naples, is the “cat’s meow”, or better yet, high octane catnip, when it comes to providing great service and food.

We went there on only their third night open. With no advertising, they were packed from 6pm to 9 pm; not a free table to be found. As one lady predicted, while leaving, “This place will be filled up every night”, and we agree!

What’s the deal? For starters, the location, for lunch or dinner, with a beautiful view of water and boats, variegated condos and sunset, beats so many other views, hands down. To have just drinks and appetizers on the patio, enjoying the sunset, well, count me and a few thousand others in, to get early seats for the show.

View Just Before Sunset
The décor is warm, woodsy, with artistic flourishes as metal sculptures of bonefish in the Keys. Go to the end wall, the West wall, and look at the beautifully colored prints of two snook (below), and of two Japanese groupers, made by pressing the actual fish on the paper, then coloring the outline.
One woman described the seating as “cozy”, A popular creation is the “community tables” where professionals can sit with, relax, and turn strangers into friends, or more- who knows! Seats at these few tables are in high demand, for their social and networking benefits. Manager Rob Asbell, and Culinary Manager Tim Breidel, seeing the waiting line, went to the kitchen, and brought back trays of bite sized goodies for those on line to sample and taste, at no charge. There were special treats for the waiting kids, too. They may very well continue offering samples of this “Lobby comfort” as a tradition!”. Perhaps start with a martini. Our server suggested the Blueberry Martini ($7.50). Not my first choice by name alone, however this mix of Stolichnaya’s Stoli Blueberi vodka ‘muddled” with fresh blueberries, had a rich “mouth feel”, and clearly was an “adult’s” drink, despite the name. Happily, I made “All gone”, as it was not what I expected!
The popular Hypnotiq Breeze Martini ($7.30), with Bacardi Coco Rum, Hypntotiq liquor, and pineapple juice was also a hit.

Want something lighter, try the beautiful Strawberry Basil Lemonade (7.5),(below) with Stoli Ohranj vodka, muddled strawberries, with fresh basil and fresh sour mix- a great thirst quencher. Wines by the glass are reasonable, with a Copperidge Chardonnay (4.8), a Forsythe Merlot (4.8), or go up to a Joseph Phelps Cab (11). A bottle of 2006 14 Hands Cab is $7 a glass, or $27 a bottle-very fair pricing.
With these prices, it’s fun to go with a group of 4 or six, and taste many things!

Appetizers start with Bang Bang Shrimp (7.9) (below) with tender crispy shrimp in a spicy garlic chili aioli sauce. Get a bowlful of Mussels Josephine (8.8), (below) with an ample portion of PEI mussels in a tasty anisette-lemon wine broth with diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic and sweet basil.The Maryland Crab Cakes (9.9) have honest juicy chunks of lump Blue crab meat, little other filler, with a red remoulade sauce-nice!

The Ahi Tuna Sashimi (half 8.8, full 14.9) (below) is a stunning presentation, with sesame seared,thin sliced tuna, decorated with a tasty mayo wasabi, and also a sriracha soy sauce piped on the side.

Like a salad? The signature Bonefish Salad (4.9; add Danish Blue or Feta cheese 1.5) (below) is a fresh delight, with an orange juice-lime-lemon herb light vinaigrette, topping a garden fresh assortment of crisp greens, with bits of Iceberg and Romaine lettuce red oak, hearts of palm, Kalamata olives, ripe tomato wedges, with freshly roasted pine nuts. We chose the Feta cheese, and I , for a generally non-salad eater, enjoyed sharing the mix of well balanced tastes and textures. One diner said “So light, so tasty, perfect for a house salad”.
Now for the “mains”. The Pork Tenderloin Portabella Piccata (13.9) was a truly tender tenderloin, properly served pink, grilled, dusted with garlic crumbs, and complemented with a portabella piccata sauce, with capers.

The Sirloin Steak (13.9) is a great buy with a 10 oz. portion, seasoned and grilled, I recommend getting the Garlic Gorgonzola butter topping (1.5).

I had two piscine favorites. The Pistachio Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout (17.4), (below) sautéed, with a crust of pistachio and panko crumbs, then drizzled with a basil-lemon butter sauce, and a few artichoke hearts. A tender and delicious creation!
The special, Chilean Sea Bass, was melt in your mouth heavenly-a must-have, when available! It came with a choice of 4 sauces-mango salsa, chimichurri, Pan Asian, and a lemon Beurre Blanc.

A royal delicacy was the special Imperial Gulf Grouper (18.2), with pan-seared grouper, baked then stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and crab meat.

Main Dining Room
The Bonefish's Grill
And the Cooks!
For desserts, the Crème Brûlée (4.9) (below) is a steal! It’s a HUGE 8 oz portion of the classic creamy dessert, graced with fresh mint, and seasonal berries. This portion would cost $12-15 elsewhere.
The Macadamia Nut Brownie (5.5) is my heavenly favorite, a Godzilla sized portion of a flourless brownie, with a fudge center, topped with Macadamia nuts, Blue Bell vanilla ice cream, a hunk of fresh whipped cream, and served with a generous puddle of raspberry sauce. Rich enough for three people!

The special Strawberry Shortcake (5.9), (below) is a delight with seasonal fresh strawberries, and a biscuit, Southern style, that stays crisp, with a thick crème anglaise, a large portion of freshly whipped cream, and a sprig of mint. WOW! There’s s also a Key Lime Pie (5.50), with a thick crunchy roasted pecan and graham cracker crust, freshly made every day.

. People were not shy on sharing their thoughts on their Bonefish dinners. The dad of a family of 5, when leaving said “I thought our bill was a mistake, and even re-checked it-it was so reasonable, we’ll be back”. One Naples couple said “We used to drive up to Bonita’s Bonefish, now we don’t have to, and the view is so gorgeous, we’ll start with drinks outside”. A man said “We had a filling dinner for two for under $40 with drinks, it doesn’t kill my wallet like spending $150 a couple on (Naples) 5th Ave South”. His wife said “Talking is easy here, you can hear the other person”. And another said” My favorite was the Sea Bass-fish here is tender, not overcooked, by the old Midwestern “cook till flaked” rule.

Lovely Greeter, Tim Breidel, Culinary Mgr.
Evening at Naples Bonefish Grill. WOW!

Bonefish Grill, 1500 5th Ave South, Unit 112, Naples 239-417-1212


Anonymous said...

We are regulars here after only a few months. The food is fresh the wait isn't too long and the prices are right.

Keep up your good work on reporting good places to eat.

Anonymous said...

Their menu has changed a little which is a good thing. We like Olio and Bonefish and wish more places like them were around with very good food and prices.