Fish Crazy is my "to go " place for delicious seafood of all types, often paired with Oakes Farms fresh produce! I've eaten there three times in the last few months, and I'll be there again, for one excellent reason-Executive Chef Hector Hidalgo. I follow chefs the way baseball fanatics follow players, and few athletes have batting averages as high has he does. His healthy seafood is so fresh and delicious.
layout has something for everyone, with different areas. It has a full bar (a popular meeting spot),
a fish market,
ideal dining is to graze, or dine tapas-style, sampling variety of dishes at a sitting. Start with some of my favorite apps. Firecracker shrimp ($9) offers a touch of heat without fire. Fresh Gulf shrimp are lightly dusted with rice flour, fried, and tossed with a hint of sriracha in the sauce.
Why rice flour? It makes the dish gluten free. Chef Hector has already anticipated those with gluten sensitivity, and has completely replaced wheat flour with rice flour. Outside of the improvement, you'll not notice. Highly Recommended.
Coconut shrimp ($12) (NOT the full order pictured below) are a delight at Fish Crazy, whereas at other places they are reheated frozen finger food, with more breading than meat. Fish Crazy is light on the rice flour breading, generous with the shredded coconut, and the shrimp are fresh and of good size. The citrus marmalade dipping sauce is a keeper, with candied orange peel and a good touch of heat. Recommended!
Seafood gumbo ($8/6 bowl/cup) is full of fish and flavor-pretty close to what some would expect in New Orleans, just not as peppery hot. That's a good thing for non-Cajun palates. It's a combination of fresh seafood, Andouille sausage, okra, celery, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes, simmered with Cajun seasoning and topped with rice and a chunk of baguette.
More New England style for you? The Florida clam chowder is just as creamy, with lots of clams, bits of potato and light seasoning. ($7/5 bowl/cup)
Keep your eyes open for other daily specials that pop up, especially the amazing crab dip with Brie, Montego and Gouda cheeses, or the ambrosia-like conch and clam chowder.
Ok, time for my favorite main courses.
Miso-glazed sea bass tops the list! this generous portion of tender sea bass with Napa cabbage and a crisp seaweed slaw ($32) beats my prior favorite- miso Chilean sea bass at USS Nemo's by a hair, er, fin! You may find yourself I scooping up every drop of the miso sauce. Highly Recommended.
brown-black olives-I'll take your olives if you don't want them! Hector knows how to sear your scallops, with a touch of rice flour to keep it gluten free.
Hogfish is a local delight that's not commonly seen in restaurants. Same goes for tripletail, pompano and others from Florida waters. Hector's hogfish also comes with your choice of fried, sautéed or blackened. Go for it-the blackened style isn't too spicy!
One special that I hope goes on the regular menu is the "Caribbean cioppino", with a lobster tail, shrimp large scallops, and fish with crisp banboo shoots, red pepper strips, and a wonderful ginger-laced coconut cream base, with jasmine rice. The seafood was properly cooked and oh-so tender. The portion was so large I took part of it home! Highly Recommended!
Save room for desserts. There are regulars, like Randy's nationally renowned Key lime pie, Hector's various rich flans, and special cakes and pies.
until 2015, when they started Fish Crazy. They have NO relationship with Randy's Fishmarket anymore-that's now run by a lawyer. The best cooks followed them to Fish Crazy. Let's just say that outside of the walls, "Randy's Fishmarket has little of what it used to be. If you liked Randy's, then Fish Crazy is the only "true" Randy's...Randy Essig just moved its culinary essence to a better setting. Chef Hector was the Executive chef at Randy's until 2 years ago, when he started the popular La Pinata Restaurant. He is now Executive Chef at Fish Crazy. Manager James Miller is easy to spot as he makes the rounds; he is your go to person for compliments, questions or suggestions.