BLT Fish, June 8, 2006

BLT Fish
17th Street

Wednesday-Thursday felt like an entire week in and of itself. I had to get up at 3:45am Wednesday to catch a plane to Atlanta for a two-day meeting. Got to the meeting at 9am and got out of the meeting at 6:30pm. Then we went to dinner - getting back to the hotel at midnight. Long story longer...I flew home and took the cab to ABC Home & Carpet to meet Danna and get my hair cut and restyled (Beauty Parlour - thanks Joey, it looks great). So afterwards we decided to celebrate the new job that I was offered somewhere in between all of this. We stayed in the area and went to BLT Fish.

The downstairs "clam shack" is a cross between Babbo (music choices and volume) and the front room of The Mermaid Inn (food/ambiance) but much more jam-packed (read: tight).

We were a walk-in and were told by the well-dressed, well-coifed and glassed host that it would be a 30 minute wait. Waiting patiently (though starving), we breached the 40 minute mark and asked the whereabouts of our table. The host apologized and said that it'd be another 15 minutes. Argh. Then, less than a minute later, he said that a table was ready for us. We were both thankful - because we were about to walk out, and I really wanted to give this place a shot.

We get a seat in the back and quickly place an order for the Whale's Tail Pale Ale - the only remaining beer available on tap (of a possible three).

Oysters were definitely on the agenda this evening, so I went ahead and tried a half dozen, four of which were new to me. I had the following:

Danna ordered a cup of the New England Clam Chowder ($5) - with bacon, we were made aware - and though fragrant with the smell of bacon and relatively tasty - it was a bit thin. Some may say the absence of cream is a good, healthy version - I say otherwise. The flavor was there, the ingredients were all good, but it was very thin on the lips.

For entrees, Danna was all about lobster ($MP - about $36 I think). She had her mind on it before we got to the restaurant, and nothing would change it. Good thing too. The 1 1/2 pounder was sweet and succulent. The tail was a bit firmer (overcooked) but that might have been a result of slower eating (cracking the claws and such takes time) and the fish continuing to cook a bit. The claw and particularly the knuckle sections were excellent. Juicy, salty, sweet in all of the right amounts. It was served with a ramekin of lemon hollandaise sauce (per Danna's request) but ended up on my plate, rice pilaf (average at best) and a forgettable shredded salad.

I ordered the yellowfin tuna (rare) with the spicy salsa ($24). The spicy salsa neither arrived on my plate nor tasted the slightest bit spicy when it finally did arrive. The tuna, however, was perfectly seasoned, grilled perfectly on the top and bottom and simply delicious. A nice portion size as well. I also ordered the rice and again, was less than great.

We decided to order dessert - this was a celebration after all. I got the key lime pie ($7), Danna went for the berry bread pudding ($7). The bread pudding was served cooled and was tasty, but we prefer our bread pudding warm and gooey. The key lime pie was very good, but not at the level you get in Bonita Bay, Florida, for example.

Total cost with tax came to about $112. Our waitress was great -- her persona fitting for this style restaurant, but not the upstairs one. She knew her stuff and was frank with her answers to our questions ("get the bread pudding, you can get apple pie anywhere"). I told Danna that she will, by night's end, be either really great or really bad. My odds were in her favor and she proved me right.

Would I go back to BLT Fish's downstairs room - in a word, no. Maybe for some oysters at the bar, but that would be it. I imagine the upstairs is amazing. The elevator alone was cool enough to warrant a trip back. I love seeing the inner workings of things like that. Would I recommend this place to a friend - sure, its worth going once. I think the prices - specifically for the main dishes - are too high. But I think there are better places for the price.

Oh and apologies for not having photos. My phone crashed earlier and didn't have time to recharge it.


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