Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bonefish Grill Food Review

Sirloin + Crab Cake Dinner

Once upon a time, a local food critic stopped by a (really) nice seafood restaurant and discovered the best sirloin steak he'd ever had. Not exactly War and Peace, I admit; but to a food critic... a masterpiece of a different ilk. The story is mine - an early dinner at Bonefish Grill in Pentagon Row, and the results... nothing short of spectacular.

Of course, all stories (even ones with happy endings) aren't perfect. There was an early hiccup, and it took over 15 minutes to place my order; but once that got sorted out (quickly, and with multiple apologies) I had a meal to (literally) die for. As for the initial delay, part of it could be my fault. I asked for a quiet place to sit, and BG's friendly host escorted me to a full booth in the back (all by my lonesome.) The atmosphere was elegant and upscale, with little to no (noticeable) pretension. The music was hip (All American RejectsGoldfrapp) and played at just the right decibel. My booth was comfortable; although I'm not a big fan of paper tablecloth covers. Then again, it took me less than 30 seconds to spill olive oil (one of several spills during my meal) so obviously, they know more than I do in this regard.

Bread with Pesto

My server was Stephen; and once he got involved, I couldn't get enough (excellent) attention. Would I like bread with pesto, while I wait? Yes please. Less than two minutes later, I received a plate of warm ciabatta bread (several slices) with a glorious mix of olive oil and pesto sauce. It's a nice, subtle twist on bread & butter/just olive oil... and a great way to start off dinner.

Bang Bang Shrimp

Speaking of, I ordered BG's Signature Starter, Bang Bang Shrimp ($10.50) with a Sirloin + Crab Cake Dinner ($20.90) that came with my choice of two Fresh Sides (Coleslaw and Garlic Whipped Potatoes.) Dessert too (Doughnuts, $5) but we'll get there soon enough. Let's start with the cleverly labeled Bang Bang Shrimp, which arrived in a mini casserole dish atop a bed of crunchy lettuce. Unlike the competition, this dish comes packed with shrimp... lots of 'em. I gave up counting after a dozen; but rest assured, you'll have to work hard to find room to keep going afterwards. They're mighty tasty... drenched in a creamy sauce that thankfully doesn't smother the shrimp with (too much) flavor. They arrived piping hot, and the batter was light & crispy. All in all, scrumptious.

Doughnuts (with caramel and chocolate)

Stephen kept a terrific pace, delivering dishes at perfect intervals and always taking time to chat/see how I was doing. Water refills were numerous & timely, and much-appreciated. My main entree arrived (after Stephen checked with me first... nice touch) and my first impression wasn't necessarily sterling. Like it or not, the portions appeared small; but truth be told, they were exactly what they should have been. With the exception of BG's delicious Garlic mashed potatoes, which I could have eaten half-a-dozen times over. All jokes aside (hmm... was I joking?) they should add another scoop at least. Coleslaw was a miss: Broccoli is a really bad idea, and makes no sense in an otherwise creamy, traditional slaw.

The crabcake was moist, with a nice, light crust... and just enough (good-tasting) crab to deliver a proper surf and turf combination. Truth be told, they could have paired anything fishy with their six-ounce center cut sirloin steak, and I'd still have been in Seventh Heaven. That steak... OMG. For starters, it was cooked perfectly (MEDIUM) with a gorgeous char, and plenty of natural juices. Each bite included a nice hint of sea salt and nothing else, save for the aforementioned juices. Asking for, or (shudder) applying steak sauce would have been akin to driving a Ferrari around (and around) Washington Circle... an exercise in futility. Not sure who cooked it, but that person is an absolute maestro. Without a doubt, that was the best sirloin steak (filet mignon's another matter, right?) I've ever had in my entire life. Michelin stars have been given for less.

On any other day, I would have quit while I Bonefish Grill was ahead; but I made sure to have Stephen remind me about doughnuts. Three simple cinnamon fritters with an ingenious twist... a pair of injectors (to apply the sauces.) I'm stealing that idea too (along with the pesto olive oil) although I'd be hard pressed to find a whipped cream as foamy and delicious as BG's. Baby steps, right? Seriously though, I've had all kinds of "fancy" doughnuts served with all types of exotic/sometimes silly sauces; but not one of them came with a do-it-yourself kit (dipping doesn't count.) Bravo again.

Leaving was hard; but Stephen made me promise to come back for more, and return I shall. If BG's Thai Coconut Shrimp are half as good as they sound, I might never go back to Outback Steakhouse again... and they were one of my favorite unofficial "comfort zone" eateries. I'd much rather pay a tiny bit more for food (and service) that's 10x better. Until my next adventure (Half-Pound American Kobe Beef + Egg Burger for Brunch) I hope you heed my advice, and visit often: Odds are, you're gonna love Bonefish Grill too.