published Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Lobster in season at Bonefish Grill, and there’s always Bang Bang Shrimp

The lobster dinner at Bonefish Grill comes with lobster tail, salad choice and a side for $12.90.
The lobster dinner at Bonefish Grill comes with lobster tail, salad choice and a side for $12.90.

IF YOU GO

■ Where: Bonefish Grill, 2115 Gunbarrel Road.

■ Phone: 423-892-3175.

■ Website: www.bonefishgrill.com.

■ Hours: 4-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11:30

p.m. Friday, 3-11:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday.

■ Entree price range: $7.90-$27.50.

■ Alcohol: Full bar.

Do you ever find yourself in a menu rut, choosing the same dish time and again at your favorite restaurant?

I do this at Bonefish Grill — Bang Bang Shrimp every time I go.

I know it’s good, easily the best shrimp dish I’ve ever had. But I’m sure every other item on the menu is good too, and I really don’t know why I haven’t tried anything else.

But on my last visit, I threw habit aside. It didn’t take much convincing when I saw all the new lobster choices that will be offered every Tuesday through January.

THE MENU

Bonefish Grill’s offerings go well beyond fish, but fish is what it does best. The menu offers everything from commonly found tilapia to varieties not available in many restaurants in town, such as Chilean sea bass, Alaskan halibut, ahi tuna, jumbo sea scallops, Snake River rainbow trout and Gulf grouper.

All come grilled, but then you choose the sauce you want as an accompaniment: lemon butter, mango salsa, chimichurri or a sweet Asian glaze. If you want your fish prepared differently, be wowed with the Spinach Bacon Gorgonzola salmon.

The good prices on the lobster grabbed my attention. You can get a single lobster tail with warm butter for dipping for $7.90. Or have it served on a mini New England roll with fries on the side for the same price. For just under $17, you can have it served Thermidor-style with a creamy white wine sauce atop a wood-grilled, 6-ounce sirloin.

The lobster dinner served with lobster tail, salad choice and side dish for $12.90 is the best deal of all. Squeeze a little fresh lemon on top, and you don’t even need the melted butter. Each bite tasted as if I were sitting in a restaurant along the coast of Maine feasting on lobster that had just been pulled from the sea.

Bonefish also does doubletime as one of the best steakhouses in town. Though my husband’s steak filet, which he ordered cooked to medium doneness, was medium-rare in many places, it was still fork-tender, as it should be. No sauce was needed. Every bite of a Bonefish steak strikes a chord on your palate, dancing with flavors from a well-seasoned grill.

THE SERVICE

I wouldn’t expect anything less than professional service at Bonefish, and that’s precisely what was delivered. Bread and drinks arrived immediately after orders had been taken. Timing was perfect, with entrees arriving about the time we’d had our fill of bread. Drinks were refilled in timely fashion without a lot of fuss questioning our welfare in between our server’s appearances.

THE SPACE

Low lighting, gleaming wood floors, candlelit tables … they all add up to a very pleasant ambiance. Relax and take it all in. Soft music plays in the background. There are touches throughout the restaurant to remind you this is a place for seafood, from the fish-head “doorknob” on the revolving door that deposits you into the bar to the main wall in the main dining room, where a backlit sculpture of the sea dominates the room.

Tables, booths and a combination of the two — booth seating on one side and chairs on the other — fill the dining area. White linens dress the tables in understated elegance, though the attire for the evening is casual. Earth-tone colors blend with all the wood, giving the restaurant a clubby feel, one that’s comfortable for enjoying a romantic meal, visiting with family and friends or impressing business clients.

THE VERDICT

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to Bonefish, it’s time for another visit. The lobster specials will be there through January. There are always nightly specials, with lobster featured in several ways on that menu, too.

Bonefish is a chain, but it’s one of a few that seem to understand that Americans have become quite discriminatory in their dining choices. We don’t want regular menu items simply repackaged in different ways. We want new items on a regular basis.

Although I wish the lobster menu would stay, it’s nice to know it will only be available when lobster is at its best. It gives us something to look forward to each year.

And when the lobster specials are gone, I can always go back to Bang Bang Shrimp.

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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