1607 West End Blvd
St. Louis Park, MN
We are at Bonefish Grill, St. Louis Park on the West End. I know it’s a chain – as of 2015 – their 15th anniversary - they had 210 restaurants in 28 states but we received a half-off coupon in the mail, had a late afternoon appointment out in the West End, missed out on lunch and decided to have an early dinner at Bonefish. It’s a partially cloudy hot August day. We start out inside but it is meat locker cold so we get a table outside. It is not too bad on the sidewalk but then the sun comes out and the temperature shoots up so we return to the meat locker temperatures inside.
At 5:00 Monday one other couple occupy the huge posh looking dining room. The beer menu shows all the creativity and knowledge one would expect from a 1990’s chain restaurant. Lovers of beer brewed by sponsors of major sporting events will find plenty of suitable choices. Our waiter apologizes for their poor beer selection and his lack of beer knowledge. He drinks wine. They have one local craft beer on tap, Badger Hill Trader IPA which I order. Nancy orders a Jameson’s on the rocks with a splash of soda and a twist of lemon. It arrives with water instead of soda. The other couple at the far end of the dining room appears to be engaged in one of those intense late afternoon after work discussions that office people fall into when they get too involved and have to talk things out. I suppose they chose bonefish because the chance of someone they know seeing them there is thin. The menu offers a variety of grilled fish and meat selections and the pricing is on par with other white table cloth restaurants. It’s Red Lobster for people wearing suits. Nancy and I each order a bowl of clam chowder to go with our drinks. The flavors of the chowder are good - not over salted and with the right amount of bacon but the cook is heavy handed with the flour used to thicken the chowder and the result lies somewhere between proper chowder and wallpaper paste.
The bread plate has a heated loaf of semi-artisanal white bread with some spiced olive oil and it is pretty good. The entrees come with a choice of two sides. Nancy orders a single lobster tail with coleslaw and broccoli and I order blackened walleye with three shrimp and Jasmine rice and sautéed spinach. I get the wrong sides. My walleye and shrimp are cold by the time the proper sides arrive. The coleslaw is shredded cabbage with very little dressing – something a cabbage worm might relish but hardly human fare. Nancy’s lobster tail is overcooked rubbery and so heavily salted that all of the lobster’s sweetness is hidden. Although cold, I like my walleye’s flavors but it is borderline too salty and the shrimp, while flavorful are also over cooked.
The manager comes by and asks how we are doing and I let him know. He offers to have the food redone but we are disappointed enough to just leave. With a house of 4, one would expect that the waiter could submit the orders correctly and the cook could properly execute them. In Camarillo Brillo Frank Zappa asks “Is that a real poncho . . . I mean Is that a Mexican poncho or is that a Sears poncho?” This is definitely a Sears poncho kind of place.