Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weird Fish = Weird Meal

The look, feel and especially the whimsical name Weird Fish made me decide the first day I came across it that I wanted to eat here.  It doesn't exactly fit into my cheap eats category, but it certainly isn't expensive.   As I always like to do when I talk about a restaurant experience, I want to make clear that I only had a very limited sampling; usually it's just me or me and a friend eating there and usually only once. 

As I've already said Weird Fish has a great room, with a low-key buzz and a fun crowd.  The service was great by two very game gals.  The food....was ambitious in one instance and not thought through in the other.  I had two special appetizers: coconut milk curried mussels and fries and a Sardine Confit.
The mussels were delicious, but I had two issues with them:  the fries were placed on top of the dish so they ranged from crunchy fried fries to soggy coconut milk soaked fries.  No bread was served and conceptually I like the idea that the fries soaked up the sauce in the way bread would normally have, but in the end I think the dish would have been more successful if the fries had been on the side.  This brings me to my second problem:  the chef uses large chunks of lemongrass in the broth.  I love lemongrass but not in a broth with french fries in a dark room where with every bite I took I had to fish out of my mouth very woody, stringy chunks of lemon grass.  The lemon grass is a flavor not a texture and should be removed before serving.  Otherwise this was a delicious dish.
The Sardines were just so.... well, weird and ill conceived to me I don't really know what they were thinking.  Again we run into a texture issue:  the sardines are served cut up in chunks, not whole.  Thus on my first bite I thought they had been de-boned, but no they had not.  Whole fish would have been easier to deal with and given they were going for a salad compose I personally think they would have been better off serving fillets.  Let me backtrack; here is the list of ingredients in this Sardine Confit:
Grilled Romaine Heart, Pickled Green Beans Fried Okra (battered and deep fried), preserved Meyer lemons (huge unwieldy chunks - nearly an entire lemon's worth), Grapefruit segments (which I didn't actually notice on my plate).  A weird collection of things, the cook in me wants to see how they could all come together in a more edible form.  The citrus should be finely chopped and part of a vinaigrette, the sardines filleted, the green beans nixed and the Okra was so tasty I'd include it even though it seems like it belongs to another dish (or as a side dish on it's own?).

Anyway it's what I get for ordering a weird sounding dish to start with!   These two dishes plus a glass of wine cost $29 plus tip.  I'd for sure go back, only next time I think I'll stick with the fish and chips!

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