Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boston’s Fish House: Relaxed Atmosphere, bring your Grandma

Standing tall on 16yrs of history, Boston’s Fish Market has been on fringe of Winter Park in a modest strip mall for quite some time. I frequent this mall because of the Aldi in it, but it never occurred to me why there was a constant wave of retirees going back and forth from the parking lot across from the restaurant. Or maybe it was the kidney dialysis center? Or the hopping Jeremiah’s Italian Ice that Boston’s Fish is in between? Whatever the reason I joined the torrent of humans last night.

The weird thing about this place is that you order at the counter FIRST, PAY, and THEN get seated while a server waits on you. Weird. Whatever. Let’s dive in anyway… Boston’s Chowder served over Buttermilk Biscuit $5.25, ¼ lb of Chilled Maine Lobster Salad Sandwich $12.95, Broiled Chicken Breast Fillet with a Ritz Cracker Topping $10.25, and Fried Onion Nuggets and Fettuccini Alfredo as side items.

With the submission of money, I was seated and things rolled out pretty smoothly. In retrospect, I suppose pre-ordering this way keeps the business (especially the kitchen) running smoothly and probably works best for Boston’s. The chowder was thick and gloppy.
The flavor was smooth and starchy. And the biscuit only made things doughier. The small bits of clams were on the lesser-than-generous side but at $5.25 the portion size was decent. However, the bowl that it came in bothered me a bit- it was fire engine red and reminded me that other restaurants use these types of bowls for their salad dressings on buffet counters. No matter how dishwasher-friendly a bowl may be, I think presentation is an important part of the dining experience. I wasn’t expecting fancy, but c’mon…

The Lobster Salad Sandwich was creamy, smooth and packed with lobster chunks. I especially liked the toasted sliced bread folded in half- it gave more attention to the lobster meat that my mouth deserved.
The sandwich worked well in a formulaic way of tastefulology: mayo creaminess + soft meatiness + crispy oily-toastyness = busy mouth.

The Broiled Chicken was quite good.
A light Ritz Cracker topping played well with the chicken. Apparently, this topping is what Boston’s is famous for. Simplicity was the name of the game for this dish and it definitely threw it out of the ballpark.

The sides were… well, sides. Nothing really memorable. The Fettuccini Alfredo was something you’d expect from a Fish House rather than an authentic Italian joint. Using the core of an onion as a fried nugget made for a soft, nuttier taste. But they didn’t end up in my doggy bag.

IN A NUTSHELL: With the rising cost of seafood, this joint still sustains semi-reasonable price points. The portion sizes are not over-the-top, but will satiate you. Service is pleasant and non-intrusive (exhibit A: Diane, our waitress). Presentation of the food would really help this place, but I think their focus is on getting the food out just they want it rather than all the frills and hoops that some other restaurants make you go through.
Boston's Fish House on Urbanspoon

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