I wondered where high school date night was this generation. If a recent Friday was any indicator - it's at Bonefish Grill.
On a night when many downtown restaurants were winding down, when we hit Bonefish around 8 p.m. It was buzzing with diners - and a 15-minute wait for a table.
We passed on a beverage from the bar and waited for our table. Once seated, we wasted no time ordering the restaurant's signature Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer. The shareable portion offered a mountain of tender, crispy fried shrimp that had been tossed in a nicely spicy and creamy sauce. Our server kept the cool drinks steadily refilled and was exceptionally attentive and pleasant - despite the crush of demands coming from all sides.
I chose a special entree, accompanied by a comforting scoop of garlic mashed potatoes and succotash. It's tough to beat mashed potatoes; the succotash was an unexpected side dish that turned out to be buttery rich and seasoned just right.
My grilled Red Snapper was crispy on the outside and fork tender and moist inside. A topping of crab meat, cheese and grape tomatoes added an interesting snap of color and texture.
Ms. T.J. Loved her Grouper equally well. The nicely sized portion was buttery and flavorful. Her choice of scalloped potatoes was the right size, and rich with cheesy goodness.
For an upscale casual restaurant, I'm continually impressed with the wine selection at Bonefish Grill - and the choices of leading American craft beers. Both lists go above and beyond the offerings of competitors who consider themselves upscale destinations.
5500 Abercorn St., 12 Oaks Shopping Center/ 691-2575
That's the new Crypt Pub open on Broughton Street, about three doors east of Montgomery Street. The macabre-themed pub is decidedly Disney-esque with its glowing-eyed skeletons and haunted house elements. The extensive menu, according to the owners, is all local, all from scratch and organic. A full range of appetizers, salads, sand-witches and heartier entrees offers a little something of everyone. Plenty of B-movie themed cocktails are on the bar list, as is a good selection of higher end beers and scary-labeled wines. The restaurant is open beginning at 11 a.m. daily.
315 W. Broughton St./234-0430