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My Take on Bonefish Grill

  • j

At long last I headed out to Bonefish Grill for dinner tonight. First of all, at 5:00 I phoned the Centreville location to enquire about the length of the wait for a table and was told that there was no wait at the moment. I then asked if I could get on the waiting list for a 6:30 table, only to be told that they don't accept phone-ins until 6:30, so I asked if there is usually a wait at 6:30. Indeed, there usually is, of about 90 minutes, I was told. This put me on the horns of a metaphysical dilemma--there would certainly be a wait for a table at 6:30, my desired dining hour, and there was no way to avoid waiting at the restaurant for a table (I tried to do the math to calculate at what hour I would need to arrive in order to have a good chance of getting seated at 6:30, but this was too much for me). In the end, we decided to arrive close to 6:00 and see what happened.

Wouldn't you know that at 6:00 the parking lot was full and we wound up facing a 90-minute wait! We tried to phone the Gainesville location to see if the wait was any shorter there (don't get me started on the Kafkaesque conversation I had with the receptionist there!) but managed to find a seat at the bar so just parked ourselves and prepared to eat at the bar.

We started off with cocktails; the restaurant has a relatively broad range of specialty martinis, many of which the bartender recommended highly. We opted for the Rita-Tini (a sort of margarita-martini hybrid) and a "Hypnotq" martini, made with a French liqueur called "Hypnotq" that is made with vodka, cognac and fruit juices, and served with a glow-in-the-dark swizzle stick. It makes for a dramatic presentation and after we ordered one several other parties at the bar ordered them, too. We ordered a dish of the signature appetizer, "Bang Bang Shrimp" to go with our cocktails, and were very impressed. It's a dish of a good number of lightly battered fried shrimp in a creamy spicy sauce. (Again, several other diners ordered the dish after seeing ours arrive.)

For the main course we ordered off the "specials" menu, ordering rockfish with lobster thermidor topping and a prosciutto-wrapped monkfish. The former was a bit wanting, with only a very small amount of lobster (claw meat) in the admittedly tasty sauce. The monkfish was far better, two medallions of fish wrapped with prosciutto and full of flavor.

In general, I had the impression that the appetizer selection was a bit more interesting than the main courses (isn't that often the case?!) and when we go back we might well just order appetizers and leave the main courses alone. However I do imagine we will return, since the interior is nicely decorated, the staff are friendly and helpful (except for the receptionist in Gainesville!), and the food is quite good.

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  1. Did you get to keep the swizzle stick?

    Thanks,

    K

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kok

      We did keep the stick, but it lost its glow pretty quickly.

    2. James: is there really a Bonefish out in the boonies of Gainesville? They could draw people from halfway to Charlottesville.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bob W.

        There truly is; but I don't know where it is.

        1. re: Bob W.
          r
          Ryan Williams

          Actually Gainesville is now the fastest growing area in all of the DC Metro area. A Starbucks is going in this summer...

          1. re: Bob W.

            I haven't been to the one in Gainesville, but I do know where it is. Take 66 to the Gainesville exit (Rt. 29). Pass Gainesville Gateway Shopping center (on the left) and maybe 3-5 miles up the road you'll see another shopping center on the right. There's a Glory Days, the Bonefish and a grocery store. I don't remember what else.

          2. The Gainesville location, being pricey and right in the middle of a college town, is not usually very busy. It can be found right off of I-75, on the west end of the Wal-Mart plaza.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MrMagoo

              Pretty sure they were talking about Gainesville, Virginia...but next time I'm visiting UF I'll know where to find myself a Bonefish Grill :)

            2. I could eat their mussels josephine daily .. =)

              1 Reply
              1. re: andlulu

                Bonefish is one of my favorite of the chains. The ones in Miami take reservations. Mussels Josephine are really good...with plenty of bread for the sauce. I did a google search and got the recipe. We made it and it came out great but it's actually cheaper to get them at Bonefish. We order the mussels as "take-out" for footbal games!

              2. We tried one for the first time a couple of weeks ago (Kentlands, in Gaithersburg, MD). I should have known better, but I expected better. My stuffed Mahi-Mahi was overcooked and without much to commend it. (Although my wife's grilled Mahi-Mahi was much better, plus a more generous portion.) Plus, I get really, really tired of the hyperbolic patter of the wait staff. "Is there anything we can do to make your food more excellent?" (Unless you can uncook it some, I don't think so.) Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but the proliferation of so-called "Martinis" gets annoying. I sort of like to have a drink menu, but putting a Margarita in a martini glass does not make it a Martini. At least this one takes reservations. That was a strong plus.

                1. We've been consistently impressed with the Bonefish here in Wilmington. The food quality is always good and they have a decent wine list and a good bar. My biggest problem with it is that it's often loud and crowded.