Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
Jan 12, 2001 11:11 AM

Big Fish Seafood Bistro, Princeton Market Fair (NJ)

  • b

So I've been reading messages on the boards for awhile, and figured it was about time to make a contribution!

My mother and I went for lunch at Big Fish Seafood Bistro in Princeton Market Fair (in NJ) last week. Although it took a few minutes to get seated, that was only because the hostess was fulfilling our request for a booth. She said it would take "two seconds" but it took more like 5 minutes -- still, not too much of a problem. It would have been nice, however, to have a waiting area that was nonsmoking (the hostess stand is right in the middle of the bar and people were smoking there). Once seated, it was as if we were in our own private restaurant -- the high booths were comfortable and gave a sense of seclusion -- a very welcome feeling at a busy lunch hour.

Our server (K.C.) was friendly and accommodating. Our drinks were brought over almost immediately. My mother is a diabetic and, as her blood sugar was running low, was very pleased when K.C. brought us over a complimentary plate of bread (without us having to ask for anything). This was seasoned well and at the perfect temperature for nibbling. It wasn't greasy, either -- something that you often see in bread like this. Not long after that, our meals were brought over. My mother had the crab cake sandwich and I had the coconut-battered fried shrimp. We're pretty discriminating eaters, and we agreed that the crab cake was one of the best we'd had -- ever! Not a lot of filler and a lot of delicious crabmeat. The coleslaw that came with her meal was also amazing! Coleslaw is difficult -- everyone has a different preference and there are many ways to prepare it -- but you found the right way! I didn't try her fries, but she assured me they were wonderful as well -- crispy and not greasy. My shrimp was beautifully presented on a bed of kidney beans and rice. The beans and rice were seasoned very well and an unusual, delicious partner for the shrimp. The sauce that came with the shrimp was not what was expected (it had more of an orange marmalade flavor than a chile flavor -- I can't remember exactly what the menu said it was going to be, but I expected something more Thai-like) but that sauce was incredible so I didn't mind the surprise! The shrimp itself was the only disappointment -- it just wasn't very good. Also, the batter on the shrimp could have used more of a coconut flavor and texture.

We were very surprised at the price of the meal -- we've paid much, much more in the Mercer/Bucks area for food that wasn't even close to the high-quality food we had at Big Fish. (I think for both meals plus 1 soda it was $23).

All in all, a VERY fine dining experience -- we will DEFINITELY go back!

I had been to Big Fish one time before, but it was earlier in their history -- they've definitely improved. (It wasn't bad the first time -- just not this memorable).

- Bonnie


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. r
    Rosemary Byrne Molloy

    My colleagues took me to The Big Fish for my birthday last week. I had mahi mahi, which was superb; I wasn't as crazy about the unpleasantly hard rice and undercooked veggies that accompanied it. The seven people with me all greatly enjoyed their meals, which ranged from the crabcake sandwich to chicken for the fish-hater in the group.

    The downside was the general disorganization of the place. One of us had called the day before for a reservation and somebody even called back to confirm. When we got there, they had no record of it. We waited a good ten minutes before the table was ready and although the staff was pleasant enough, no apology for the delay was offered.

    Our server was a sweet and polite young woman, but clearly inexperienced; several mistakes were made when the orders were brought. And it took so long to get our meals! We arrived shortly before noon and it was almost two before we left. True, we ordered dessert and coffee, but even so, the wait seemed inordinately long from bread to appetizers, to main course, to finale.

    I'll certainly go back--want to try that crabcake--but that's because I trust the management will put a little more effort into training the staff.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Rosemary Byrne Molloy

      Sorry. Have been twice and found food mediocre at best.

      1. re: Naomi

        Had the worst meal I can remember in a long time at the Big Fish on Wednesday evening. Ordered simple grilled halibut. The fish came out milky white, no grill, oven or broiler produces fish like that. Looked like it was probably cooked in the microwave. I ordered steamed vegetables. They were hard and barely cooked and tasted like they were cooked in a pressure cooker. But worst of all, I don't even think the fish was halibut. The texture was different than any halibut I ever tasted. It looked like scrod to me.

        1. re: Frankie

          Sorry to hear you had such a horrible meal at Big Fish. I worked there as a food runner and I can say with 100% certainty that they DO NOT cook their fish in a microwave. As far as the vegetables being hard, I guess that is a personal preference, but the less vegetables are cooked, the better they are for you.

    2. Sorry. Have to add another thumbs down for BigFish. We've tried so hard to like the place since it's connected to our favorite area movie theatre and makes for a convenient night out. However, the meals have never been anything more that mediocre. We've tried it all from the crabcake (definitely best on the menu) to the fresh grilled fish selections. The cooking always varies and have had some forgettable meals here.

      A much better alternative for fish is the Blue Point Grill on Nassau in Princeton. Their grilled whole bronzini is the best! Also, instead of a movie & BigFish, it's now a movie and PF Changs. Same bar options and much better food options for a casual night out.

      1. I can't commend on the food, as I don't eat seafood....i know its a mental thing I'm trying to get over....even looking into hypnosis!

        however, since my co-workers do, i went for a little get together.

        The waitress was horrible. No clue on her name, but absolutely horrible. Inattentive, wrong drinks, left 2 rounds of drinks ON the table before clearing...waited too long for the check.

        The...uh.....burger was good though.haha.

        My co workers agreed on the service, however, they said there food was OK.

        I hear they also have REALLY good happy hour appetizer specials?

        our experience, table of 6 or 7 lasted almost 3 hours!

        1 Reply
        1. re: RPMcMurphy

          RPMcMurphy - Its funny you mention the happy hour at Big Fish. I was in the area on business a few months back a decided to stop in for a very late lunch. Since they were running that happy hour special I decided to order a few plates at the bar and try it out. While I don't recall what I ate, I do remember leaving the place feeling less than satisfied. I'm sure if the food had any redeeming qualities I would have made a mental note.