My Bonefish Grill Review: New Waterford Lakes Location
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There’s a new Bonefish Grill in our area and I was invited to check it out and to give you a chance to check it out as well. The new location is at Waterford Lakes: 12301 Lake Underhill Road Orlando, FL 32838, phone: (407) 275-2397.
“You’ve never been to Bonefish Grill before? Ever?”
It was as though we’d told Al, our ever-friendly regular taxi driver, that we’d never eaten noodles or had never been to a grocery store before. He couldn’t believe that his food-loving customers had never been to his favorite restaurant.
“Oh man, you guys have to go. Bang Bang Shrimp. Mmmm. The Bonefish Grill is awesome.”
We laughed but didn’t think much about it. You see, when The Hubs and I go out for dinner, we try to avoid chains. It’s not a principle and we don’t have anything against chains or even the corporations that own them. Or at least, that’s not why we opt out.
The reason is that chains seem to specialize in mediocrity. They’re very good at being not bad enough for you to complain but not good enough for you to rave. They cover up for the food quality and so-so service by having a large menu selection, large portions and lots of cheese slipping and sliding over the not-so-good-not-so-bad food.
However, it seems that this does not apply to all chains. Specifically, Al was right: The Bonefish Grill really is awesome.
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a dinner at a new Bonefish Grill location in Waterford Lakes, Orlando. We would be treated to anything we wanted from the menu if I was willing to write a Bonefish Grill review about the experience. Despite Al’s assurances, my chain-phobia made me worried that I wouldn’t have good things to say.
It turns out that I have nothing bad to say. The Bonefish Grill at Waterford Lakes is a really fantastic restaurant.
The restaurant itself was cozy but modern. The music was at a perfect volume where you could hear it but didn’t need to raise your voice to talk over it. I didn’t love that there was a big TV in the lounge that could be seen from the restaurant but neither of us was facing it during dinner so it wasn’t a big deal.
The service was fantastic. It turned out that our server had been sent from another location to help train the staff at the new Waterford Lakes location.
He was very knowledgeable not just about the food and the menu but also about the chain and about the process of opening a new location. We were amazed that the restaurant had only just opened and yet everything seemed to be running along perfectly. He explained that they had spent weeks in class teaching the new staff. After that there had been “Family and Friends” evenings where the staff invited people to come dine for free so that they could all get into the groove. Such an amazing process to learn about.
We decided to start with a drink so the Hubs checked out the beer selection:
We then shared the Bang Bang Shrimp (of course!) and an order of the Ahi Tuna Sashimi.
With my first taste of the Bang Bang Shrimp I was a bit disappointed. Not only had Al raved about it, but when I asked people on Facebook what I should order at Bonefish Grill the Bang Bang Shrimp response was overwhelming.
So my expectations had been raised. So much so that I expected the shrimp to fly into my mouth themselves and bang around in there before taking me on a bite-sized adventure. They didn’t. Well, not at first anyways.
Then we realized that we couldn’t stop eating them.
And then we fought over the last one.
Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp creep up on you with an addictive spicy creamy sauce that you’ll never get out of your mind (I’m seriously drooling right now as I write this).
The tuna sashimi was really good too. I like that it came with two different sauces (wasabi and what I think was sriracha) so you could mix and match the heat. The sesame seared crust was pretty on the fish as well.
For our main courses I had the Chilean Sea Bass. The fish was cooked over the wood-burning grill and was moist and flavorful. I couldn’t decide which sauce I wanted to accompany my meal so I had both the Chimichurri and the Pan Asian sauce. They were both delicious, the Chimichurri robust with garlic and herbs, the Pan Asian a balance of sweet, salty and sour.
If you’re intrigued by these sauces, you should check out the Bonefish Grill Menu online where they have links to their sauce recipes. I think I’m going to try making both of these at home.
With my fish I had the garlic whipped potatoes and they were as creamy and garlicky as I’d hoped. It also came with the succotash. I found it a bit rich and greasy for a vegetable dish but it was still tasty.
For his main my landlubber Hubs had the Fontina Chop. He was delighted with it (and I loved the tastes I had too). This was a really important aspect of our visit. Because The Hubs isn’t in love with seafood, he doesn’t usually want to go to restaurants that specialize in it. He’s had too many bad experiences where the non-fishy items on the menu are a just-in-case for the rare fish-hater who finds himself lost at one of their tables. In fact, he even says that you can judge the overall quality of a seafood restaurant by how good their non-fish dishes are. If the restaurant really cares, they will make sure that everything is delicious, not just their most popular items. I think he’s right. And the Bonefish Grill chop definitely got his meatatarian seal of approval.
He had the Au Gratin Potatoes with his chop. They were as creamy as the whipped garlic potatoes but with a nice strong cheese flavor.
At this point we were pretty stuffed. Not only had we had the drinks and the starters and our mains but also quite a bit of wine. But you see, Bonefish Grill was treating us to this meal and I felt that I couldn’t do a proper write up of the restaurant without at least tasting the desserts. So we used the bit of wine left in our glasses to wash down some tasty treats.
I’m a sucker for Crème Brûlée and order it whenever I see it. The Crème Brûlée at Bonefish Grill had that perfect light-and-rich-at-the-same-time-but-I-don’t-know-how-or-why quality that I love about this dessert.
The hubs had a rich and chocolatey concoction that he barely shared with me. I’ll just say that he was really quiet for awhile and so I know it was good.
Al picked us up after our night at his favorite restaurant. He said, “You’re smiling. Good! How was it?”
We answered at the same time, “Amazing!!”
He laughed and gloated all the way home, “Never been to Bonefish Grill before. Ha! I knew you’d like it. Did you have the Bang Bang Shrimp? Oh man! Those shrimp are so good. What about the au gratin potatoes? Did you try those! And did you…”
Our taxi driver smiled and asked questions the whole way home. We smiled and answered. It had been a good night.
I hope you learned a lot from my Bonefish Grill review. It’s a great restaurant that has just won the Best Seafood in Orlando award from the Orlando Sentinel. I hope you check them out.