A popular local destination for fish and seafood

With the Lenten season at hand, I thought this would be the ideal time to try a fish restaurant. So I dined for the first time at Big Eyed Fish Bar & Grill.

Fancy it’s not. And it doesn’t matter because the fish and seafood were so good. I’ve heard that it’s difficult to get it on a Friday because the place is so popular – which is a good testimonial for the food.

And for atmosphere, there are plenty of fish mounted on the walls as well. Be sure to check out the big blue marlin at the back of the restaurant.

I was disappointed that they had run out of hushpuppies. I quickly forgot about that once our Arnold Palmers were delivered. I was impressed that the drink was hand-mixed by our server. This was a nice variation on the usual drink that I get from a can or jug. The tart lemonade and iced tea combo was a good drink to hydrate and cleanse the palate during a food review.

Anytime clam chowder is on a menu, I want it. It’s not complicated, but if done correctly, it is simple and tasty. Big Eyed Fish’s chowder was exactly that. It was served very hot and was jam packed with soft chunks of potato, celery and lots of clams. It was delicious.

I also found my fantail shrimp dinner to be quite good as well. Thirteen shrimp was just the right portion size for the dinner. The green bean side dish tasted homemade. The cole slaw was recommended by our server, and I’m glad I took her suggestion. The fine shreds of cabbage and julienned carrots were fresh, crunchy and tossed in a sweet dressing. I loved it.

If fish has a strong odor, I’m not eating it. This wasn’t the case with Big Eyed Fish’s broiled fish dinner. Bathed in a lemon butter, the filets were moist and melted in my mouth. It was so good that you wouldn’t need the sweet tartar sauce that came with it. My friend would have liked a little more lemon flavor. (Normally this entree is fried, but you can request it broiled.)

The baked beans on her plate didn’t impress me in flavor or appearance. They needed more sauce and looked dried out on top. Additional sauce also would have added more flavor. I would probably skip this next time, but my friend liked the taste.

The pecan pie was enjoyable, although a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream would have been nice to cut the sweetness. Big Eyed Fish’s sugar cream pie was average, but flavorful. It held its shape well and was very creamy.

Big Eyed Fish’s special Lenten menu begins March 1. They’re sure to be busy throughout Lent, so if you’re going, be sure to get there early or plan to wait. <br>

<i> This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Laura Weston-Elchert at lweston@news-sentinel.com, or call her at 461-8468. </i><br>

<center>Big Eyed Fish</center><br>

WHERE: 1502 N. Wells St.

WHEN: 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday

PHONE: 420-3474

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/BigEyedFishBarGrill/ <br>

<center> Menu sampler: </center><br>

* Corned beef hash &#38; eggs: $5.25

* French toast: $4

* Calamari fingers: $5.95

* Cobb salad: $7.50

* Big Eyed fish sandwich: $3.95 small; $4.95 large

* Catfish dinner: $7.95

* Fantail shrimp dinner: $8.50

* Fish dinner: $9.95