Bonefish Grill is one of those places that never springs to mind when someone says “let’s go out to eat!”. And I have no idea why. So it was pure luck that a friend suggested that we go there for Girls Night while our men were, well, doing whatever men do when their women desert them.
There’s definitely a reason why reservations are needed here. On a recent Saturday evening, the bar was mobbed while we waited for our table. But the wait was more bearable once we were armed with martinis – a round of the Pomegranate variety and then a round of the seasonal Winter White. I’ve never seen my friend Wanda drink anything other than wine or Redd’s ale, but she was happily slurping them down since I had graciously offered to drive. In fact, I later Googled the Winter White recipe (Stoli Cranberry, fresh lime juice, Cointreau and white cranberry juice with a few fresh cranberries thrown in for decoration) and then scheduled an entire holiday party around this particular drink. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
Bonefish was approximately 40 minutes late seating us, so I jokingly grumbled to the hostess that we were “literally starving”. The manager must have overheard me and immediately sent over a Bang Bang Shrimp on the house. It was appreciated but totally unnecessary.
The menu borders on being overwhelming because everything looks amazing. And their prices are downright reasonable (our bill prior to tip was $86), especially since they claim that everything is fresh and that they own no freezers.
After much debate about what to order and what we were sharing, we finally settled on the Grilled Salmon salad, the orange roughy & crabmeat special and the Mussels Josephine. The lady that ordered the mussels is only about 5’2” and I could barely see her face over the enormous pile of shells. And they were by far the best mussels that I have ever tasted in any restaurant, ever. Tender and juicy morsels from Prince Edward Island bathed in tomatoes, garlic, basil and lemon wine sauce.
The Grilled Salmon & Asparagus salad was ordered by Stacie, who is notorious for having eyes bigger than her stomach. I was hoping that she would accidentally leave her doggie bag in my car, because that salad could feed a family of four. Green beans, goat cheese and fennel are tossed into a citrus vinaigrette, complementing the asparagus and salmon quite nicely and making it a pretty healthy alternative.
And last but certainly not least was my orange roughy with crabmeat. I sometimes hesitate to order crabmeat since you don’t always know whether it is true-blue Maryland (or U.S.) crabmeat and the foreign crabmeat seems to have a weird texture and a fishy taste. This dish was perfect and arranged prettily with a side of sautéed squash. I paid a couple of bucks extra for the pumpkin ravioli and also had their house salad. The house salad at Bonefish is not the boring iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber topped with a glob of ranch dressing. It is actually a refreshing mix of greens with kalamata olives, tomatoes and hearts of palm, topped with the same citrus vinaigrette (unless you want to substitute the dressing).
I could see on the television in the bar that LSU was losing to the Crimson Tide, so I figured I better bring home something to soothe my husband. He was lucky that the pumpkin crème brulee actually made it all the way from Bel Air to Abingdon, because although I wasn’t hungry, it looked like heaven.
Mackenzie was our server and she was a pure delight, never making us feel rushed as we mulled over our culinary choices. By the time our evening had ended, we felt like we had made a new friend.
It’s a shame that Bonefish isn’t open for lunch, even if they could just do it during the Christmas holidays. My sister and I wanted to grab a nice lunch while we were out shopping and would certainly have opted for Bonefish if it had been open. There are many, many dishes that I have not yet had the opportunity to try, so I expect that I will be eating more frequently at Bonefish Grill. With a reservation of course!
696 Bel Air Road
Bel Air, MD 21014