Bonefish seems to be betting the entire farm on their Bang Bang Shrimp, which to me indicates that they have a really bad marketing team. They're trying to re-invent their menu, but it's tuning into an Applebee's type affair. Weird recipes, no straight up fish. They're appealing to cretins, which is perhaps their target, but nothing they've done in their new campaign has even mildly lured me in; even with regular 15% off coupons. They've moved to menus with no prices. I suspect that the chain is in big, big trouble.
Bonefish Grill has dumped their lousy brunch and they're now open for lunch. I had $6 left on a gift card, so I though I'd get some fish for lunch. jump-->
At 1:50 the place was dead empty, partly because nobody knows they're open for lunch. As usual, the hostess tried to seat me at a small table in the middle of the room; I'm really getting tired of having to dress down hostesses. Note to hostesses: When the restaurant is empty between 2 and 6 pm, let people sit wherever they want. I got a booth in the back.
Bonefish Grill Interior
Bonefish has specials every day that are often better than their regular menu, which is generally lousy. Wednesday is also Bang Bang Shrimp day; except you can't get the special at lunch. In fact, they don't have any specials at lunch. My server went to get my iced tea, and I noticed that they only have Salmon, Talapia, and Fish of the Day, which my server didn't mention. So I asked him when he returned with the tea.
Bonefish Grill Iced Tea
I didn't want Grouper, so I ordered the salmon. Like everything on the menu, the recipe seems like an overreach, but I figured I could fix it. One thing really stupid is that they don't list the sides on the menu, and all of the entrees include "1 Side" Since I told him I'd been to Bonefish before, it was assumed that I knew all of the sides. I asked him what I could get, and I settled on asparagus.
No bread at Bonefish. It's hard to believe that this place is owned by the Outback group; at Outback the food just keeps coming. >
Considering the age of the clientele, music was awful. Earth, Wind and Fire, Sebastian Tellier, a bad remake of Ventura Highway and Widespread Panic tortured me while I waited. Finally it came out.
Bonefish Grill Salmon
The Asparagus was dry, so I asked for some butter. My server, who didn't seem well matched to the job, brought me out some drawn butter. The artichoke served no purpose; I don't know why chefs insist on using them as they have no taste and never add anything to any dish. The goat cheese also didn't work with salmon; salmon doesn't need a glob of goat cheese on it. The spinach does pair nicely, and whatever they soaked it in wasn't bad. So it served as a purposeful meal that provided some needed Omega 3.
My glass was empty as I finished..."I'll get you another Iced Tea", said my Server. Kinda late.
Frankly I don't see why this place decided to open for lunch; they really have no chance to do much business down here in the Summer, particularly now that the Outback is open for lunch down the block. Outback is a MUCH better deal, and also has better food.
Bonefish simply isn't a good restaurant. Bad service, a creepy ambiance and bad recipes. Add to that a bad lunch menu with hardly any fish, and you have all of the ingredients for a very strong non-recommendation.
I've been sitting on a Bonefish Grill gift card from Amex Rewards for a year; I can never get excited about going. I'm not a big fan of the place. They've recently started to serve brunch; everyone seems to want to get in on the overpriced eggs action.
One good thing is that nobody knows about this Brunch yet, so the place was dead empty.
I ordered coffee, which is what I usually drink with eggs.
Bonefish Grill Coffee
I ordered the Surf and Turf Eggs Benedict, which is an english muffin with filet mignon, lobster and hollandaise. You can't go wrong with that combo, right? While I was waiting I checked to see if the Yankees signed any more superstars, and listened to Redbone and "Last Night". Not bad considering the mostly 80-something crowd.
A runner brought out the food.>
Bonefish Grill Surf & Turf Benedict
On the surface, I guess this looked "ok". The "au gratin" potatoes weren't quite what I expected. I sliced a piece of one of the muffins trying to get all of the flavors at once. Unfortunately, the "filet mignon" was raw.
Bonfish Grill Surf & Turf Benedict Close
I couldn't eat this. I pulled it out to take a closer look. It looked like they grilled a small filet and then cut it in half, because the other one was about the same. My server checked back just as I was dissecting it; he took it back to the kitchen for some additional cooking. It was then that I discovered that the other one was only slightly better. A manager brought back the beef, maybe it was a different one; I can't be certain. I re-assembled the stuff on the muffin and tried to make a go of it, but by now the egg was cold. Given the ingredients, this should be a decadent dish. But somehow it missed the mark. You can't really put salt on this, and the seasonings were a bit off. The eggs were poached properly, which is the only good thing I have to say.
Adding interest was that I encountered 2 lobster shell fragments, which unlike egg shells that you crush with your teeth when you bite into them, they're like biting on a small stone. Great Fun.
Bonefish Grill is what happens what a successful chain that grills steaks and makes Bloomin' Onions gets the idea that they know how to cook. The Olive Garden of Seafood.
I've recently visited the Outback and Carrabba's, so why not round out the Outback family of restaurants by checking out the Bonefish Grill. Its located in a part of Fort Lauderdale that I consider Pompano; and they're only open for Dinner. Happy hour starts early here; its 4pm to 6:30. They have speciality drinks available for $5, and 2 for 1 drinks.
You enter Bonefish in the bar area, which is a large room with a big granite bar on one side and some big butcher block type tables throughout the room. They have 2 very big but old-style tube TVs, and a professional, attentive staff behind the bar. Rachel Ray is whipping something up on one TV, while Cramer analyzes the markets on the other. There's something for everyone at Bonefish.
The menu at Bonefish features many specialty recipes that seem similar to the format of their sister place Carrabba's. Fancy recipes can be interesting, but fish is usually prepared simply; preferably with light sauces or no sauce at all. For starters, they have fish tacos, made with Talapia, "cajun style" with mango salsa and sour creme. Or the flagship "Big Bang" Shrimp; fried shrimp in a sweet chili sauce. Too much "stuff" for me. Give me my shrimp grilled straight up.
You can create your own at Bonefish with their "Grilled" menu, where you choose your fish and pick one of 4 sauces; either Mango Salsa, Chimichurri, Pan Asian or Lemon Butter. You can get a "petite" cut of Grouper, Sea Bass or Salmon as well. I opted for Grouper in Lemon Butter. They give you one "seasonal" vegetable and you can choose one side yourself; my choice was green beans.
The vegetable provided was a sort of chickpea salad, with tomatoes and spinach; pretty good actually. The grouper was properly done, although the sauce leaned more towards butter than lemon. You can always add a squirt of lemon.
The bar crowd subsides around 7:30 as most people seem to get here for happy hour to take advantage of the discounted drinks. Its a pretty nice place and the food is pretty good. If you're in the mood for fish, and particularly if you like your fish with Mango, you can give it a try.