BANV’s review of the new Bonefish Grill in Bel Air

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    Just got back from dinner at the new Bonefish Grill in Bel Air. I got such a kick out of dining where the Boardwalk Fries in the Harford Mall’s food court used to be. The restaurant just opened Aug. 6 and since the word is just getting out about the opening, it wasn’t too crowded. My husband and I only waited about 10 minutes for a table. The servers told me they aren’t advertising in this first week hoping to get customers by word of mouth. The restaurant was rather swanky for the Harford Mall. It offered low lights, golden earth tones and these long granite-topped tables in the middle of the bar area called “community tables” where you could eat with everyone else in Bel Air if you so desired. Since the wait was short this Saturday night, my husband and I opted for a table of our own. The Bonefish Grill does have a $4.99 an entree Kids Menu featuring such standbys as Chicken Tenders & Fries, Grilled Chicken & Veggies, Popcorn Shrimp & Fries, Mac N’ Cheese and Spaghetti & Meatballs. But I only saw a few older children at the restaurant when we arrived close to 9 p.m. It seemed to be more of a let’s-meet-friends-for-dinner kind of a place. And with entrees ranging from $13 to $28, it makes for an evening out. Bonefish’s bar offers a variety of martini drinks from the Icile Aphrodisiac to the Hpnotiq Breeze Martini. But my husband took eej’s advice and went with a Blue Moon beer instead. Blue Moon is a “white” beer served with an orange garnish. It looks deceiving like a cocktail. But it was good. Thanks, eej! We decided to try the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer, since we heard it was the restaurant’s signature dish. It reminded me of chicken wings as the shrimp were fried and then dipped in a spicy cream sauce. For an entree, I went with one of the night’s specials, a Chesapeake Rockfish topped with crabmeat. Our server informed us that all of the restaurant’s fish are delivered fresh daily and prepared with one of four sauces that range from a sweet teriyaki style sauce to a simple lemon-butter sauce. He said if the restaurant staff deems the fish not fresh enough upon delivery, they will take something off the menu. But Saturday night, everything was available. The “Grilled Fish” choices on the menu included Icelandic Artic Charr, Gulf Grouper, Sea Scallops & Gulf Shrimp, Ahi Tuna, Atlantic Swordfish, Chilean Sea Bass, Atlantic Salmon, Clear Springs Rainbow Trout, Longfin Tilapia, Cold Water Lobster Tails. (They also offer chicken, steaks and some pasta dishes.) My husband went with the Pistachio Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout from the “Saute” section of the menu. We both enjoyed our entrees. I prefer a little less saucing and seasoning on my fresh fish. But that’s just my personal preference. I suppose next time I could ask them to just hold the sauce. The dishes reminded me a bit of Outback Steakhouse, which is owned by the same company as Bonefish Grill. Think Bang Bang Shrimp as the equivalent of Outback’s Bloomin’ Onion with fish replacing steaks. The difference here, of course, is that there is a lot of good seafood to be had around these parts. But there is something comforting and convenient about rolling in for dinner at the same mall where you might pick up some new school clothes. And, with the other restaurants slated to open at the same location in the next few weeks — Five Guys Famous Burgers & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill — the mall addition offers a dining destination where you can browse the restaurant row and decide to eat based on your mood.

    Click here to read The Baltimore Sun’s story on Bonefish Grill from this weekend’s paper.

    Here’s the info on Bonefish from their website:

    Bonefish Grill – Bel Air – Opening Fall 2007

    696 J. Bel Air Road
    Bel Air, MD 21014
    (410) 420-9113

    Managing Partner: Eriksson Hill

    Hours of Operation
    Monday – Thursday 4:00 PM – 10:30 PM
    Friday and Saturday 4:00 PM – 11:30 PM
    Sunday 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM