First Look: Bonefish Grill

The fine-dining seafood chain makes its way to Minnesota


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pan-asian tuna courtesy of bonefish grill

St. Louis Park’s Shops at West End recently landed a big one: the fast-growing Bonefish Grill, by the company behind Outback Steakhouse. The new Bonefish, located beneath ShowPlace ICON Theatre on West End Boulevard, offers a warm and elegant space, with polished wooden walls, a spacious bar, and a towering wine bottle display as the structural centerpiece. Tall booths edge the dining room, with nautical lighting, aquatic art installations, and bonefish-engraved stemware completing the restaurant’s maritime feel. The franchise gives a middle ground to seafood dining; it’s a more upscale experience than you’d get at Red Lobster, but a more contemporary vibe with more modest pricing than that provided at McCormick & Schmick’s.

At the media lunch, the Bang Bang Shrimp was crispy yet light, glazed with Bonefish-original sweet and spicy sauce (turn it into a taco meal, if you’re not about to share). The Cilantro Lime Salad featured a Tex-Mex blend of crunchy and creamy, with fresh greens, crumbled feta, tortilla strips, and corn and beans all tossed with citrusy cilantro lime vinaigrette. For the pescaphobe, center-cut filet mignon practically melted when paired with white truffle butter.

Still, the Bonefish menu pays respect to its new Midwest home, with locally sourced fish such as walleye and rainbow trout to include amongst their wood-grilled fish list. For desert, a Grand Marnier-sweetened chocolate crème brûlée comes coupled with an espresso martini for something sweet, something boozy (I think that’s how it goes). The cocktail, blended with an adult candy land of fresh-brewed espresso, vanilla vodka, and Kahlua, with a rim of raw sugar crystals, is something I’d definitely have twice.

Minnesota rolled out the welcome mat for Bonefish this week: Mayor Hodges even attended the ceremonial cutting of the red tape. And the restaurateurs were not remiss in returning the favor—50 percent of its opening-day profits supported Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities, demonstrating Bonefish’s commitment to its new home.

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