Tag Archives: Seafood

Bubba Gump

Bubba Gump is famous for shrimp, and has built itself around the movie Forrest Gump. It’s a very casual, friendly place for some wonderful shrimp dishes, and is found in many cities across the USA.

 

We ordered a bucket of Cajun shrimp to share. These shrimps come with the shell on, but are so yummy and fresh that we really didn’t bother peeling them very much (but that’s just us, you should probably peel them if you don’t like eating prawn shells). There’s a little heat in the sauce, which adds a ton of excitement to the dish. There’s also the garlic sauce available, and we love that too (a little too salty though).

 

One of the things that caught K’s eye was Gumbo, which is a rich soup served with rice. It’s apparently a southern classic, and K first heard about it when Carla prepared it on Top Chef. It’s not the most amazing soup we’ve had, in fact, it doesn’t even come close, and we’re probably not going to ever have it again.

 

In all we went to Bubba Gump for lunch a couple of times. One of the things A always orders is the Scampi, which is a linguine dish with shrimp, in a butter sauce with tomatoes and capers. The sauce isn’t too rich, but if you do the sensible thing and ask for a lighter sauce (so they use less butter in the cooking) it tastes even better. Yes, you Americans should think about your health a lot more; plus, more butter doesn’t always equate to more taste. It’s a very simple dish, but is done so well. The shrimp are always perfectly cooked and remain moist and juicy, and the pasta is also cooked very well. A isn’t a fan of capers, but they add a little saltiness to the dish, and go so well with the shrimp. A slice of garlic bread is served with the scampi. K loves the garlic bread at Bubba Gump, because not only does it have garlic on the toast, there’s a nice amount of cheese on it as well. (It should come as no surprise that A, on the other hand, hates the garlic bread.)

 

One of the mains that K tried was this dish that’s basically a bucketful of assorted seafood. The lobster claw was quite disappointing – especially so since we just came from Boston, where we had awesomely fresh lobster at Quincy Market, and the most fantastic lobster dish in Atlantic Fish Company, the best restaurant in Boston. There was no way the lobster at Bubba Gump could ever impress us, so it’s really not their fault. The other assorted seafood like fried shrimp was all decent, but not the best way to showcase the seafood, as the batter was quite thick.

 

One thing on their menu that’s worth trying is the Shrimp Po Boy. This is on the sandwich section, and is basically a lot of shrimp loaded into a roll. This comes with some fries (very yummy) and coleslaw (average), and tastes awesome. It doesn’t come with any sauce, but somehow the juiciness of the shrimp ensures that the sandwich doesn’t taste too dry.

Since the concept of Bubba Gump is based around the movie Forrest Gump, sometimes the servers will come around and quiz you on your knowledge of the movie. Some of the questions we got were “Which actor played the role of Forrest?”, “Momma used to say ‘Life is like ___’”, “What was Forrest’s favourite drink?” and “Stupid is _____”. Even though K watched the movie ages ago, amazingly, he could answer most of the questions thrown at him!

Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10

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Fish Bones

First up, let’s say that as compared to other restaurants in USA we’ve been to, service is a bit of a mess here. The servers are a little scatterbrained and slow, and maybe it was our location, but they hardly swung by our table at all, and we really struggled to get their attention throughout our meal. Judging by the numerous awards they’ve put up on their walls around the reception area, you’d expect much better service.

 

Portions here are the largest that we’ve ever seen in the whole of USA. Our starter of garlic bread was 5 massive slices of bread, served on an enormous plate. Unfortunately, there was hardly any garlic in their garlic bread. The slices weren’t even buttered well. Our other starter of bbq sauce prawns was puzzling. The prawns were stone cold, and served with bbq sauce on the sides. After struggling to get the attention of one of the servers, we asked if they’d mixed up our order, but they said that they hadn’t – their bbq sauce prawns were just that: cold prawns with bbq sauce. The prawns weren’t that much of a hit – there was a weird seasoning going on, and the bbq sauce was very necessary to distract us from that strange seasoning. This was a very dodgy start to the meal.

Fish Bones prides themselves on their excellent fish, and aged steaks, so that was what we ordered.

 

While we waited for our mains, we were served the accompaniments to our main courses – a portion of salad large enough to be a meal for one, and a whole loaf of bread, large enough for an entire family of 4. The salad was slightly overdressed, and since A hates olives, she barely touched hers. The size of the accompaniments was just shocking, and I doubt anyone would be able to finish an entire meal as it was presented to us.

 

A’s main was the catch of the day, a grilled seabass, served with some rice and vegetables. The fish was cooked quite nicely – it was fresh, moist and tender. Seabass is that kind of oily fish that retains its moisture well, so it would be quite shocking to be served a dry seabass. What was shocking about this seabass though, was that the skin was very poorly cooked. Firstly, there were many scales left on the fish skin, and it was chewy and rubbery. Perhaps Americans don’t eat the skin of their fishes, but we still find it such a shame that such a wonderful part of the fish was neglected.

 

K’s main was a steak, with a baked potato. We realize that it may not look so in the photograph, but that was the single largest portion of baked potato we have ever seen, and the size of that steak was also staggering. It would honestly have been enough for 2 people, that steak. Having said that, the steak was cooked perfectly. It was absolutely, hands down, the best steak K’s had in a very long time. It was moist on the inside, and there was a nice amount of caramalised fat on the edge to give it more flavour and texture. The seasoning was also spot on.

We left Fish Bones, after a very inconsistent meal, incredibly full. We both agreed that the steak was awesome, awesome, awesome, but they were let down by their handling of the fish. Plus, starters weren’t great. Overall, the whole place needs a revamp, and they should stop resting on their laurels. The décor is incredibly dated, the seats are falling apart and uncomfortable, and service needs to be kicked up a few notches. Till then, stick to the steaks when you’re there, and ask to be seated in a brighter area in the restaurant where they might be more likely to spot you frantically waving about at them.

Service: 6/10
Food: 6/10 for the fish, 8/10 for the steak, 7/10 overall

Noryangjin Fish Market

Address: Noryangjin
Directions: Exit the subway station and follow the smell of fish. You’ll have to cross over a bridge to a short, old building. Signs are all in Korean, so really just follow your nose.

Noryangjin Fish Market is huge. Think Billingsgate Market 4 or 5 times over, sprawling with stalls selling a wide array of the most amazing seafood you can think of, most of which are still alive and swimming around in their tanks. Do as the locals do – pick a stall and select the seafood that appeals to you, then take your catch of the day to the kitchen (the stall owners will probably point you to the kitchen affiliated to their stall) where they’ll prepare your seafood in whatever way you want. If you’d rather not see your meal when it’s still alive, you can just go upstairs to any of the (more expensive) restaurants where you can order from a menu. But there’s really no point kidding yourself and paying a premium for basically the same thing – ultra fresh seafood, so fresh it was still alive just before you sat down.

While on our way to Noryangjin we had made a list of what we wanted to eat for lunch, so when we got there we basically cut to the chase and wasted no time wondering around. We bought a platter of sashimi, some prawns, 2 blue crabs and some squid, and were led down a little (and very wet) alleyway, into a restaurant in the basement, where we took off our shoes, sat down, and waited eagerly for our seafood feast.

The sashimi was very fresh, and a really big portion for USD$15 as well. We would have definitely preferred to have salmon, but it seems that none of the stalls do salmon sashimi. Our mystery fishes had some really delicate flavours, and there was so much sashimi that we ended up playing around with our sauces, and realized that ground garlic mixed in with soy sauce is a really good dip for our sashimi platter.

The first dish to arrive was sannakji. This was the dish K most wanted to have. It’s an incredibly simple dish. The recipe would go something like this: chop up the live squid into small pieces, put it on a plate and serve immediately. What appears in front of you is the most amazing sight – a plate of chopped up squid, still wriggling around in the throes of death. It was just extraordinary. The suction pads on the tentacles are truly working overtime, sticking to the plate as if the squid were struggling not to be eaten. When you attempt to eat a piece, you can actually feel the suction pads attach themselves to the insides of your mouth.

It was a bizarre experience eating something that is still ‘alive’. In actual fact, the squid is most definitely dead. The wriggling pieces are just the effects of rigor mortis, and not a demonstration of how much pain the squid is in. This was definitely a novelty dish. The squid itself doesn’t taste of much, and after the whole plate of sashimi and now this sannakji, we needed some cooked food badly.

The next dish to come was definitely cooked. It was our prawns, lightly salted and grilled. They smelt fantastic, as grilled prawns always do, but were completely overcooked. Pity.

After quite a long wait, our crabs were ready to be served. We had asked the kitchen to cook our crabs in a spicy soup, and it was lovely. The soup had the fresh sweet taste of crab, and was seasoned with a very good amount of spice to give our tastebuds a really nice kick. The crabs were delicate and wonderful, with a nice amount of crab roe to enhance the flavour even more.

Overall this was a great experience. We need places like these in Singapore, where you can be guaranteed fresh seafood all the time. The kitchen charges a small amount to prepare your food, and for the kimchi, rice, sauces and vegetables. It’s a great way to gorge yourself silly on seafood, without leaving central Seoul at all!

Service: 6.5/10
Food: 7/10

Boston and Maine Fish Company

After our feeding frenzy in New York we headed to Boston, and felt like we had to detox for a bit, so for dinner we had a simple meal of instant noodles in our hotel room. Feeling suitably detoxed the next day, we went straight for lunch in Quincy Market with a friend of A’s, YL, who’s doing a PhD in Harvard, and very kindly agreed to bring us around the city.

When in Boston it would be an absolute sin not to have lobster and clam chowder. There are numerous stalls in Quincy Market selling lobster and clam chowder, but A remembered having one from a particular store that was pretty good when she came to Boston about 3 years ago. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so we set out to find that stall from her memory.

 

The clam chowder at Boston and Maine Fish Company is seriously good. It’s rich and creamy and packed full of seafood, absolutely overflowing in that little cup that they serve it in. A packet of oyster crackers are given together with the chowder, but they don’t add very much to the dish except for some texture perhaps. You can have, as YL did, your clam chowder in a bread bowl, which is probably a meal in itself if you finish the bread bowl too.

 

We got ourselves a lobster roll, which was just stuffed with lobster. They don’t scrimp on portions here for sure, and are equally big on taste. While tucking into our lobster roll, we saw our steamed lobster being prepared. The cook dunks the entire lobster in a pot, and after a while, it emerges red as a, …, lobster. He butchers the lobster, and presents the entire thing on a plate with some corn and butter.

 

What better way to have lobster than to eat it fresh and au natural? The lobster was slightly overcook, but still sweet and wonderful enough on its own without needing the bit of butter on the side. The corn was mushy though, so we barely touched it.

Overall this was a really nice meal, and A got a really good chance to catch up with her Primary School classmate, YL. If we had more time in Boston we would definitely have returned to Quincy Market to try out the food at other stalls, as they all looked really good.

Service: NA
Food: 6.5/10

Atlantic Fish Company

761 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts.
617 267 4000
www.atlanticfishco.com

K had made reservations at this restaurant ages ago, as it was rated extremely highly on practially every website he could find. It’s not the cheapest place to eat in Boston at all, but since we were only going to be in Boston for just 1 night, we wanted to have the best food experience the city had to offer, so Atlantic Fish Company we went.

The restaurant was very full when we arrived, and it was good that we had made reservations, so we could just walk past the queue and those envious glares. As its name suggests, Atlantic Fish Company serves fish. It does lots of different types of seafood, and serves some of the freshest catches of the day, straight off Boston harbour.

We ordered a New England Clam Chowder, some oysters, and a portion of crabcakes to start. The oysters are supposedly some of the best available in Boston, but to us they were very disappointing. Size-wise they looked pathetic, not plump and juicy looking, and definitely not plump and juicy tasting as well. We’ve had far better ones in Borough Market in London. In fact, those oysters we’ve had in Borough Market are the yardstick by which all other oysters will be measured against, in our book.

After the disappointing oysters, we began to question our choice of restaurant. Perhaps we would have been better off going to Quincy Market instead. However, the moment we sank our teeth in the crabcakes, all was forgiven. Those crabcakes had so much flavour and crab that it really gave new meaning to the name ‘crabcake’. They were literally cakes made of nothing but crab. We could see the moist juicy chunks of crab in the crabcake, and with every bite we got a taste of the sea. Sometimes it is best to leave seafood in its pure, freshest form and not mess around with it too much. With the crabcakes at Atlantic Fish Company, they’ve managed to mess around with the crab a little, yet still be able to elevate it and put their own spin on such a simple dish.

Our Clam Chowder was also extremely well done. There were lovely chunks of clams and seafood in the chowder, and we can totally see why it won all the awards it did. One thing that puzzles us though, is the little packet of ‘oyster crackers’ served alongside the clam chowder that we see so very often. They’re probably meant to play the role of the croutons in the soup, but we honestly don’t see how it enhances the soup in any way. For a restaurant like Atlantic Fish Company, it seems like such a cop out to use generic store-bought crackers like these. Shame on you.

For mains, A had a Grilled Swordfish, and K had a steamed Fresh Maine Lobster, with crab stuffing. The swordfish was well cooked, but A wasn’t a fan of the texture of the fish. Perhaps salmon or cod would have been a better choice of fish for her, but nevertheless, it was definitely very fresh and well seasoned.

K’s lobster was outstanding. It was fresh and juicy, and the crab stuffing was one of the most tasty things we’ve ever had in a long time. The side of corn that came with the dish was also so wonderfully sweet and wholesome. Definitely worth every single penny.

If you have some spare money to spend in Boston, (well make that a lot of spare money to spend), Atlantic Fish Company is the perfect place for dinner. The crabcakes and the lobster with crab stuffing are absolute must haves when you’re there, and we guarantee (bad pun alert!) you’ll leave well stuffed too.

Service: 8.5/10
Food: 8.5/10

One-O-One

101 Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7RN
020 7290 7 101
http://www.oneoonerestaurant.com/

Opening Hours
Lunch:
Monday to Sunday 12-2.30pm
Dinner:
Monday to Sunday 6.30-10pm

We made our reservation for 101 on toptable.com, and were careful not to be late, as we were warned that they would cancel our reservation if we were late. That didn’t give us the impression that this would be a friendly place, but seeing that so many people have given this seafood restaurant outstanding ratings, we had to try it out for ourselves. In fact, according to a sign outside the restaurant, this was voted “The country’s best fish restaurant” by Harden’s in 2010.

101 is tucked away in a quiet corner of the Sheraton Park Tower, near Kensington Tube Station. Being the blur sotongs we actually managed to not find the entrance, and we entered the restaurant from the side door instead. But that aside, this was one of the most memorable dining experiences we have ever had.

Service at 101 is impeccable. We’re always conscious of ourselves looking very young, naturally, being students, and we can definitely tell if we’re treated as lesser-customers, which we have experienced at many a good restaurant. Not at 101. Throughout the meal, we were made to feel extremely welcome and comfortable. While we were camera whoring, our server stood by patiently to wait for us to finish, and he was almost apologetic that he might have rushed us into taking our photos quicker than we would usually have.

Anyway, our meal came with the most delightful amuse bouche, and we had bread with butter 2 ways: plain butter and seaweed salted butter. The latter was absolutely amazing and we kept asking for more bread to eat it with.

Our first dish was oysters 3 ways – shallot vinegar, yuzu sorbet and vodka, and tempura with soya pipettes. The oysters were served on a beautiful salt brick, and they tasted just as fine. At £4.50pounds for 3 oysters with our toptable offer, this was amazing value for money.

Next we had Red Tuna Tartar with Crispy Soft Shell Crab Tempura and sushi rice. Once again this was exquisitely presented, as was the Norwegian King Crab Risotto with Truffle Parmesan Pancake.

We had the Whole Seabass Baked in a Crust of Brittany Sea-Salt with Shellfish Champagne Butter Sauce and Sea Lettuce Mash as our main. This was £57 (pre-offer) for a two person portion. The fish came with the sea-salt crust and it was portioned for us table-side. The texture of the fish was delicate, and it came served with a delicious mashed potato with mussels.

 

As a side note, the toilets thrilled one of us in particular (no prizes for guessing who). She couldn’t stop gushing about the Molton Brown hand-wash and lotion that they provided for their patrons.

Overall, the food portions were very well balanced, and even though it didn’t seem like a lot of food, we left feeling full and very satisfied by this fantastic meal. As to whether this is indeed the country’s best fish restaurant, we’re still undecided as we haven’t had experience in other seafood restaurants. However, the next seafood restaurant we go to will have an incredibly high bar to match.

Additional note: We had 50% off our food bill from the toptable website.

Service: 10/10
Food: 8/10