Eat. Critique. Repeat.

Get your blue on at The Blue Fish in Avondale
Contrary to popular diet beliefs, food and the color blue do mix, especially at The Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar at 3551 Saint Johns Avenue in Avondale. A quartet of diners put it to the test on a Sunday evening and gave high marks to the staff from start to finish. The waiter was good natured, attentive and provided ample clarification on the extensive menu, and she accommodated our request to turn the overhead fan down to less than a gale-force wind.
We began with a bottle of Rodney Strong Chardonnay (Sonoma Valley, $22) which was crisp and clean. Our designated driver ordered black coffee and was “in for a treat” according to the waiter. Yes, indeed, the coffee was fresh, bold and superb, and replenished often.
Two of us opted for the Light Plate (3-4 ounces of protein), while another chose the Entrée portion of 8 ounces, plus the vegetable (fresh broccoli) and starch (mashed potatoes) of the day. Average price of an entrée is $26 ($19-32) and prices are a few bucks more for the Menu of the Day selections. The standard menu also includes non-seafood items for meat lovers.
Our party was given seven fresh fish selections, including grouper, salmon, halibut and red snapper, and then could choose to have the meal prepared in a variety of ways from either the standard menu or specials. The pecan crusted salmon was sautéed and topped with a crawfish and crab relish and was every bit as delicious as the grouper prepared the same way. “Yum! Yum!” The rich, spicy gravy on the “extraordinarily good” Crescent City Snapper entrée (bronzed, with crawfish, crabmeat and jumbo gulf shrimp) was declared “to die for” and the deep fried grouper was served with ample fries done well and coleslaw. The only odd culinary note was the “Pepto-Bismol” pink color of the salmon, perhaps due to an aggressive marinade.
Having left room for dessert, the two small plate diners shared the Dark Chocolate Torte, a fine choice from among pies, cakes, créme brûlée and an ice cream parfait. The torte was wonderfully dark and dense, served with two could-have-been-larger dollops of a vanilla and a chocolate mousse on a bed of raspberry sauce. I paired my portion of the tort with a pot of Earl Gray and was thrilled to get both a pot and a filled cup of hot water.
Our share of the tab for two entrees, the bottle of wine, one coffee and one hot tea was just under $60 pre-tip. The other couple picked up the dessert and a glass of Merlot with their dinners for the same total tab. Both couples left feeling that The Blue Fish deserves its “#1 Best Fish Place in Jacksonville” vote. The restaurant has a lot of interesting art; the ambience was serene and conducive to conversation. Shaded sidewalk dining is available on most days, weather permitting.
The Blue Fish serves lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch, and has a Happy Hour and an after-hours lounge for night owls. Check out the menus and hours of operation at
www.bluefishjax.com.

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