Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Leptologists Eat at 89

Paul: We should eat someplace new.

Candice: But, of course. I have a coupon for the place that went in where Michael O'Toole's was. 89 Fish & Grill

Paul: Michael O'Toole's? Sounds familiar but I have no idea where that is.

Candice: Exactly, that’s one of the reasons why it’s gone.

Paul: What's their specialty?

Candice: Do you even listen to me? It's 89 Fish & Grill.

Paul: I guess we're having fish for lunch.

Candice: 89 is located at... surprise! 89 East Nationwide Blvd, which is just across from the food court at the Convention Center, and maybe a 1/2 block down from Max & Erma's.

Paul: Shouldn't that be Max's and Erma's?

Candice: I'll ignore that. We are the first ones here, but we still have to wait for 8 minutes for our server L to appear. That gives us enough time to note the table setting and environment.

Paul: They change the music station three times.

Candice: I mean, really, is it a surprise that your restaurant is opening at 11 am? Put the music on before the guests arrive. And there are salt and pepper shakers on the table. It's like they expect us to have to season our food.

Paul: Maybe it's just there for convenience. And doesn't every restaurant have salt and pepper on the table?

Candice: No. Pay attention, Paul. Other restaurants don't.

Paul: I do notice that the restaurant is open and nicely decorated. The art on the walls is decent. The room is bright.

Candice: I order the Scallop Ceviche and the Baked Atlantic Cod.

Paul: I order the Lump Crab Cake, the Seafood Chowder, and the Tilapia with Lemon-infused Olive Oil flavoring.

Candice: The food arrives! I was fading away! Not that my joy lasts long. The scallops are plumb and fresh, but the creviche doesn’t have the spiky herbal flavor one would expect. It's bland. The paprika chips - the only source of flavor in the appetizer - are stale.


Scallop Creviche
Paul: I win this round. The crab cake is wonderful, served on a bed of fresh basil, surrounded by a tart mustard sauce. Very tasty.

Crab Cake
Crab Cake
Candice: You do win, since I am sending the scallops back. But your crab cake isn't all that wonderful. It's a little mushy; I expect the crab in a crab cake to be firm.

Paul: The chowder arrives. It has a cheese base, which is not too overpowering at all. The potatoes are nicely cooked within the chowder. The seafood is abundant.

Candice: I won't let you win the next round too, so when L comes to take my scallops away, I order a cup of the chowder as well. You're right, the potatoes are perfectly textured. The fish and seafood are fresh and complement the base well.

Paul: If not for a single bite of gritty crab meat, the chowder would be perfect.

Candice: Too bad they served it with a plastic package of oyster crackers. When your soup is solid and you’re going for freshness in an elegant atmosphere, take the crackers out of the bag.

Paul: I'd say get rid of the crackers all together, but I wouldn't have something to throw at you later.

Candice: L appears and lets us know the chef wants to know why we sent the scallops back. I like that the chef asked. A good chef takes criticism and makes his/her dishes better. Paul would like to note that I am more than happy to share my opinion.


Paul: The tilapia looks wonderful. It's crispy on the edges and served with whipped potatoes and roasted vegetables. While it looks good, the taste of the fish is dreadful. Perhaps I've made a terrible mistake with the lemon-infused olive oil flavoring. I really can't taste the lemon, and the fish is dry and flavorless. Blech!

Candice: I win! The cod is firm, perfectly baked with a savory, creamy texture. The cheese topping providing a great vehicle for the freshness of the fish. Too bad the red potatoes are undercooked. Another 2 minutes would have done them justice. Let me try yours. You're right. This is horrible. You should send it back.

Baked Cod
Paul: You know I don't ever do that.

Candice: You big chicken! This tilapia gives me methane-mouth. But your whipped potatoes are good. Let me try the roasted vegetables. Not bad, but the oil they used for it has an odd taste. An almost rancid aftertaste. Do not like. You definitely lose.

Paul: Let me try yours. Yep, this cod is fabulous. And the spinach is good too. I'm just going to finish the rest of yours.

Candice: Please do, I'm full.

Paul: Wow. The cod is really very good.

Candice: Hopefully, the owner, Phil Fulton, can get those reviews off of the Google restaurant review page. The link still points to Michael O’Toole’s. Someone with a rushed eye may pass on 89 if they’re not careful to notice. They're pretty bad reviews. But he says it's going to take a month or two.

Paul: Well, what do you think? Is it worth it for the money? Is it worth it for the wait? And is it worth it to come back?

Candice: Forty dollars for two people and a two and a half course lunch? While, we did have to wait a while to get service and our appetizers, and, minding the fact that we did come early, most of our lunch was, as you say - tasty. I think so.

Paul: It wasn't too crowded by the time we left. Would you come back?

Candice: Yep, I think it gets a second visit.

Paul: Can I get the baked cod?

Candice: No, you have to try something new. What are your overall impressions?

Paul: Yep, it is worth the money, worth the wait, and worth coming back. My crab cake, our chowder, and your baked cod were all excellent. Your ceviche and my tilapia weren't so great. Nonetheless that cod was heavenly and worth the visit alone.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

89 Fish & Grill on Urbanspoon


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