This past week, I had the pleasure of reviewing a well known Brentwood, Missouri restaurant known as Bonefish Grill with a friend of mine. I chose this location because of its impressive seafood selection as well as its close proximity to the heart of the city. The journey to this location was a bit daunting due to road construction, but the meal made the journey quite worth it.
This location in particular was easy to spot because it was so close to the main road, but I'd be lying if I said it looked like a location with as much to offer as the online menu boasted. If anything, it seemed rather unremarkable upon first glance. However, once you enter the restaurant through the rather impressive revolving door, you instantly begin to realize how their upscale reputation has been earned.
One of the first things that I took notice of was the lower-style lighting and the almost muted atmosphere. Along with this, the bar area and smaller seating to the immediate front of the entrance were very well decorated with subtle metal and wood elements that flowed nicely with the rest of the restaurant. My friend and I both had the opportunity to admire the surroundings as we were third party that entered almost simultaneously.
The first party, a trio of gentlemen, was seated almost immediately, as was the second party, which consisted of another gentleman, who apparently came to meet a friend who was already seated in the dining room. When it came time to seat my friend and me, we were told to wait a moment as the hostess took a phone call. Following this phone call, I began to ask about the possibility of being seated at a booth, but before I could finish the inquiry, we were told to wait as she took yet another call.
This second call took quite a bit longer than the first, leaving my friend and I to exchange more than one awkward glance. Following these calls, we were swiftly taken to the dining room as I began to try to ask once more for a booth, to which the hostess replied "absolutely" as she was walking us to the table, and she informed us that our server would be with us shortly as she quickly left to return to her post at the front of the restaurant. I found this to be a rather shoddy first impression, and I began to worry that the rest of our dining experience would be along the same lines.
Luckily for my friend and I, our server, Evie B., had a much more professional air and she apologized for our experience and offered to make the rest of our visit more enjoyable. This was quickly apparent as she returned almost instantaneously with our soft drink orders and the house appetizer that consisted of fresh bread and a basil pesto butter sauce for dipping. She then went so far as to take the time to stay by our table and answer all of the questions that my friend and I had concerning the menu, and telling us a little of the history and story behind Bonefish Grill. We learned that the restaurant prides itself on a zero transparency motto with their fish, and that the manager checks all of the incoming seafood daily to make sure that it measures up to the standard that the establishment is known for. I was pleasantly surprised that she knew so much of the story behind the restaurant itself, and that along with her knowledge of the menu, made me feel confident as I made my selection.
The entree I selected the single Cold Water Lobster Tail, which was a 5-6 ounce lobster tail that was seasoned, steamed, and then served with warm drawn butter, and the two sides I chose were garlic whipped potatoes and sauteed spinach. My friend ordered Chilean Sea Bass that was lightly seasoned, wood grilled and served with a grilled lemon, as well jasmine rice and steamed broccoli as her sides. My dining companion and I expected the entrees to take a bit, given the items that we selected, but much to our surprise, our entrees were brought to our table within ten minutes and everything was presented nicely and served very hot.
I found the lobster to have a slight cajun taste which I liked, and the potatoes were very fluffy, but the spinach was served in a bowl with quite a bit of butter and water at the bottom. While it did taste very nice, it created a bit of a drip upon consumption and seemed to keep most of the sauteed flavor in the bowl. That aside, the presentation itself was top notch. My partner's Chilean Sea Bass was described by her as crispy on the outside, but warm and soft on the inside and her broccoli was steamed to perfection, as was her jasmine rice. Both of us were guilty of sharing when it came to the entrees as we were both curious of the seafood. We found ourselves remarking about how well the cooking had been handled and how both the Chilean Sea Bass and Lobster were simply loaded with flavor.
Despite my best attempts, I ended up requesting a travel container, and our server brought it quite quickly, along with another loaf of bread on the house. As I went to grab the first container, I noticed there was writing on top. Our server had decorated the container with her name, the date and a well drawn picture of a “bony fish”. I asked her if that was something all of the staff did, and to my surprise, she told us that all of the staff were required to know how to draw a fish with their own additions for originality, to add a little “something” to the to-go containers. This made for a unique end to a delicious meal, and after settling the bill, I found myself smiling as I left.
As a reviewer, I would like to take a moment to point out that not everyone has good days all of the time, and sometimes being stressed out due to work can be rather noticeable to others, even when you yourself don't realize it. While the beginning of my experience did make me wary of how the rest of my visit would turn out, the server that I was lucky enough to have made me almost forget my first impression. Sometimes all it takes is a great attitude and the ability to draw a unique picture that makes someone smile to completely change the outcome of an event, and I'm grateful that I was able to experience both.
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