Practically from the moment we bonded over our mutual hardcore love of seafood, Ashley began urging me to go to Bonefish Grill in order to try their famed Bang Bang Shrimp. She swore up and down that I would fall in love with the spicy sauce, crispy breading, and juicy shrimp. Based on her recommendation, I added it to my restaurant list years ago, but let's be honest, that list is ridiculously long (but not quite as long as my to-read books list - yikes!). Years flew by and I was still Bang Bang Shrimp-less... until one day earlier this month in which I was invited to stop by the Skokie location to sample some favorites from their winter menu.
Bonefish Grill is an upscale casual seafood restaurant chain that originated in Florida; they started out as a family joint and slowly grew from that one location to over 200 locations across the country. As they shifted from a local spot to a nationally-known chain, they worked to maintain their roots - many of the recipes found on the menu today originated from various family members and friends. Bonefish is also committed to seafood sustainability and responsible fishing practices, along with the original owners' daily ritual of receiving, inspecting, and hand cutting the fish (now practiced by the partners at each individual location).
Mario and I kicked off dinner with a few of their seasonal cocktails: the Winter White Cosmopolitan and the Fall Apple Martini. While I greatly enjoyed the tart cosmo (Icelandic Reyka Vodka, white cranberry juice, and fresh lime), I fell hard for the sweet and spicy martini (apple infused vodka finished with honey and cinnamon).
Mussels Josephine (PEI): tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, and lemon wine sauce. I can never turn down mussels, especially when they're swimming in a ridiculously addictive wine sauce. As with the sashimi, I was super impressed with the quality of the mussels - they were so plump and firm and packed with flavor. Not only did we devour all of the mussels, but we also soaked up every last drop of that sauce with some delicious crusty bread.
Overall, Mario and I both greatly enjoyed our meal at Bonefish Grill. While I have mixed feelings about chain restaurants, I always try to keep an open mind (although I do loathe and avoid those that simply reheat frozen pre-cooked foods). Bonefish is clearly not your typical suburban chain - it's one that I think everyone can enjoy, thanks to the high quality of food and the equally high quality of service.
You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Bonefish Grill: 9310 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL (additional locations can be found here).
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.