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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lunch Report: Islamorada Fish Company at Brass Pro Shop...

My wife and I were out and about for our list of Sunday errands when we found ourselves over in the vicinity of The Rim looking for a few odds & ends at World Market. Just a quick question for those of you who frequent the shops in that area.Can you tell me why they have these creepy looking butterflies hanging off the beautiful stonework entry of The Rim? Is this some Christmas in July sort of thing? Anyway, since it was lunch time and we hadn't planned on any special trip to find someplace new and exciting, we decided to give the restaurant inside the Bass Pro Shop a try. We have never heard a bad thing about the place, so there was always a chance we could find something to complain about, and that would be fun.I can't pronounce it, but the place is called Islamadora Fish Company, and they are part of a bigger chain of fish places of varying names - Hemingway's, Blue Fin, White River Fish House and the like. This one, IFC is quite a grand thing. It is very large and actually fits well with the huge Brass Pro Shop it is connected to.

I should tell you now that I failed to take loads of pictures inside the Bass Pro Shop because I was sure that I had written about it before. We went there not long after it opened, and I was sure I gave a full report. But a quick search of the blog did not turn up any evidence of it. So, suffice it to say that A) my wife was right and 2) you ought to go by there even if you aren't an outdoors enthusiast. I dig the clothes they offer and there is lots to see by way of displays. Like Cabela's in Buda, Bass Pro Shop is a zoo for dead things.
Our waiter came and took the drink order and offered us a loaf of bread that seemed extremely fresh. Did you ever go to the Wonder Bread factory when you were little and get one of those little loaves of bread? I thought of that when he brought it out. But it was not sliced, it wasn't in a Wonder Bread wrapper, and for some reason, they sprinkled sugar on top of it. The hell? Really; stop doing that.

When I was little, I would sneak into the kitchen and make sugar and butter sandwiches. Two slices of fresh bread, slathered in butter then covered with sugar and smashed together. No wonder I'm such a fatass. The bread itself was good but please, reconsider that sugar business or at least bring it as a free dessert after the meal.
In spite of the sugary start, my wife wanted to get an appetizer, so we went with the fried calamari. I thought it was really good but my wife went total Happy Dance on me. She insisted it was the best ever. The breading was very light and the dipping sauce was good. If you like calamari, I promise, you'll enjoy this.

The menu is full of wonderful options and we mulled it over for some time. They have buffalo burgers and alligator. But being a seafood place, we both decided to give it a try.
My wife ordered the Fish & Chips. In this case, the chips are not french fries, but actual sliced potatoes like potato chips. The huge pieces of fish were batter fried just right and having tasted a hunk myself, I can assure you the taste was excellent. Mr. Cod could learn a thing or two about portion for price and cooking times. I admit, when the plates arrived, I thought they might be a little overdone, just based on the color. The fish was fine, but I thought the chips were a tad overcooked - maybe IFC could learn a thing from Mr. Cod! Either way, my wife loved them; so there ya go.I had to try the catfish and I was not disappointed at all. If you have read this blog for any time, you will know that I use Clear Springs Restaurant as the standard for comparing catfish. Without question, when someone has asked me where to get some good catfish, I have never hesitated to offer up Clear Springs (and I still won't), but I must tell you that the catfish I had today, combined with the tarter sauce, IFC was better tasting. I suspect my grandfather is spinning in my grandmother's grave (long story) as we speak. He loved Clear Springs but I suspect he would give a thumbs up to IFC as well. It was that good.

I should also throw in kudos for the Cole slaw. Not too dry, nice and creamy and just a good match with the fish.

The price is a little steep for the frugal minded, but not for the quality of the food and the atmosphere. I guess what I'm saying is, don't go into Bass Pro Shop and then slip into IFC thinking it is like the K-Mart Diner where you can get the daily special for $4.00. Appetizer, Iced Teas, and two entrees came out to $37.00 before the well deserved generous tip. But it was well worth it.
As our waiter was taking our plates, something happened and a small bowl of tarter sauce fell from a plate. You should have seen it! The tarter sauce shot out in a skipping motion and streamed across the carpet. Nobody was injured, though some lady walking by did seem to flinch a little thinking that some sauce might hit her shoe. Good times!I often look at the Yahoo and Google reviews that people submit about places we go, just to see how we compare. I suspect the IFC here got off to a bad start based on what I have read. Ignore them. If our experience today is anything like what they are doing on a regular basis, it is safe to go in and enjoy. In fact, Islamorada Fish Company is a Tasty Treat, and we will go back for more. I gotta have the Buffalo Burger.


brenty said...

Not to change the subject, but since you mentioned K-Mart, for a city the size of San Antonio, I cannot believe K-Mart has not come back here. I miss K-Mart and even Monkey Wards.

Anonymous said...

Eva says:)

Update .. had the leftover piece of whitefish and chips after only 20 minutes in the oven for brunch and it was very tasty.. Eeeeyummiee..Felt like wiggling in my seat :)

Dave said...

I miss K-Mart and even Monkey Wards.

We were huge fans of Monkey Wards. For the first half of our marriage, we bought most our stuff from the Wards at Westlakes Mercado. TV's, appliances, clothes. I miss that place.

I worked at K-Mart before I joined the military. Another place I love to hate, and miss badly. I used to buy bags of the K-Mart popcorn and get the kids an Icee. Good times.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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