Brew Fish Bar & Eatery soars with big, bold flavors – News –

The three of us, my wife and daughter and I, were coming to the end of a hard day at the playground. You know how it goes — you spend some time in the fresh air and sunshine, climbing and running and being pushed on the swings, and all of a sudden you realize you haven’t eaten for a couple of hours. You’ve neglected yourself! Practice some self-care for a change!

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Since we were in New Bedford, the three of us headed east to Marion, not my usual environs, where we dropped by Brew Fish Bar and Eatery on Spring Street.

I’d heard of the place before — a former Dine-Outer visited many years ago (the review is still framed and hanging on the wall), and my wife once had dinner there with a friend and brought home half her burger in a doggie bag for me.

Even cold, I could tell it was something special. I figured since we were in the neighborhood, sort of, we should try it together.

It’s a classy-looking place, the exterior designed in rustic wood, with room for outdoor seating in better weather. Inside, the decor is upscale-comfortable, with warm cozy colors and lighting, plush seats, and landscape paintings adorning the walls.

By the back of the dining room is a bar backed by a stone wall and wooden shelves stocked with liquor. Even for a somewhat early dinner on a Sunday, the place was well-packed.

As the name implies, if you visit Brew Fish and order a beer and some fish, you will have a very good time. The beer selection is full of interesting microbrews, organized by general flavor attributes, like “crisp and refreshing” or “dark and roasty.” That’s handy if you want to try something new, aren’t familiar with the selection but know more or less the type of experience you’re after.

If beer isn’t your thing, there’s also a selection of cocktails, like the forbidden sailor, with two kinds of rum and pineapple and cranberry juices ($8.50), red and white sangrias ($8), mules ($8.50), specialty martinis from $10 to $12 with flavors like pumpkin, pistachio or toasted coconut, and wines in two size glasses or by the bottle from $7 a glass up to $50 a bottle, depending on how much loot you want to drop. Not being drinkers, we stuck to club soda and lemonade.

The food menu accommodates varying appetites: smaller plates, more substantial entrees, and a selection of picking food to nosh on while you’re having late-night drinks.

Brew Fish has delicious seafood options to start with, like the lobster flatbread with Boursin and fontina cheeses, artichokes and arugula-tarragon pesto ($14), the Brew Fish quahog stuffed with linguiça, bacon, peppers and sweetbread ($7), or their specialty Ch’ale soup, a combo of kale soup and clam chowder ($4 for a cup, $6 for a crock).

But once I saw the barbecue blue ribs, with a smoked coffee rub and basted with blueberry barbecue sauce ($12), I abandoned all thoughts of trying the seafood.

Our friendly server brought them soon, stacked together on one end of a long plate, three portions smothered in a rich, dark-rust colored sauce. Our daughter turned up her nose, choosing to wait for her kid’s cheese pizza ($7), which was fine since soon we wouldn’t want to share anyway.

The tender meat dropped right off the bone, and was covered in an incredibly bold, smoky sauce with almost a granular texture from the coffee rub. It almost reached out and smacked you in the mouth with flavor, with enough spice to make things interesting mixed with a mild sweetness from the blueberries. They were glorious. Each of us had a rib and then split the third, because we love each other — otherwise we would have fought each other like wolf puppies for the last one.

“How bad would it be if I just licked the plate?” I said.

The sauce was so wonderful I kind of wanted a whole rack of them — on one hand, the sauce was so bold it might have been sensory overload, but then again I would have liked to find out regardless. Anyway, these ribs now consume about 15% of my thoughts on any given day.

The entree choices are inventive and tantalizing, like the sweet chili scallops with kimchi and wasabi cream ($24), maple glazed salmon with cranberry chutney and mushroom artichoke risotto ($20), or even the burgers such as the Game Changer with a venison, bison and beef patty topped with Boursin cheese and — lord help me — that blueberry barbecue sauce ($17).

My wife opted for the crispy haddock tacos with ginger spiced coleslaw and Creole tartar sauce ($15), while I had the short rib grilled cheese stuffed with caramelized onions and Asiago ($15).

The fish tacos were loaded with fillings, drizzled with the saffron-colored tartar sauce. Again it was a taste explosion, this time with a powerful creamy dill flavor mixed with spice and a touch of heat. The fish nuggets themselves were perfectly breaded — not too thick, with a lot of crunch. I tried what I could, but the rest of the three tacos went down my wife’s stomach in no time.

My entree was a grilled cheese in name only — this was a proper stuffed sandwich, with much more meat than I was expecting; maybe I’m just used to squished-flat grilled cheese sandwiches. The short rib meat was juicy and flavorful, loaded with smoky onions. The bread, which had a fantastic crunch, was a touch greasy from the grilling and the cheese inside, but I didn’t mind that a bit.

My daughter picked at her pizza, then asked when we were getting dessert. It’s not that the pizza wasn’t good — it was quite delicious. She just knows the drill here and was eager to skip to the good stuff.

Among the desserts available — chocolate peanut butter cake, Snickers cheesecake, pumpkin Heath bar cake — she wanted a slab of Brewlicious chocolate stout cake ($7.29), which was summarily brought forthwith and attacked in a way that almost made you feel sorry for it.

That poor cake never saw my kid coming. She made it about halfway through the four layers of rich cake and fluffy mousse before suddenly staring off into space, realizing she was full. Because I’m a nice guy, I helped her by finishing it off.

Our check was $56 before tax and tip, surprisingly low. I pointed out to our server that she’d forgotten to include our drinks on the bill, and asked if she wanted to redo it. She let it slide, since it was just a few bucks worth of club soda and lemonade — I won’t mention her name here, since I don’t want anyone to get in trouble, except to say thanks, and we’ll be back to make it up to you.


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