We’d been to the Flying Fish several times before, and have consistently been unimpressed, but this restaurant recently acquired a new chef (Tim Keating, I believe?), so we were willing to give him a chance.
Our server started us out with some bread, which was so nice. The bread was still warm, and it had a lovely hard crust on it that went very well with the soft, creamy butter.
My husband started with the Main Lobster Bisque with roasted sweet corn & crab salad and chive oil. This was quite good, and very creamy. It was actually heavier than he’d anticipated, but he liked the taste. The corn kernels in the bisque were a nice surprise, but, if they were going for additional texture, he would have preferred chunks of lobster.
I decided to have two appetizers, one as my appetizer and one as my entree, in order to save room for the cheese plate we’d been eyeing for dessert. On the recommendation of my server, I had the Duo of Yellowfin Tuna alla Mediterranee (tartare, avruga caviar, and quail egg as one, and Moroccan-spiced loin, tomato, piquillo and olive compote as the other). This was outstanding, so much so that I wished that I’d ended with this dish rather than beginning with it. I like to work my way up to the best.
The Moroccan-spiced loin was great; it was served cold and raw in the center, though lightly seared on the outside. The Moroccan spices here added so much to this item, and really complemented the mild flavor of the tuna. They were faintly sweet, and it was spicy without having much heat, which is good, since I don’t tolerate heat well.
My favorite of the two, though, was the tuna tartare. It tasted as lovely as it looked. The soft, buttery tuna, the gentle pop of the caviar, the smooth dark taste of the yolk, and the crispness of the quail egg white all melded perfectly. I enjoyed it very much, and I took my time, savoring every small bite.
My husband’s next dish was Lemon Myrtle Scented Maine Diver Scallops & Black Tiger Shrimp, served with tomato-mushroom polenta cake, forest mushrooms, corn & lobster roe emulsion. We both thought that this dish was simply outstanding. The server had warned my husband ahead of time that the scallops were quite small this time of year, so they gave him four small scallops in lieu of two larger ones. The server also asked him how he’d like the scallops to be cooked, which was a nice touch, since he is quite particular about how his scallops are done.
The dish was truly a myriad of flavors, his favorite of which was the lobster roe emulsion. I particularly enjoyed the very flavorful polenta. There were so many flavors in this dish, but, unlike those we tried at Blue Zoo, these flavors all harmonized beautifully with and complemented each other. By the time he had finished this dish, my husband’s palate was a bit fatigued from so many different tastes.
My main dish was my second appetizer, the signature Crisp Jonah Lump Crab Cake over savory vegetable slaw and served with ancho chili remoulade. I did not enjoy this at all. The breading was not memorable in any way, and I wished that there had been large chunks of crab inside the crab cake. The remoulade was much too spicy for me. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t do well with too much heat, and I couldn’t finish this dish. This dish has been on the menu through the past few chefs, the ones who didn’t dazzle us, and I was enjoying this new chef’s work so much that I wished I’d ordered something that had been his creation, instead of an old standby. The vegetable slaw had celery seeds, and I have an antipathy to celery.
Our dessert was the tasting of five cheeses: Comte, Shelburne Two-year Cheddar, Flixer, Monte Enebro, and Rogue River Blue. We are both fans of cheese: the more interesting, the better. We found the Comte and the Shelburne to be inoffensive but too mild for our tastes. The Flixer was more to my liking. A sheep’s milk cheese, Flixer is mild in taste, but it has a very funky smell. Mmmm… Apparently it’s quite a rare cheese, made by only one cheesemaker in Switzerland, from his herd of 12 or so sheep. The Monte Enebro was also very enjoyable. It had a lovely, goaty taste, without being overpoweringly sharp as some goat cheeses can be. This was again, quite mild, but it had a lot of flavor. Finally, the Rogue River Blue was too much for my husband. He couldn’t eat very much of it. I liked it, because it lacked that ammonia taste that some blues have. It was also fairly mild, for a blue cheese, but I’m not a huge blue cheese fan.
Overall, we would return to the Flying Fish. We enjoyed this chef’s inventive use of a variety of spices and ingredients in his dishes. He has raised the quality of the Flying Fish from so-so to quite good, so we were pleased with our overall experience. Our server was prompt and very courteous, though not exuding warmth. We appreciated the way that she let us know in advance that the scallops were small and that she asked how my husband would like the scallops to be prepared.