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Don't Be Snobbish About Visiting This Chain Restaurant

I get it…some people are downright snobbish when it comes to dining at a chain restaurant. They prefer a local or family-owned establishment, and while I totally understand this line of thinking - to borrow a time-worn phrase - don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. It’s the same principle I urge you to apply when considering Bonefish Grill in Madison, the only Mississippi location of the national chain. If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to criticize what you haven’t tried. And, most important, you’re really missing out on delicious food, including a few dishes that are downright famous in their own right.

I discovered Bonefish several years ago while visiting the Gulf Coast. A local friend took me there despite the plethora of locally-owned seafood places. I was a little disappointed we weren’t going to a traditional Coast restaurant, but he assured me I’d be happy with his choice. It was conveniently located on the outer edge of the Edgewater Mall and packed with locals and tourists having a blast as they celebrated the beginning of the weekend. I figured there had to be some redeeming qualities about his choice and boy, was I right in this assumption.

To explain the revelry we encountered, let me say that, yes, Bonefish is equipped with a full bar. However, the spirits were not the main attraction. I was introduced to Bonefish’s signature appetizer Bang Bang Shrimp and have been a fan ever since. By the time we left, I was already planning a return visit and did just that any time I was on the Coast.

Sadly, the Biloxi location closed in 2016, but lucky for me, Madison became the recipient of its own Bonefish several years ago. And, just for the record, there are Bonefish Grill’s scattered all across the country in many large cities, ranging from Mobile to Las Vegas. But it’s the Mississippi location of which I’ll focus today.

As I said, starting off your visit with an order of Bang Bang Shrimp ($10.90, pictured right) is never a bad idea. Picture crispy shrimp tossed in the restaurant’s signature creamy, spicy sauce, and you’ll get a general idea of what’s in store. But don’t take my word for it – sample for yourself the dish that has spurred hundreds of copycat recipes on the internet. It’s perfect as a meal starter or a light meal.

Another delicious appetizer is Bonefish’s Imperial Dip ($9.90). It’s a delicious concoction of shrimp, scallops, lump crab, and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses served with seasoned house-made tortilla chips. I’m hungry just thinking about this rich, creamy, seafood-centric dip.

Others on the apps menu are Maryland-style crab cakes ($14.70, pictured left), Prince Edward Island Mussels Josephine ($12.50), Wagyu beef and ginger potstickers ($9.50), calamari ($11.50), and Thai coconut shrimp ($11.90).

When a restaurant has the word “fish” in its name, you just know any dish by the same will be good. And Bonefish doesn’t disappoint, expertly seasoning and wood-grilling seafood to crispy perfection. There’s Chilean sea bass ($28.90), Caribbean cobia ($23.90), Georges Bank shrimp and scallops ($20.90), Ahi tuna steak ($19.90), rainbow trout ($19.10) and my favorite, Atlantic salmon ($20.90). Each selection comes with your choice of one of Bonefish’s signature sauces, ranging from lime tomato garlic to chimichurri.

Other seafood choices include cod Imperial stuffed with shrimp, scallops, crab meat, cheeses and lemon ($21.90), dynamite-style shrimp ($19.90), pecan-parmesan-crusted rainbow trout ($21.40), Cobia piccata and shrimp ($27.90), crab-crusted cod ($22.90) and lobster tails ($30.90).

If you’re not a seafood-lover, there are plenty of salads, burgers, tacos, specialty bowls, and steaks on the menu.

A good choice in the latter category is the wood-grilled filet mignon ($22.90 for 6 ounce/$26.90 for 8-ounce). With special seasoning and a smoky finish, it’s a little bit of perfection on a plate. Other excellent choices are the 18-ounce bone-in ribeye ($29.90), angler’s sirloin ($17.50), Lily’s chicken ($16.70), and another favorite choice, the sirloin and crab cake dinner ($21.90).

As I said, there are many other menu choices, but these are categories I’ve personally sampled and can safely say, you won’t go wrong with any of Bonefish’s creative appetizers, fresh seafood, or grilled steaks.

Signature sides that come with each entrée include garlic whipped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, Jasmine rice, coleslaw and seasoned vegetables. Or, pay a little extra and enjoy a premium side of Applewood mac and cheese, crispy Brussels sprouts with ham and steamed asparagus.

Bonefish offers a specialty brunch menu for its earlier weekend hours as well as gluten-free and kids’ menus.

The restaurant is located at 201 Colony Way in Madison. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10:30 p.m. and until 11:30 p.m. on Friday; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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