Mitchell’s Fish Market
14311 Clay Terrace Blvd. Carmel, IN 46032
Sean loves seafood so for his birthday our family took him to Mitchell’s. We had heard great things so we were all excited to stuff our faces and use his birthday as an acceptable excuse. Everyone at the table was a seafood lover, except for me, but there are still seafood dishes I really enjoy. Without going further, I’ll apologize for what may sound like a rant, but I have to tell you that I was blown away by the fact that their seafood selections are not all wild caught. In fact, of all the selections that we inquired about, not a SINGLE one was wild caught. This was truly mind-boggling. Yes, the prices would be higher for wild-caught items, but this a “fish market,” so one should have the option of paying more for wild or less for farm-raised. Even though they list some far-off destination like Chile or Costa Rica as the origin of the fish to make it sound exotic, they certainly don’t voluntarily disclose that they aren’t wild, and I have to wonder how many patrons even bother to ask.
Calamari is always ordered when Sean goes to a seafood place and tonight was no exception. The Crispy Calamari ($11.29) came with a chilli soy dipping sauce and there were also green beans and red peppers mixed among the squid. As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, Sean loves the tentacles so he was happy to see a lot of them (more than the one on our plate at McCormick and Schmick’s). The breading on the calamari was crunchy and the dipping sauce provided a plentiful tang to the dish. Our one complaint here would be that the portion size of the dipping sauce was only sufficient for about half the calamari so we had to eat the other half without sauce.
Recommendation: A solid appetizer, but ask for an extra side of sauce.
We also ordered the Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp ($10.49) with a Voodoo BBQ sauce and sticky rice. Five shrimp (about 26/30 count) came with the dish. The bacon and shrimp were cooked perfectly, something we rarely see when the two are together. Generally the bacon is undercooked and the shrimp is overcooked due to the short cooking time of shrimp. The bbq sauce was sweet, but aside from that, one would not be able to label this as bbq. The rice soaked up the bbq sauce, but the texture of the rice and shrimp were too similar. Another starch or side might have made this dish better.
Recommendation: While it was good, we don’t think it’s worth ordering again.
With oyster season winding down, we had a half dozen of the East Coast Oysters ($2.39 ea/13.29 half dz) which came from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. They were on the sweeter side and went right down the hatch.
Recommendation: Not our favorite (see Bluebeard’s post), but certainly got the job done.
Seared Ahi Tuna ($13.29) with tuna line-caught in Hawaii, Ponzu-Ale sauce and sticky rice. It comes with six (not five as pictured…some guests don’t follow the rules of pictures before eating) pieces of thinly sliced tuna seared rare. The tuna was delicious, and the sauce provided a dash of citrus flavor to bring the dish together.
Recommendation: The seafood aficionados at the table really enjoyed the tuna.
Sean ordered the Maine Lobster Bisque ($5.99 cup/$6.99 bowl). With the price point we were skeptical on the serving size and amount of actual lobster in the dish. As suspected, there were only a few small, chopped up pieces of lobster. The bisque was decent, but was slightly too runny and didn’t have much sherry flavor. Their bisque pales in comparison to the one at McCormick and Schmick’s.
Recommendation: Sean (and two other guests at the table who ordered this) would not recommend it.
New England Clam Chowder ($4.99 cup/$5.99 bowl). I tend to order this dish at seafood places since it’s generally a creamy soup that doesn’t taste too fishy. While it wasn’t fishy and I was happy about that, it really lacked any sort of flavor whatsoever. Apart from the actual ingredients lacking flavor, it also lacked seasoning. Again, when compared to McCormick and Schmick’s, this was a huge disappointment.
Recommendation: Regardless of your thoughts on seafood, if you value flavor, do not order this chowder.
I also the Classic Caesar Salad ($5.59) as a side to my chowder. Most of the time a salad is a salad is a salad, unless you happen to stumble upon one that’s life-changing. This was not one of those, but I didn’t expect it to be. If we’re being picky (and we are) the leaves themselves weren’t crisp or crunchy and the dressing made the salad soggy pretty quickly. I eat salad a lot and generally with fresh, crisp lettuce this doesn’t happen as quickly. If you’re a Parmesan lover ,then you will appreciate that the salad was almost equal parts cheese and lettuce (the picture doesn’t do it justice)
Recommendation: It’s a simple filler, but even for something as simple and basic as a salad, it was sub-par.
Sean ordered a pound of the Alaskan King Crab Legs ($29.99/lb) which came with a side of asparagus and red skin mashed potatoes. It is hard to provide too much comment
on the crab legs as there really isn’t anything to do, except boil them. One item to note is that this dish comes with drawn butter, which means the fat (aka flavor) has been removed from the butter. The three asparagus were large and properly seasoned, something we cannot say about the mashed potatoes. In the massive pile of potatoes on the plate I doubt there was a single grain of salt, drop of milk or teaspoon of butter. Even my father commented that they were inedible. Mind you, this is coming from a man who will eat anything you put in from of him. As a carb lover, I was almost relieved that after trying them I had no desire to go back for seconds.
Recommendation: If you do get the legs, see if you can substitute the mashed potatoes for some other vegetable. They were that bad. Also, it’s not a bad idea to ask for regular butter.
Was this meal worth the expensive price tag, you ask? Absolutely not. I repeat, absolutely not. There wasn’t a single item on the menu worth returning for. Even if we aren’t in love with a particular dining experience overall, generally there’s at least one gem that we’d come back for—like the bread pudding at Bru Burger or the two apps at Cerulean. We didn’t love all of our dishes at those restaurants, but we would, and have, made the trip back for a certain item.
On a positive note, our server was attentive, friendly and knowledgeable when it came to the menu, which is a plus. After eating here, we’re seriously rethinking our review of McCormick and Schmick’s and will be updating it shortly. Once compared side by side, well, there is no comparison. We are truly dumbfounded by the high ratings this place gets on Yelp and other review sites, but I guess that’s why you have to try a place for yourself just to be sure.
We’re sorry, M&S. Take us back.
Location: North Suburban (Carmel)
Dress Code: Casual