This week we treated a dear friend to a celebratory Birthday dinner. Fortunately for us, it was Bethesda Restaurant Week! See my earlier post on Maryland's Restaurant Week events HERE. She and I are so similar - when I asked her where she wanted to go and mentioned Restaurant Week, she started researching which restaurants will give us the most bang for our buck. We settled on PassionFish and boy did we get a good value!
I learned about PassionFish years ago from my husband, Sean. He had taken some clients to the original location in Reston, VA and raved about it! But I never made it there with him in all these years that have passed since they opened the Virginia location in 2008.
I was excited that they had decided to open a second location in my former hometown of Bethesda, MD in September 2015. Yet again, for some reason, I just hadn't made it there yet.
I was never a big fish eater. My mom hated fish and never cooked it. So, I only just began ordering fish in the past six years since I have been married. Everyone knows that "fishy" taste from a fish that's not so fresh or the skin of a darker fish.... Well, at the very hint of that "fishy" taste, I put down my fork. But Sean had assured me that I would not find "fishy-ness" at PassionFish.
Sean has been back to the Reston location several times since his first visit in 2009. PassionFish became a celebratory dining location for his Loudoun/Reston clients after a settlement. At one of his visits, he had the pleasure of speaking at length to the manager of the house. He learned that PassionFish is committed to the freshest fish. So, if it doesn't sell, it gets tossed. There is a lot of waste in the business of fresh fish!
Delighted with my meal, I did not find anything "fishy" about it! LOL
Granted, it was Restaurant Week after all, so I wasn't surprised to see the restaurant already filled when we arrived for our 8:00pm reservation. We were seated right away and had an excellent and friendly server. There are several seating sections throughout, each with waves of blue like the ocean.
We were enjoying ourselves, so I didn't get around to taking photos until the restaurant was near closing. So it looks as if it was empty in my pics, but I assure you the place was packed and you will definitely need a reservation to get a table on any given weekend or busy Thursday night.
Thanks to Restaurant Week, we enjoyed a three course dinner for only $35 each. We were able to choose from a limited appetizer selection and dessert selection, but could select any of the entrées from the regular menu for our main course. This is a great value! For example, the crab cakes alone are normally $38. So, it's a fabulous deal to get all three courses for just $35! This is why we love Restaurant Week!
To start, my dining partners described the white fish dip that comes with the warm Parker House Rolls as "heaven in a bowl". Off to a good start!
For the appetizers, we selected the Crab and Corn Chowder, Ceviche, and California Roll.
The Crab and Corn Chowder was served in a mini hot pot and when poured into the bowl, revealed a ton of lump crab meat. I thought it was the perfect spicy way to warm up on a chilly night.
They loved the flavor of the Ceviche. The only complaint was that the peruvian corn was still hard. They described the fish in the Ceviche as "light and refreshing" and having "clean flavors", commenting that it "would be perfect for a hot summer day on the patio".
My hubby thought the California Roll was nothing special. However, he appreciated that it was full of fresh lump crabmeat instead of imitation.
We each enjoyed our main courses. The fish was super fresh! No "fishy-ness" whatsoever. Nice and flaky and cooked perfectly. As I mentioned, we ordered entrees off of the regular menu. There was a wide variety of options. If you select from the Catch of The Day, you can select an accompanying sauce and a side. The menu offered 5 sauces and 11 side options to choose from.
I was between the Branzino, Cod, and Crab Cakes. I ended up with the Cod Filet from Iceland with a Lemon Beurre Blanc sauce and Hericot Vert Almondine. The Cod was flaky and light. Overall, delish!
Hubby got the Caramelized Day Boat Scallops with Ricotta Gnocchi and Roasted Cauliflower. He described the dish as "solid".
Our friend, Jenn, ordered the Char-Grilled Branzino from Turkey with Lemon Buerre Blanc sauce and Szechuan Eggplant. She shared her fish with me and it was amazing! The flavor of the Branzino was soooo delish, it may have been worth dealing with the skin for those who are picky fish eaters like myself. Her Szechuan Eggplant was full of flavor. Overall, she made the best choice of the night with her main course!
After our appetizers and main courses, we almost didn't have room for dessert - but of course we had to make room because these desserts looked amazing! And they tasted just as good as they looked!
Sean chose the Pecan Tart and hands down we all agreed that he made the best choice - scrumptious! Jenn ordered the Crème Brulee, which left the last dessert choice of Chocolate Mousse Cake for me. I don't normally like chocolate, but for some reason I do like mousse. Makes no sense, I know! This Mousse Cake was one of the best chocolate desserts I have had in a while! I think it was the interesting crunchy bottom that kept me coming back for another bite.
We had a fantastic meal at PassionFish! Restaurant Week is definitely the best deal around! The food was delicious and our company was even better. Happy Birthday, Jenn!
Have you been to PassionFish? Where did you choose to dine for Restaurant Week?