Big Fin Seafood’s executive chef, Eric Enrique, has been making some changes to the popular restaurant’s menu, and I stopped in recently to give them a try.
The most impressive addition, at least in a visual sense, is a shellfish tower, with chilled Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab, cocktail shrimp and raw oysters served on crushed ice and accompanied by mignonette, cocktail and stone sauces. All delicious, and even more stunning than the chilled seafood platter I had at Le Ronde in Paris in June.
Enrique also added a smoked octopus appetizer that featured tentacles so large they looked like something from “2000 Leagues Under the Sea,” and yet they were quite tender. The smoky flavor was complemented by a carrot yuzu and chimichurri. The octopus was draped around fresh arugula dressed with lemon and capers.
Sushi selections are now on the menu with some creative rolls, such as the Big Fin Surf and Turf, with lobster and steak, yuzu aioli, cucumber, avocado and togarashi. A beautiful presentation.
So was the Tako Wakame roll, with more of that wonderful smoked octopus, cucumber, red onion and sweet chili yuzo. It was topped with frizzles of fried surimi.
Among the new entrees, the Honey Peppercorn Salmon is a standout. A large, firm fillet, beautifully oven-roasted and topped with a glaze of honey and peppercorns. It was served with haricots verts and mashed potatoes laced with dill.
It’s general wisdom that you don’t go to a seafood restaurant and order meat, but the menu’s new veal chop is an exception to that rule. A gorgeous 14-ounce bone-in chop, it was perfectly grilled just under medium, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and mushrooms with haricots verts in a bordelaise reduction. It is much better than a seafood restaurant’s veal chop needs to be.
Many of the Big Fin standards remain on the menu, including an old-school favorite that is seen too infrequently these days: Trout Amandine. I haven’t had a good trout amandine in years so it was a treat to taste Enrique’s, which besides being deftly sauteed and covered with crunchy toasted almonds was swimming in brown butter.
There are some new cocktails to enjoy, too. Bartender Brandon Romero served me the Mazatlan Old Fashioned, his twist on the classic made with Maker’s 46, Demerara syrup and chocolate bitters. Eminently sippable.
By the way, Big Fin will be participating in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining again this year, and the new Honey Peppercorn Salmon is one of the entree choices. (The dish is $35 a la carte, so with an appetizer and dessert as part of the $40 prix fixe MagDin menu, you already know you’re coming out ahead.) Get the salmon and the old fashioned and enjoy a fine night out.