2251 Town Center Avenue
Viera, FL 32940
Phone: (321) 636-1619
So here it is...Bonefish Grill recently opened up in the Avenue Viera. It has only been open about a week or so, but I have had the opportunity to dine there twice already!
My first experience at Bonefish Grill in Viera was as a guest at a pre-opening dinner. I have a friend who received an invite for herself and a few guests so the restaurant could hold a live training exercise before its official opening. Our entire meal was free of charge with the exclusion of tipping our server. Fun fun! The only stipulations were that they asked that we all order different things and no ordering filet mignon or lobster.
We started our meal with a shared calamari appetizer and a cocktail. The calamari was good. It wasn't as delicately breaded as I would usually prefer, but it tasted good all the same. I really enjoyed the Asian inspired dipping sauce that came with the calamari. It complimented the taste of the calamari very well. We also were given some fresh bread with a pesto dipping sauce which was great! I know the Bang Bang Shrimp is their very popular appetizer, but I'm not crazy about it. Don't throw tomatoes at me! I know I am in the minority on that. But, taking delicate shrimp and covering it with all that saucy mayo just isn't for me.
For cocktails, I tried the recommended watermelon martini. It was very refreshing and came with a frozen watermelon cube as a garnish. Yum! I am not a fan of overly sweet cocktails so I asked the server if it could be made with less sour mix than usual. No problem.
Now it was time to order. When it comes to seafood and steak restaurants I am sort of a purest. I never order steak at a seafood restaurant and I never order seafood at a steak restaurant. It is generally a good rule to follow. Of course, if you are at an exceptionally fine restaurant, like the Bull and Bear at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando these rules don't apply. As a general rule though, ordering what is popular at a restaurant will keep you out of trouble. However, remember, we didn't have to pay for this meal, so I threw caution to the wind and ordered the sirloin steak....just out of pure curiosity. Our server came back and said they were out of sirloin and would it be okay if they substituted a filet mignon. Ah-yeah....of course. Long story short, the filet came and I ate it... but I didn't like it. It wasn't bad, but for me it was just completely unremarkable and lacked flavor. Everyone else I was with ordered a seafood entree and they were all pleased.
The service that night was good. The server seemed really more intent on following the rules and making sure we knew the rules, than giving us an enjoyable experience. This seemed odd, but they were in training, so I didn't think too much of it.
Fast forward, myself and 3 others went to Bonefish in Viera for Sunday brunch. When we walked in we were asked if we wanted a table or booth and said that it didn't matter. The restaurant was mostly empty so we asked if we could sit by a window. Honestly, you would have thought that we asked some off-the-wall crazy request. The hostess team looked confused and after much whisper commiserating between two of them they hesitantly decided that it was ok to let us sit in a table by the window.
We were seated and were given a brunch menu and also the regular restaurant menu. My dining companion wanted to order an appetizer off of the regular menu, but when she did so, was given a scared "I don't know if you can do that." Like, oh please don't let me get in trouble! I gently pointed out to our server that we were given the regular menu when we were seated and was previously told that Bonefish serves both the brunch and regular menu on Sunday. She hesitantly took our order. I guess in the end, ordering off the regular menu was okay because we received the appetizer.
I ordered the creme brulee french toast. It had been recommended to me previously by an employee. One of my dining companions ordered the same. Her husband ordered a frittata and a mimosa. Later on in the meal, he ordered another mimosa and was asked if he wanted to do the unlimited alcohol included price or should she charge him by the glass. He asked for the server just to charge him for whatever came out cheaper. Her response was "I'll have to ask my manager if that is legal..."
I thought the french toast was pretty good. It is not something I would crave or probably order again, but it was decent breakfast fare. The bacon was thick and delicious.
My dining companion was very pleased with his frittata. It was cooked and served in an individual cast iron skillet which we all thought was great.
Our bills came and I paid with a credit card, like I often do when I eat out. Our server asked everyone paying for photo identification. I have dined out and paid with a credit card thousands of times. I have never in my life been asked for I.D. in order to pay my bill, so this was different. I was told asking for I.D. when you pay is "store policy."
All and all my impression of Bone Fish Viera is it is a beautiful restaurant and a good addition to The Avenue, but it is a bit like a pretty Red Lobster (ouch...I know, but actually I think Red Lobster might be more fun). I have dined at the Bone Fish on Merritt Island and had a very good and pretty fun experience. Perhaps it is because the Viera location just opened or perhaps the employees are new and have recently had some heavy handed training, but I think the store might need to be reminded that....for pete's sake people - it is just brunch! Dining out is supposed to be a treat! Special and a fun experience! If not, why bother. I hate to judge a restaurant the first few months it is open, so I'll be sure to go back later this year and try it again.
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