I invited some friends to join me on my special day but scheduling and the restaurant being quite a distance from their homes in Pace/Milton kept some away except for my buddy Carole in Flooring who met us at the restaurant. Erika had a veterinary emergency of sorts with her cat Pesto and would meet us shortly afterwards, but she told us when she called that afternoon to get our name on the list or we would never get into the restaurant. Luckily, Mom, Carole, and I were there about 5 p.m. and had our choice of dining inside with the big fish tank that was inside or outside. It was a beautiful and breezy evening, and we chose to eat outside and were brought outside to a table with a view of a little marina with some boats docked and the bridge to Pensacola Beach.
Our waiter Kevin was right there with the hostess to take our drink orders, and Mom and I ordered a Sam Adams Boston Lager, but Carole waited until almost dinner time to get a glass of water. Kevin, who seemed to me to have no personality, kept his distance knowing that Erika was on her way and we would order after she showed up. While waiting and enjoying our beers, Carole gave me a nice necklace and earrings as a birthday gift and we talked about work, sports, and other subjects while enjoying the view of the marina and a heron flying around the dock.
Finally Erika showed up, and we decided to make our final decisions on what to eat in order not to tick off our waiter. Kevin read the evening's specials which didn't seem too appealing except for the fish of the day which was tillapia. Erika already knew what she wanted and got the Ginger Chicken ($17.50) while Carole, Mom, and I chose the Fish of the Day ($19.50). The fish dinners came in your choice of preparation, and Carole got the Ginger Tillapia while Mom was brave and got the Blackened Tillapia, and I got the Pecan Encrusted Tillapia. All of our dinners came with salads and two side dishes. Carole, Erika and I chose the chile herb rice as a side while Mom was brave again and got collard greens with veggies, and I got fried okra in order to go with the Southern flow of things. Erika and Carole got veggies as their second side dishes.
Our salads came rather quickly, and they were beautifully presented on white square plates with nice green lettuce, grape tomatoes, pickled cucumber slices, red onion, and a slice of bread with our choice of salad dressing. The salads were good and we had enough time to digest them before our main courses arrived.
About 15 minutes later, our entrees arrived, and we took a few minutes to admire the plating of the food before digging in. Our fish was a nice piece of tillapia in our choice of finish surrounded by our side dishes and was very good. The chile herb rice had a little bite to it and I enjoyed my fried okra and was dipping it into the aioli tartar sauce that came with my fish. However, Mom took one bite of her collard greens and didn't like them at all. They went to the side while she enjoyed her fish and veggies. Erika said the last time she was at the Fish House, her Ginger Chicken was so hot she thought she would need a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in her mouth. This time, Erika said her chicken was more sweet than spicy, but was good. Everyone pretty much cleared our plates with enough room for cheesecake back at our place for my birthday cake, and we turned down the waiter's offer for no dessert, and he didn't even crack a smile when I said we were going home for birthday cake. A band had started to play music on the huge patio, and it was slow music which earned an eye roll from Erika and I, who are used to loud rock and roll like The Dropkick Murphys and other heavy metal greats.
Both Erika and Carole's food came to about $20 while Mom paid for my meal and hers and it came to close to $50 plus tip. The Fish House is a bit expensive, and I thought our waiter wasn't very personable, but was quick in getting our orders. The Fish House is supposed to be one of the best places in town, but my co-worker Roy may have been right saying it was overrated, but to me it had some good points in good food with a Southern twist, but the prices and so-so service will have me thinking of other places to dine in the future. If you do decide to eat at the Fish House, make sure you get there early or you will be waiting for a long time for a table and be prepared to spend some money.
by Wildcat Dianne
May 2, 2009
From journal Shipping Out to Downtown Pensacola