Tasty Break for Shoppers, Travelers on I-5 Drive

As the upscale, fish-scale version of popular partner Outback Steakhouse, the Bonefish Grill is well-positioned to meet the appetites of shop- and traffic-weary consumers along the Marysville-Smokey Point retail corridor on I-5.

About midway between Seattle and Bellingham, it’s a good recharge stop. Smokey Point got its name in sleepier times, when a popular 1950s barbeque joint, the Smokey Point Café, was famous for its telltale column of cooking smoke, a beacon to passersby. The café was one of the few eating establishments back when the grounds were largely vacant fields. Only in the past decade or so has the area’s mushrooming growth produced developments like The Marketplace, the bustling new shopping center, built in 2015, that is a short walk for residents of an equally new multiapartment housing complex.

Bonefish and Outback share a building at The Marketplace, across the street from established Lakewood Crossing, home to retail behemoths Costco, Best Buy, Target, and others.

The 10,000-plus-square-foot restaurant is actually a duplex, featuring the Bonefish Grill on one side and Outback on the other, with one kitchen between. The dual concept is just the second in the state (behind Spokane). Each restaurant cross-trains staff—food preppers prep for both—and share some management labor, but have separate inventory. It’s an intriguing experiment for the company, two brands in the same family but with decidedly different offerings.

Like Outback, the Bonefish Grill likes to steer the uninitiated to its signature dishes and drinks. The Bang Bang Shrimp, akin to Outback’s trademark Bloomin’ Onion, is a pyramid of shrimp seasoned with a creamy, spicy sauce and fried to a crispy crunch. It’s popular enough for online imitation.

“There are 15 recipes on the internet and all of them are wrong,” said Mike Ryan, managing partner.

Where Outback is turf, Bonefish is surf. Appetizers include bacon-wrapped scallops and sweet crab cakes, but it also offers Wagyu beef and ginger potstickers.

Entrees at The Bonefish Grill taste as good as they look. An artist’s palette of red and yellow mango salsa adorns a dish of sea scallops & shrimp. The lively green of herb pesto sauce–along with the mango salsa one of five signature sauces to choose from–complements the silky mahi mahi.

Bonefish even does sides uncommonly well. Broccoli was steamed just right, hitting the sweet spot between too limp and too firm. Sweet, creamy garlic whipped potatoes were a nice accompaniment to any grilled fish.

Equally striking on the color spectrum are the cocktails: the popular Winter White Cosmopolitan, made with white cranberry juice (who knew?) and the deep-pink Fresh Raspberry Collins. The restaurant makes a point to include Washington state wines, with offerings from Woodinville and eastern Washington.

Entrees include more than sea fare, with the Fontina Port Chop a top-seller, and other offerings like filet mignon and chicken, along with rice bowls, tacos, salads and a half-pound beef burger.

Portions are big enough to take home for a second meal. If you don’t want to go big, Bonefish’s happy hour (4–6 p.m. and 9 p.m.–close every night) is popular for a reason: $4 draft beer, $7 bar-fresh cocktails (including the Bonefish Pomegranate Martini) and discounted dishes like Caesar salad ($4), Calamari ($8) and Bang Bang Chicken ($6), among others.

Save room for dessert. If you like coconut, Jen’s Jamaican Coconut Pie (coconut custard and Myers’s Rum sauce) is superb. You’ll savor the Crème Brulee, whose topping is crispy perfection.

It’s about as far from a 1950s barbecue joint as you can get, but these days, as a big fish in an ever-expanding pond, Bonefish is a smart fit.

2537 172nd St. NE, Marysville

360.657.5629 | bonefishgrill.com

 

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"Entrees at The Bonefish Grill taste as good as they look. "