We try to avoid reviewing chain restaurants on Dudes Who Dine, but considering the next closest Mitchell’s is in Winter Park (near Orlando), I figured I would write about one of my top restaurants. The nautical themed restaurant and actual fish market has the feel of an upscale restaurant but won’t cost you an arm and a leg. While there are several Mitchell’s in America, there aren’t any in California, Georgia, New York, or Massachusetts. My first encounter with Mitchell’s was in Pittsburgh; I was there for a graduation. At the time I wasn’t a big fish eater, but I was excited when Mitchell’s opened in Tampa and has pretty much become the place I go for seafood.
Starting out at Mitchell’s Fish Market
When I go to Mitchell’s, I always start with their house salad and a cup of their lobster bisque. Both are too good to pass up. The salad has the typical lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. What makes it stand out from most restaurant salads are the dates that are in it and the dressing. Of all the fruit you could consider putting in a salad, the dates work well in this one. The salad is topped with a poppy seed vinaigrette that’s irresistible. The lobster bisque is the best bisque in town. It is flavorful while not being to heavy or tasting too fishy. Another starter that is good to order is the char-broiled oysters, cooked with Cajun butter and Parmesan cheese.
The Main Course
There are several fishes one can choose from and three styles in which to serve them. You can choose from grouper, mahi mahi, and salmon to name a few. The three styles are grilled, blackened, and Shang Hai styled. Each style comes with different sides. The fish ordered during this visit was the blackened trout. It is served with an étouffée sauce, red beans and rice, and green beans with cane syrup. The picture of the blackened trout below was part of a split dish. My wife and I usually share our entree, so if you ordered the trout solo, you’ll get more food then what is pictured. This version of the trout is tasty. The red beans savory. The green beans had good flavor, but were too crunchy for my tastes.
Grilled is also a good choice. Grilled fish is served with smashed red-skinned potatoes and market vegetables. I’ve tried the Shang Hai style as well and it’s ok. It’s served with sticky rice and sesame spinach. Not my preference. Another dish worth checking out is the pecan crusted mountain trout. This is served with smashed red-skinned potatoes and green beans with brown butter. There are other entrees ranging from shrimp to crab to chicken and steak. I haven’t tried any of Mitchell’s turf items because I can order steak at other places and they do fish so well. However, I’m sure their steaks are good too, Mitchell’s has yet to disappoint.
“Sharkfin” Pie is Not Made from Shark
Make sure you have room for dessert at Mitchell’s and don’t attempt to eat it alone. The desserts are just ridiculously huge. The two standouts are the 7-layer carrot cake and the “shark fin” pie. The latter is a butter fudge ice cream pie with honey roasted peanuts, fudge, peanut butter, and an Oreo crust. Make sure you’re sharing because there is no way you’re going to be able to leave Mitchell’s with leftover pie. The carrot cake is the best dessert at Mitchell’s. It has 7-layers of goodness. A piece of this cake is so big that I usually tell the waiter to cut the piece in half and I take it home for breakfast. This still leaves a sizable dessert.
I’m sure you can get good seafood at some beach local, but compared to Bonefish Grill and Red Lobster, Mitchell’s is the best of the fish chains. Reservations are recommended on Friday and Saturday evenings. Mitchell’s is a good place for a birthday dinner. Not only does the birthday person get free dessert (huge dessert) but is also given a coupon for a free appetizer on his or her next visit. Mitchell’s is so good in quality, taste, and overall experience that you will be back for that free appetizer.