by Ralph Routon
Seafood lovers in Colorado Springs, feel free to celebrate. The word is out that Bonefish Grill, a national chain of first-rate seafood restaurants, is coming here this summer.
As reported in today's Gazette, Bonefish Grill is one of several new additions in the works for University Village on North Nevada Avenue. It'll be more than 4,000 square feet, in a different corner of the building that includes a Chipotle location. The chain is just 12 years old, since its formation in January 2000 at St. Petersburg, Fla., but it has exploded in recent years.
Denver has three Bonefish Grills, including one just east of Interstate 25's Belleview Avenue exit (actually at 4948 S. Yosemite St.), and there's a fourth spot serving Loveland-Fort Collins. But this will be the first one in southern Colorado.
Trust me, coming from someone who has enjoyed Bonefish locations in Arkansas and Florida, this restaurant will set a new, higher-than-ever standard for seafood establishments in Colorado Springs. It will bring various choices of fresh fish, every night, from mahi mahi and Gulf grouper to jumbo sea scallops, sea bass, salmon, halibut and, of course, shrimp, with a variety of appealing, innovative preparations. For those who prefer red meat, you can have a filet mignon or sirloin steak, not to mention chicken or boneless pork chops.
But the appetizers almost make you forget about the main course. A common favorite, and mine, is Bang Bang Shrimp, lightly battered with a spicy sauce that beats any remoulade you've had elsewhere. There are other choices as well, such as calamari, mussels, ahi tuna sashimi, crab cakes, coconut shrimp or bacon-wrapped sea scallops.
The good-sized bar is classy, too, especially with those appetizers as a lure.
I know, this is sounding like nothing but an advertisement, and we at the Indy prefer local, non-chain eateries. But Colorado Springs has been blessed with only a few local-owned seafood restaurants over the years, and English Dockside at 2220 Academy Place deserves accolades for being around for nearly a decade.
Still, I have to make an exception by putting out a positive early word about Bonefish Grill, because this city hasn't had a large-scale seafood place like it. My guess is that the restaurant here will benefit from getting the same fish flown in for Colorado's other four locations.
It's not that Bonefish Grill is a dark secret. In the 2011 Zagat's National Chain Restaurants Survey, Bonefish won six first places: Top Overall Restaurant, Best Seafood and Top Service among full-service chains, along with Top Rated Food, Top Healthy Options and Top Rated Facilities.
Go to bonefishgrill.com and check it out for yourself. In fact, you might not be able to wait until summer, especially with the chance for a preview just an hour up I-25.