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Madfish is no diner

Drive into the parking lot at Madfish and you might think you are going to enter a New York – style diner. The outside is a shiny dining car that screams pot roast, burgers and shakes. Walk inside and you will probably be as surprised as I was on my visits there. The decor is contemporary with dark wood accents, comfortable seating and pleasant lighting. Elegant tablecloths, wine glasses and silverware adorn the tables.

Photos Copyright Downtown Carols Photography

The menu was filled with interesting possibilities without being too burdensome, all in what I would call a “continental” style of cuisine. The wine list contained choices from all over the world and had some very good values. On one visit, we ordered a Chardonnay from the Loire Valley ($25). Served slightly chilled, it was not too rich or too acidic. It tasted like it would be the perfect wine for some of the seafood on the menu.
If you are a big goat cheese fan, like I am, you might want to start off your meal with the Warm Goat Cheese ($8) appetizer. It is served with caramelized shallots and herbs with toasts for spreading and a small salad on the side. In the meantime, they also bring some crusty bread with an olive tapenade, The goat cheese was a decent-sized portion and a more than satisfying appetizer for two people. In fact, after eating it and the bread with tapenade, we were not sure we could eat dinner! There is something about goat cheese and caramelized onions (in this case, shallots) that is a perfect match of flavors. As Forrest Gump would say, “like peas and carrots”.
The steaks they serve are aged, and one of the ones I tried was the Filet of Beef Tenderloin ($29). I ordered it medium rare and it was cooked to exactly the right temperature, dressed with lump crab and hollandaise and served with sauteed asparagus, souffle of potatoes and a demi glace. The presentation of this dish was very pretty and the taste was even better. The beef was excellent quality, tender and flavorful. The other additions to the plate pushed it to the level of a superior dining experience.
Another dish I have tried is the Grouper Oscar ($27). The grouper is pan sauteed and it was unbelievably fresh. (They bring in their grouper from a local source, fishing right off the coast.) The fish was exactly what fish should be. It was moist, not overcooked and had great texture. I almost wondered if it was really grouper because the texture of the fish was so completely different from other grouper I have had. Either way, I’d order it again. It also came with the lump crab and hollandaise dressed over the fish.
I only order dessert when I have an exceptional meal, but I’m always worried it might ruin the dinner. Sometimes the kitchen will have a quality chef, as this one obviously does, and you wonder if they may be lacking in the pastry/dessert area. But, I went ahead and ordered the Chocolate Lava Cake because I am admittedly addicted to chocolate. It was served warm and when you cut into it, the dark, dense chocolate came oozing out, as it should have. After such a savory meal, the sweetness of good chocolate really hit the spot.
After dinner, this is a pleasant place to relax and converse before taking a walk on the beach.
If you are a big goat cheese fan, like I am, you might want to start off your meal with the Warm Goat Cheese ($8) appetizer. It is served with caramelized shallots and herbs with toasts for spreading and a small salad on the side. In the meantime, they also bring some crusty bread with an olive tapenade, The goat cheese was a decent-sized portion and a more than satisfying appetizer for two people. In fact, after eating it and the bread with tapenade, we were not sure we could eat dinner! There is something about goat cheese and caramelized onions (in this case, shallots) that is a perfect match of flavors. As Forrest Gump would say, “like peas and carrots”.
The steaks they serve are aged, and one of the ones I tried was the Filet of Beef Tenderloin ($29). I ordered it medium rare and it was cooked to exactly the right temperature, dressed with lump crab and hollandaise and served with sauteed asparagus, souffle of potatoes and a demi glace. The presentation of this dish was very pretty and the taste was even better. The beef was excellent quality, tender and flavorful. The other additions to the plate pushed it to the level of a superior dining experience.
Another dish I have tried is the Grouper Oscar ($27). The grouper is pan sauteed and it was unbelievably fresh. (They bring in their grouper from a local source, fishing right off the coast.) The fish was exactly what fish should be. It was moist, not overcooked and had great texture. I almost wondered if it was really grouper because the texture of the fish was so completely different from other grouper I have had. Either way, I’d order it again. It also came with the lump crab and hollandaise dressed over the fish.
I only order dessert when I have an exceptional meal, but I’m always worried it might ruin the dinner. Sometimes the kitchen will have a quality chef, as this one obviously does, and you wonder if they may be lacking in the pastry/dessert area. But, I went ahead and ordered the Chocolate Lava Cake because I am admittedly addicted to chocolate. It was served warm and when you cut into it, the dark, dense chocolate came oozing out, as it should have. After such a savory meal, the sweetness of good chocolate really hit the spot.
After dinner, this is a pleasant place to relax and converse before taking a walk on the beach.
Madfish is located at 5200 Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach. They offer an early dining menu from 3pm to 5:30pm daily with many entrees (including the grouper) for $12 or less. The next time you spend some time over by the beach, it’s worth a try.

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