julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

Fly Me to the Moon

MoonFish

I’m currently in Orlando, attending my last trade show of the year. While I would always rather be home with Ben and the cats than on the road, there are some definite perks to this part of the business. Freebies and give-aways, meeting new people, making connections in the industry, and time with co-workers outside of the office environment are all pretty cool. But by far one of the best parts about traveling for business (especially when the president of the company comes along) is being treated to some really amazing meals. Like last night, for instance. Being that we were in Florida, we decided on seafood for dinner, and went to a restaurant called MoonFish.

Oh, MoonFish. I think I love you.

Sushi Bar

Located in a shopping center area, this place could easily be overlooked – because I was on the look-out for it, and because they had a sign close to the main road, we saw it just in time and pulled into the crowded parking lot. We used their complimentary valet service to park the rental car, and a greeter at the main entrance opened the door for us. The dim lighting and swanky decor gave the place a pretty hip, upscale atmosphere. The entry was lined with glass cases filled with slices of fish on ice, and I was thrilled to discover that I actually recognized some of them from Julia’s recipes! (When I saw the trout with the skin on, I shuddered and pitied the fool who had to prepare that thing.) We waited at the bar for the rest of our party and watched chefs create sushi roll appetizers. I perused the menu and realized this was sort of an asian-inspired seafood restaurant – several dishes had ginger sauces and dressings, and there was a large sushi offering on the main menu. We were seated quickly at a roomy booth, and our waitress greeted us with a platter of warm towels for our hands. (I wondered if it would be rude to use them on my bare feet after having stood on them all day long, then decided against it.)

Coconut Shrimp & Fried Calamari

We ordered appetizers for the table, crab cakes with a mango relish (the crab was pure meat with light breading, and the gentle sweetness from the sauce made my tastebuds cry, “YUM!”); fried calamari and coconut shrimp (these were monster shrimp who had clearly been body doubles for a sci-fi thriller at one of the nearby movie studios); and snow crab claws (already cracked for ease and less chance of embarrassment, served on a bowl of ice). Everything was delicious. And to be honest, I considered not even ordering a meal because the amount of food on the table was obscene.

But I didn’t stop there.

Next came a basket of sliced, warm raspberry bread and sourdough bread. I had a slice of the raspberry, which was sweet but not quite a dessert bread. With a little melted butter on top, it was perfect. And then came the house salad, which had a ginger dressing and spicy cracker croutons. I ate almost all of it, because I have no self control and it was delish.

Dining Room

And THEN came the actual meal, which was crab stuffed shrimp and scallops with ginger steamed vegetables and rice. I tell you, I ate about five bites before I had to finally throw in the towel, because there was just so much food! The presentation of my dinner wasn’t what I expected, but it was wonderful. The crab-shrimp and scallops were all mixed together in a tomato-based red sauce in a shallow bowl, seasoned with spices and piping hot. The vegetables were terrific – the hint of ginger was subtle but surprisingly good. I was sad when I had to ask for a to-go box, because I wanted to finish everything on my plate. But alas, one person can only eat so much. Yes. Even me.

I will say despite the perfection of everything else, we did have one slight mishap when our guest of honor cut into his fish and realized it wasn’t cooked through. The waitress whisked it away, and while they prepared a new plate for him, at least two managers came to our table to personally apologize for the mistake and made sure we knew that they had “handled it” with the chef in the back. (Side note: Dear chef in the back, I hope you still have a job tomorrow. Everything else was so wonderful, we can overlook one minor infraction.) To be honest, we had all eaten so much before the meal, nobody was too upset about the undercooked fish – I promise, nobody went hungry last night.

This is an actual moonfish. He's one gnarly looking dude, huh?

The selection on the menu was not to be believed. Printed that day, it not only listed each available fish, but also the name of the captain who caught it and where it was caught! In addition to seafood, they also offered a selection of steaks, chops and chicken, so there was certainly something for everyone. While I couldn’t imagine eating here every night (I would consider this a “special occasion” restaurant), I highly recommend this place – from the selection of food to the quality of everything on our table, this was easily one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had.

In Orlando? Hungry for seafood? Check out MoonFish. You won’t be sorry.

Even if your fish is undercooked. This place is that good.

Your favorite roving reporter,
– Jessica

*Please note: despite the fact that I did have the pleasure of meeting two of last night’s managers, MoonFish has no idea who I am and has never heard of this site. I’m just passing on the story of a really good dinner. The end.

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