It was our 11th anniversary and our friends in North Raleigh volunteered to look after our boys while we went to dinner. We live in Durham and have limited our dining to Durham and Chapel Hill, so I was intrigued at the chance to explore dining outside of our normal territory.
After investgating restaurants in triangle.citysearch.com I chose Fins, which described itself as a restaurant serving the freshest and most exotic seafood in the Triangle with Pan-Asian flavor. The restuarant is located off of Lead Mine Rd. in a non-descript strip mall. The restuarant inside wasn't fancy but had a comfortable, relaxed ambience. The waitress was friendly without being overbearing.
For appetizers, I ordered the Australian giant prawns (2) in a Thai coconut curry stew with shitake mushrooms and brown rice fritters. It was quite good but what really impressed me was the fritters. They were warm and crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. My wife got the Alaskan king crab cake with shredded diakon, avacado and tomato salsa. The crab was of high quality, tasting very sweet and fresh.
For dinner I ordered the fijian snapper. The fish was whole fried with a cashew crust and dressed with a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce, with stir fried Chinese greens on the side. The fish was slightly over fried perhaps but it tasted very good nonetheless. I love anything with tamarind and this didn't disappoint. My wife got the sea bass with saffron risotto and rock shrimp. Given the facts that I didn't get a taste and that her plate was clean, I surmised that she enjoyed her dish as well. :-)
The dessert menu had only about 6 choices, none of which was especially impressive. We went with the special, which was a layered cake with hazelnut and chocolate with caramel and chocolate sauce. It was good but it didn't wow-- unlike the rest of the meal.
I give this restuarant high marks. If you like Asian flavor and a variety of fresh seafood to choose from, you will like this place a lot. However, I'd skip dessert and go to a cool coffee shop like Driade in Chapel Hill instead. Fins is expensive: appetizers are $11-15 and entres are $24-30, each. Our tab with tax and tip was around $110-- and that's without wine (my wife's pregnant).
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