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Restaurants & Bars 8

Cleveland Report Part II: Fat Fish Blue

BarbaraF | Feb 9, 200411:26 AM

Fat Fish Blue is a blues-bar themed restaurant with New Orleans-inspired food on the corner of Prospect and Ontario in Cleveland. The decor is dark blue and hip, with lots of windows that the employees paint periodically to create a change of theme. We were there on Superbowl Sunday, and they were washing off the "swamp" theme which included spanish moss and cattails, in order to put up the "Mardi Gras" theme.

They have a stage for live music, and while we were there, a band was doing a sound check, which was pretty fun, as our table was right next to the stage and we could guitar geek with the band's guitarist.

The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and were very into making us feel at home.

But, you guys don't care about all of that. You want to know what the food was like.

Well, it was mostly quite good. Being a child who grew up on southern cooking, I am quick to spot fakery in food that is meant to taste "downhome." But, the fried chicken with a peppercorn cream sauce was fantastic, the baked and mashed sweet potatoes were quite good, with a nice smoky edge from the molasses, and the collard greens had the great flavor that tasso brings to them, and were cooked low and slow. (Though, I could tell that the person who cooked them had not grown up in the south--they left the large central vein/rib in the leaves, which is a textural issue--it tends to cook up stringy and coarse. But, I love greens so much, I ate it anyway, and only teased the server a little about the greens being stringy.)

The crawfish etouffee was fairly good, though I think, and I know this is going to sound heretical, that they went a little overboard on the roux. It wasn't bad, and the flavor was good, but it was heavier and thicker than the other etouffees I have had, and I think that the broth that is the other flavor base besides the roux was a little weak.

The blackened salmon filet, on the other hand, was gosh-darned to die for. Of course, I will take any excuse to eat salmon, being as in a past life I must have been a grizzly bear and thus now have an unholy desire for that fish akin to lust, but this rendition of it was quite good, and decently spicy. Though, it was obvious we were in Ohio, when the server told me, "You know that is spicy, don't you? It's hot."

Oh, yes, I know.

And finally, the bread pudding. Oh, dear, the bread pudding. They served us a square of bread pudding that I swear weighed over a pound. It was huge. Bigger than a Rubick's cube for those of us of a certain age. Not as big as a breadbox, but heavier than one. Flavored with raisins, walnuts and cinnamon, the pudding was superbly crafted, with a lovely bourbon sauce poured over it, and served meltingly warm. For a dessert that had the relative density of neutronium, it went down quite easily.

Even so, we couldn't defeat it, and we had to take half of it back to the hotel for my father, who made the supreme sacrifice of eating it during the Superbowl.

All in all, it was a pretty cool place. They have Robert Lockwood Junior playing with no cover charge every Wednsday night, and thier gumbo and bread pudding offerings change every day or so. Definately worth at least one visit.

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