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Winter Park Fish Co.

761 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, FL - (407) 622-6112
Posted By Michael Stern on 2/2/2014 7:42:00 AM
Choosing a meal at Winter Park Fish Co. is a matter of 1-2-3-4: logical, but demanding of full attention.

First, choose your fish. A board above the raw fish case (where many people come to shop for seafood to take home) lists what is available. When I visited in January, the roster included Tasmanian Trout, Stone Bass, Halibut, King Fish, Striped Bass, Swordfish, Ahi Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Scallops, Salmon, and Snapper.

Next, decide how you want it prepared: grilled, broiled, blackened, seared, Cajun, jerked, TNT crusted, chili crusted, macadamia buttered, tempura-battered, lightly fried, or buttermilk fried.

Third, pick a topping: mango ginger glaze, tartar sauce, olive tapenade, garlic chili & soy, green tomato chow chow, Cajun remoulade, white cocktail, lemon caper butter, habanera BBQ, sundried tomato truffle basil butter, or orange beurre blanc.

Finally, select two side dishes from a list that includes sweet puppies (hushpuppies dusted with powdered sugar), French fries, mango cole slaw, coconut rice, black beans, fried okra, squash cassoulette, blackeyed pea ragu, zucchini stir fry, roasted parmesan-topped tomato slices, sweet potato fries, grits, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, bok choy, spinach pie, parmesan cous cous, mac & cheese, and potato salad.

Whew! Once those decisions are made, you pay for the meal and receive a placard to carry to a table, so when the food is ready, the waitress knows where to find you.

I went for scallops, broiled, with lemon caper butter, sided by sweet puppies and mango cole slaw. Magnificent scallops! Not cheap, mind you. It was $20 for exactly seven of them. But they are big, dense, and ocean-sweet – a mighty main course.

Jane forwent the step-by-step order system and instead chose one of the “Fish Company Classics,” which are complete meals such as fish & chips, bacon-wrapped trout, Florida grouper cheeks in parchment, and buttermilk fried shrimp. Her choice: shrimp and grits. It is another winner, an abundance of seared pink shrimp with real snap to their flesh cosseted in very peppery lobster gravy enriched with melted cheddar cheese, all piled atop a mound of luxurious creamy grits. On the side comes a chewy cheddar-jalapeno biscuit.

It would take countless visits to sample a significant portion of the menu in this happy place (at the top of the list for next time: the effulgent cioppino a neighbor ordered). Not only is the fish impeccably fresh and expertly prepared; the ultra-casual way of doing business makes dining fun. Decorated like some sort of Oceanside shanty, with fishing rods and buoys hanging overhead, the Fish Company sports bare tables locally made from local wood. It is a tiny place with a total of six tables indoors (frequently shared by strangers) and an outdoor bar where you can dine and drink. Expect to wait for a place at prime mealtimes.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Scallops
Roasted Parmesan Potatoes
Shrimp & Grits
Blueberry Key Lime Pie
Sweet Puppies
Mango Slaw
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A simple, flawless main course: scallops, broiled, in a puddle of lemon caper butter
"A simple, flawless main course: scallops, broiled, in a puddle of lemon caper butter"
Michael Stern





One of the house specialties, shrimp & grits compares with some of the best we've eaten in the Lowcountry. The shrimp are abundant and snapping-fresh, the lobster sauce that envelops them is firecracker hot, the cheesy grits are rich, dense, and creamy.
"One of the house specialties, shrimp & grits compares with some of the best we've eaten in the Lowcountry. The shrimp are abundant and snapping-fresh, the lobster sauce that envelops them is firecracker hot, the cheesy grits are rich, dense, and creamy. "
Michael Stern


A Florida cognate for Yankee doughballs: hushpuppies dusted with powdered sugar
"A Florida cognate for Yankee doughballs: hushpuppies dusted with powdered sugar"
Michael Stern


Mango slaw is perfectly alright, but next time we are going to choose one of the more interesting side dishes.
"Mango slaw is perfectly alright, but next time we are going to choose one of the more interesting side dishes."
Michael Stern


My name on the table placard tells the waitress where to deliver the meal. In the foreground is a little lagniappe presented as hors d'oeuvre: house-made ahi tuna salad, spiked with cumin, and a few Ritz crackers.
"My name on the table placard tells the waitress where to deliver the meal. In the foreground is a little lagniappe presented as hors d'oeuvre: house-made ahi tuna salad, spiked with cumin, and a few Ritz crackers."
Michael Stern


There is not much more to the indoor dining room than what you see here.
"There is not much more to the indoor dining room than what you see here."
Michael Stern


With its cookie-thick graham cracker crust and the added attraction of blueberries, this big square of 'Key lime pie' is balanced differently than the classic version. It's not as refreshing, but it is immensely satisfying.
"With its cookie-thick graham cracker crust and the added attraction of blueberries, this big square of 'Key lime pie' is balanced differently than the classic version. It's not as refreshing, but it is immensely satisfying."
Michael Stern


Parmesan roasted tomatoes make a fine side dish for nearly any fish.
"Parmesan roasted tomatoes make a fine side dish for nearly any fish."
Michael Stern


A real seafood shack with colorful ambience and first-rate fish
"A real seafood shack with colorful ambience and first-rate fish"
Michael Stern


Winter Park has a big selection of very expensive, high-end eateries. Winter Park Fish Company is only moderately expensive (hey, the fish is FRESH!), and is anything but high end.
"Winter Park has a big selection of very expensive, high-end eateries. Winter Park Fish Company is only moderately expensive (hey, the fish is FRESH!), and is anything but high end."
Michael Stern



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