After 11 years in business in Evansville, Bonefish Grill’s Managing Partner Scott West says the restaurant needed to revamp its image both inside and out. In August, the market-fresh fish and wood-grilled specialty eatery unveiled a newly remodeled interior design and weekly discounted specials. Bonefish Grill also introduced its new seasonal featured menu for guests to devour creative fun fall favorites.
Bonefish Grill, 6401 E. Lloyd Expressway in Evansville Pavilion, remodeled its core with a blend of earthy tones, golden hardwood accents, and embellished wood flooring. West says the renovation, which took 30 days of overnight work, created a more open and brighter space with added flexibility for seating parties of all sizes.
The restaurant also announced a Hooked on Tuesday three-course menu starting at $14.90, allowing guests to choose some of their favorite dishes with the addition of a fresh crisp salad and dessert every Tuesday for a low price point, and introduced Bang Wednesday, which offers its signature appetizer Bang Bang Shrimp for $6 all night.
“We were doing some things on the menu that were not real exciting,” says West, who opened the store in 2004 after seeing a demand for seafood in Evansville’s Midwestern location. “We reflected back on what got us where we are and we said, ‘Let’s go back to what got us to this point.’ We re-established relationships with seafood vendors that we hadn’t been utilizing as much and opened ourselves up to putting in these new recipes when they are available.”
By updating the interior design and menu specials, West says it gave new guests the opportunity to order Bonefish’s products at a reduced price and be exposed to different products they may not usually try. Bonefish also introduced its featured fall menu in September, which will remain until mid-November.
“This is where we have fun and have some more flexibility,” says West, a Newburgh, Indiana, resident who has worked in the restaurant industry for 35 years. “We get indulgent with the toppings. If I were waiting on the table, I would talk about the core menu and then I would say, ‘OK, now let’s talk about the fun stuff.’”
Adventure off the core menu and sample a few of Bonefish’s seasonal choices such as the Swordfish and Pumpkin Ravioli, the Crab Crusted Icelandic Cod, Saucy Shrimp, or the Scampi-style Snapper and Shrimp.
My personal favorite, the Swordfish and Pumpkin Ravioli, is one of the most highly requested items when Bonefish’s seasonal promotion ends. The fresh-grilled swordfish is topped with feta, crispy onions, truffle butter, and served with French green beans. Known as the restaurant’s wait staff’s preferred dish, the pumpkin ravioli perfectly complements the season and the Swordfish satisfies your craving of fresh-caught seafood.
Icelandic Cod is a lean, flaky fish that Bonefish Grill adds an abundance of flavor through its crab crusted topping.
“The cod itself is a very mild fish with not a lot of flavor, so we go ahead and add a lot of flavor to it,” says server Julia Morrison of Evansville, who has worked at Bonefish for three years. “The bread crumbs have crab mixed in and then we are going to sauté that so it gets crispy and then top it with more lemon butter and crab meat.”
Morrison recommends pairing the dish with a side of garlic potatoes and the spaghetti squash.
Another seasonal featured menu item is the Saucy Shrimp, which West says is a guest favorite. The shrimp is sautéed in a lime tomato garlic sauce with Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
“This is an item that used to be on the menu and was resurrected by popular demand,” says West. “It originally was on the core menu, but nationwide it wasn’t a big mover. We had a lot of local requests for it, so we were able to bring it back on our feature menu. It was off the menu for about two years. It’s a great old signature item we’ve had for years and years.”
The snapper, found in Southern waters, is grilled over an oak fire and then topped with pan roasted shrimp, grape tomatoes, white wine scampi sauce and served with jasmine rice and green beans.
“We offer something that, especially in a Midwestern market, you are not going to find in terms of fresh fish,” says West. “It is as fresh as you can get in a commercial setting. The distribution systems that we have set up allows us to get it here and get it fresh, get it cut, and get it to the guests. We are kind of a big city bar. It takes you a little out of Evansville and hopefully when you walk through the door, you say, ‘OK, I’m not in my hometown anymore.’ That is a cool vibe.”
If seafood isn’t your style, Bonefish offers more than fish on its extensive menu with wood-grilled steak and chops, pasta, soups, and salads. A can’t-miss appetizer to kick off any meal is the Bang Bang Shrimp, crispy shrimp tossed in a creamy spicy sauce.
“The Bang Bang Shrimp is non-threatening and it’s not overly intimidated,” says West. “It’s frequently copied, but never replicated.”
Cap your dinner off with the Pumpkin Crème Brulee, a decadent dessert with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg with whipped cream or enjoy fall-inspired martinis such as the Fall Apple Martini, which has fall apples soaked three days in vodka and finished with a touch of honey and cinnamon, or the Fresh Pear Martini with freshly muddled pears, Absolut Pears vodka, St. Germain Edlerflower liqueur, and fresh lemon juice, and garnished with an edible flower.
“The bar fresh vibe is something we are so passionate about,” says West. “We do everything fresh, do infusions, do lots of hands-on mixology with our bar chefs. We have contests with our bartenders to create different type of cocktails and they each have their own signature cocktail they like to suggest that they’ve created their own recipe for. Regular guests know to ask for them, because they aren’t on the menu.”