Bonefish Grill, part of a chain of seafood restaurants which originated in Florida in 2000. Now, there are over 150 Bonefish Grill restaurants across the country and the Burlington location is their first Massachusetts site. Located in the Wayside Commons, it occupies the former location of the Ginger Pad restaurant. It opened on November 11, and is now open for dinner, lunch and brunch.
I have visited the restaurant twice now, once for dinner as a media guest, and another time on my own for lunch. Please note that as the restaurant is still very new, it may be working out a few kinks as any new restaurant must do. Even though it is a chain, and some of the details have been well worked out at other locations, there are still potentially issues that will arise at any new location, from service to kitchen issues.
Based on their website, the restaurant is devoted to seafood sustainability and authentication, quite worthy objectives. For example, in selecting their seafood, they use reports and recommendations from NOAA and consult with groups like Ocean Trust. They also conduct some DNA testing to authenticate the identity of their seafood. On their menu, you will find wild and farmed seafood, and it appears that different locations may also carry different sources and types of seafood. My only concern with their seafood selections is that I wished it carried more domestic seafood.
As I have written before, the U.S. imports 91% of their seafood and I have urged people to eat more domestic seafood. For example, I asked about the sourcing of their shrimp and my server informed me they were from the Gulf of Mexico though the manager told me that the shrimp actually came from Thailand. It appears that some of the southern locations of Bonefish Grill do carry Gulf shrimp, but the manager stated that due to the large volume of shrimp they purchase, they had to rely on Asian shrimp. I understand the logistic issues for such a large chain, which don't exist for small, independent seafood restaurants, but I still wish they could find ways to carry more domestic seafood, especially if they are able to do so at some locations.
The interior of the restaurant is very different from the former Ginger Pad, and it now seems more elegant, with a long bar at one end of the restaurant. The interior consists of numerous booths and tables, and they possess an exterior patio which will be great during the summer. On both times that I visited, the restaurant was relatively full and the noise level was very good, despite the crowd. During the evening, they also had free valet parking, which is nice as the parking lot can be quite full, especially during the holiday season.
The dinner menu includes Soups, Salads, Starters (about $4.90-$12.50), Burgers & Sandwiches ($11.90-$17.90), Grilled Fish ($15.90-$29.30), Grilled Specialties ($14.90-$22.70), and Sauteed+Baked ($9.90-$18.90). There were also several dinner and lunch Specials. Prices are reasonable and the most expensive dishes, such as Lobster, are priced as expected. Though many of the dishes are seafood, you'll also find steak, chicken, pork and more. Plenty of variety and any patron should be able to find something to appeal to them. The lunch menu has some less expensive options, as well as fewer choices for Starters, Entrees and Desserts. One oddity is their pricing, with dishes ending in cents like 40, 50 or 70. There is no reason for this, it is merely a matter of whimsy.
You can also order a cocktail, like one of their Martinis (about $8 each), or a beer, from a list of about 20 choices with several on tap. Cocktail prices seem reasonable, especially compared to many other places which charge $10 or more for their martinits.
Overall, I was pleased with the Bonefish Grill. It is reasonably priced, portion size is good, and flavors are very nice. Service was excellent, and it would be a nice place for a romantic date or a group of friends hanging out. I wish the wine list had better options and that the menu included more domestic seafood. If you are in Burlington, consider checking out Bonefish Grill.