I have to love a seafood restaurant that doubles as a fish market...which is Mad Fish's MO. UD and I arrived on an early Sunday evening and proceeded to relish in the cool(ish) October breeze and a postcard picture perfect view from the outdoor terrace.
Our server was sweet, laid back and beach-efficient. If you dine often at local casual waterfront establishments, you know what this means (unpretentious and unrushed, but in a good way). We started with an exceptional house-made smoked fish spread comprised of mullet and mahi. SO good, and boasting big chunks of fish, pleasing veggie accents and minimal binder...unlike a soupy, wan and gag-worthy version we tried at Conch Republic a couple of weeks ago (just say "no").
I love breaded and deep-fried seafood. I know that's not a particularly sophisticated admission for me to make, but you'll get no apologies. I was raised in the Bible Belt where no kitchen was complete without a FryDaddy. The heart wants what it wants.
Mad Beach Fish House offers a nice, affordable selection of fried seafood baskets with choices like Gulf shrimp, scallops, whole belly clams, oysters and whitefish, all priced at under $11.00. I couldn't even finish my generous basket of freshly shucked and lightly fried oysters served with crispy fries, crunchy hush puppies and a little sidecar of slaw.
My beloved's whole deep-fried hogfish, however, took the cake on this particular dining excursion. The scored and perfectly cooked specimen was enrobed in a bible-thin, golden brown cloak and boasted an almost ethereal sweet and juicy interior. Spicy red beans and rice proved to be a tasty side dish (which was offered alongside other options like cheese grits, cole slaw, potato salad and corn on the cob).
Mad Beach Fish House does a mostly better-than-average job with its casual seafood fare, which is dished up in a beachside, touron-riche environment. Pleasing, relaxing and affordable.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.