A new review of an old favorite.
Macadamia-crusted halibut at Fisherman's Wharf. Photo by Michael A. Foley/Rycus Assoc.
Although not continuous, Fisherman’s Wharf, under the ownership of “Captain” Niki Chalkias, has been around since the 1970s. It started on Morse Road before shifting to Bexley, and the latest version now can be found in the Polaris area. In addition, Chalkias and two of his children own and operate the Big Fat Greek Kuzina in Upper Arlington and Feta Greek Kuzina in Pickerington.
The Fisherman’s Wharf on Polaris Parkway near I-71 is swanky and busy. Arriving at 6 on a Saturday evening without a reservation, we got the last available seating—at the bar. I’d recommend making a reservation.
We sampled a number of the white wines—it’s a fish place, after all—and preferred the Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc. And, of course, I had a martini, which I liked. The fairly good bread was accompanied by a green frothy broth that our waiter, when we asked him about the ingredients, said he didn’t know because the folks in the kitchen wouldn’t reveal them. I’m guessing it involved a purée of basil, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and more. In any case, it was tasty.
So we had a promising start.
Then came the rest of the dinner.
Appetizers were a little off. Once the flames died down, Flaming Cheese was just melted cheese. Clams casino had much bread and cheese, but not so much clam flavor. Crispy calamari was tender, limp, oily and salty. While the smoked salmon bruschetta had nice crunchy toast, the rest also lacked flavor.
Jumbo lump crab cakes were lukewarm (probably waited too long before being served) and had little discernible flavor beyond an unpleasant sourness. The macadamia-crusted halibut was hot, but overcooked. So were Niki’s sea scallops and the market-priced Maine live lobster, which, nonetheless, seemed a little musty. And just about everything had too much salt, which was a surprising discovery because diners are often sensitive to that (and it’s something that’s easier to add than remove).
Whatever the entree, you had a choice of the same three sides: rice, potatoes and green vegetables. That limited selection probably saves work in the kitchen, but doesn’t make for a high-quality dining experience.
The restaurant understands, however, good customer relations. When an accident caused one of our entrees to splatter on the floor, it was replaced in just minutes. I was impressed by that, just less so by the food.
1611 Polaris Pkwy.
Price range: Appetizers $9-$14; soups and salads $3.75-$19; entrees $14-$28; sides $3-$4; desserts $4-$14.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm; Friday till 10:30 pm; Saturday noon to 10:30 pm; Sunday noon to 9:30 pm.
Rating: ** 1⁄2