Restaurant Review: Fisherman's Wharf

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Chalk up another one for the Chalkias family - a new Fisherman's Wharf has opened. Sailing out dishes of high-grade seafood from its Polaris-area kitchen, this Wharf is off to a brisk start.

For background, the original Fisherman's Wharf premiered on Morse Road in the mid-'70s during a drastically more provincial dining era than we're currently enjoying. Partially drawing on the Chalkias family's Greek heritage, it was like the restaurant that launched a thousand others.

Some are still chugging along, others have long run aground, but count among that distinguished number Niki's Deli, a Fisherman's Wharf in Bexley, Fisherman's Wharf Pier II, Feta in Pickerington and the Big Fat Greek Kuzina. I'll not bother mentioning every eatery with ties to the Chalkias brood, but rest assured that if you're a fan of Greek food in Columbus, you've probably patronized a Chalkias-related restaurant.

So of course Grecian accents make their way into the new Fisherman's Wharf, but as its name suggests, this place is mostly about the fish. Its nautical theme is clearly stated outside, where beneath porthole windows peeking through huge and heavy black lacquered doors, a split-in-two captain's wheel serves as handles.

Inside, off-white walls with coppery swaths set off black and blue accents. So tablecloths, menus, napkins, servers outfits and even leftovers boxes are night shaded. Fanciful blue pops up in pretty, aquarium-riffing stained glass windows. There's also a large and attractive rectangular bar in the big and bustling restaurant.

Overall, it's a handsome, but not chichi, establishment. Accordingly, it generally draws in regular folks splurging on excellent, and pricey, seafood. As for cooking and plating styles, they've ranged from straightforward to considerably fancier.

From the latter group, the Sesame Ahi Tuna ($12) was a fine starter. Looking like a dozen dominoes toppled in a straight row, the raw, served room temperature "tiles" of delicious sashimi-grade fish sported crunchy seared rims encrusted with white and black sesame seeds. Artful squiggles of wasabi mayo and a fragrant oil provided modernist touches - but skip the overpowering soy sauce dip.

Homier but soulful was the Seafood Chowder ($4.50/cup). Actually more like a soothing potato soup laced with clams, its starchy ballast was leavened with a nicely measured tang.

Saladwise, my favorite was the eye-catching, tongue-delighting and near meal-in-itself Captain's Artichoke Salad ($6). Like a gussied up Greek salad, its manifold elements (cucumber, roasted red peppers, creamy feta and much more) made for a dynamic combination.

Navigating the mammoth menu for entrees can take a while. You'll scan past delicacies like Day Boat Scallops, plump Danish scampi, killer Kodiak Alaskan Red King Crab Legs, and luscious Maine lobster tails. Want 'em all? Then opt for the Baked Variety platter ($50, but could feed two) which rounds them up simply, perfectly cooked, dusted with seasoned breadcrumbs and presented with lakes of garlicky melted butter.

For something "cheffier," pick the terrific Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut ($26). Sauced with a sweetish orange buerre blanc, it was a huge and truly beautiful piece of succulent snow white fish.

Soft and supple, yet endowed with bells and whistles galore (berries, bananas, nutella, whipped cream, chocolate sauce), Gina's Crepes ($12, easily serves two) were the obvious dessert star.

To read G.A. Benton's blog visit ColumbusDiningGuide.com

Fisherman's Wharf

1611 Polaris Pkwy., Westerville

614-431-1411

Web: bestgreekusa.com

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: $$$ ($20-$30 per person)

Patio: Yes

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday, 12-10:30 p.m. Saturday, 12-9 p.m. Sunday