Flying Fish

"Fishing" for Burgers, Finding Bliss

This past weekend, I finally got around to paying an “official” visit to the Flying Fish. Actually, it was two visits on the same day that was motivated by something that I wanted to do for a long time. Inspired by an experience at a wing joint several years ago, I’ve began a quest to find good cheeseburgers in the unlikeliest places. However, I’m a terrible procrastinator when it comes to pursuing goals. Fortunately, circumstances facilitated the dual visit to the seafood eatery that is the sister restaurant of the Flying Saucer. Although I will eventually get around to reviewing the aforementioned wing joint (Best Wings of Memphis), I have no regrets about starting my burger quest with the Flying Fish.
Before I talk about the cheeseburger, I want to focus on the seafood. For dinner, I had the grilled catfish with beans & rice, squash and zucchini. When I ordered it, I asked about the Veracruz sauce that the restaurant featured on its “grilled” menu. Based on its description, I wisely chose to have it added to my catfish. After placing my order, I received a vibrating "coaster" and sought out a table to sit at.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Flying Fish, it is a self-service restaurant that operates in a manner similar to barbecue joints like Cozy Corner. That said, I thought it was interesting to see a “tips” jar at the order counter. I didn’t mind, because I believed that I was in for a great meal.
Eventually my dinner arrived. I expected a small amount of food but what I got was enormous. The “sides” comprised most of my plate and was out of proportion with the entrée. I didn’t mind that at all, for everything was delicious. The catfish, covered with Veracruz sauce, was splendid. The sauce, consisting of white wine, onions and a mix of peppers (including jalapeños), added mild spiciness with a tinge of sweetness to the perfectly grilled filet.

The sauce “spilled” over into the veggies, which turned out great. Even without the sauce, the beans and rice were marvelous. I’m not either a kidney or pinto bean fan, but the beer-doused legumes appealed to my inner kid. With all due respect to my Mom, I’m hard pressed in remembering from my childhood beans that tasted as good as what I had at the Flying Fish. Combined with the “dirty” rice and scallions (aka "green onions"), the Borracho (Spanish for "drunk") bean mix was excellent. With the Veracruz sauce, the beans and rice were outstanding.
The grilled squash and zucchini were great as well. They were “al dente" in terms of firmness and very savory. Like the beans & rice, the squash and zucchini complemented the catfish extremely well.
During the course of my meal, I finished eating the catfish with a lot of vegetables left. Normally that would be a bad thing, but the veggies were good by themselves. If the Flying Fish decides to develop a vegetarian menu featuring entrées like portabella mushrooms and tofu, I can see the restaurant having great success with it. Although I’m mostly a carnivore, this would really interest me. Far be it for me to offer advice, but I hope the restaurant looks in to this.

SIDE NOTE: Speaking of looking into things, the Flying Saucer should research the feasibility of carrying Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). Given that its sister restaurant carries it, I can’t see the draught emporium having a hard time acquiring it. I’m guessing that both establishments use the same beer distributor (and possibly the same account). PBR seems to be working out at other Flying Saucers, so it doesn't make sense for the restaurant chain to deprive the Memphis locations of it. I believe it could be a nice alternative to a bad (as in Abita’s Turbo Dog) “Fire Sale” special. The way I see it, if it’s good enough for a classy restaurant like the Majestic Grille, then it should pass muster with the Saucer brass.

sub-SIDE NOTE: I want to congratulate the Majestic Grille's Patrick and Deni Reilly on the birth of their first child, Seamus. Born recently, he has the best looks of both of his parents. I'm happy for them.

Overall, the dinner at the Flying Fish was excellent. It far exceeded my expectations, which doesn’t mean that I was anticipating a bad meal. As for the original reason for reviewing the Flying Fish, I will say this: stick with seafood. The cheeseburger wasn’t anything special. For six dollars, the “Fish” provides a mediocre mustard-laden ¼ lb. patty cheeseburger and lightly seasoned fries. After the first bite, I feel that most kids will scream “I want McDonald’s” (or nearby Kooky Canuck). So with my primary objective culminating in lackluster fashion, I can take consolation in knowing where to get great seafood at a reasonable price. As for my unique burger quest, my next review of this type should yield better results. Stay tuned.


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