The Italian Fishermen
The Italian Fisherman may be a new restaurant but it's back by an old restaurant name; John Weichman from the old Constantine's and All Seasons. If you're like me (relatively new to Mobile's restaurant scene), that doesn't mean much but for others that means quality food. I've heard his goal with this restaurant is to treat customers like they're eating at his dining room table and I have to say he was a successful.
First, I ordered the stuffed mushroom caps as an appetizer. It's big button mushrooms filled with a combination of crab, shrimp and crawfish. You can taste all of those flavors in the stuffing too; no scrimping here. The mushrooms was cooked just right too. It has a "meaty" consistency like you would find many vegetarian cuisine. I really enjoyed it.
As my entree, I ordered the veal marsala. I was a little disappointed by the portion size. For $15, I was expecting a little more. The two pieces of veal cutlets were not enough for the amount of pasta. There was a lot of marsala sauce on this dish. It drown out whatever natural flavor the veal had. It was not my favorite dish of the night; which is ironic since it was my own.
I enjoyed my choice of side with my meal though. I had the roasted acorn squash with a burnt caramel sauce. Oh my gosh, this is great. The acorn squash has this nutty flavor and the burnt caramel sauce looks like chocolate sauce but isn't. It's like a sweet potato with cinnamon and sugar but on crack! It's just that good.
|Scamp Almondine $16|
I really wanted to try the Scamp Almondine so I made my brother order so I taste. It's hailed as one of the old restaurants' specialty with the recipe dating back to 1934. It's a fillet of fish (usually from the grouper family) rolled in bread crumbs, broiled and then topped with a browned butter and lemon sauce and sliced almonds. I typically don't like fish but this was spectacular. The fish is mild and works well with the almonds and sauce. I squeezed a bit more lemon over the fish to brighten the flavor a bit. I understand why people were demanding this dish be brought back with the new restaurant.
I went with a rather big party this night and was able to sample a few other items. One was the Shrimp and Crabmeat La Louisiana. It's shrimp and blue crab in a wine and cheese sauce in a casserole type dish. I had a hefty spoonful and found a good bit of seafood in it. The sauce was a little grainy to me; perhaps all the cheese did not melt completely. On the whole, this was super rich and had plenty of seafood in it. If I had ordered it, I would have asked for some bread on the side to eat it with. It seem too rich to get by itself.
I also sampled the ravoli of the day; which changed as we were ordering it. The ravoli was stuffed with chicken and three cheeses and served with a crawfish cream sauce. You can tell the ravoli was homemade. It was a nice size and had plenty of filling. I thought it could have been served a little hotter though. By the time it got to the table, it was just warm and the crawfish in the sauce was more room temperature. The crawfish also had that watered down in the freezer taste to it. I wonder why they choose to use crawfish since it was not in season. I liked the ravoli itself though.
I usually don't get dessert but my friends decided to get me something since it happened to be my birthday. They picked out the baked caramel custard; which was exactly what I was eyeing! Anyways, it was rather disappointing. For a dessert, it wasn't very sweet at all. I've had boxed flan that was comparable and that's not saying much.
|Ribeye w/ burgandy, mushroom|
For those looking to try this place out, I would suggest sticking more to the seafood dishes. I had a group of 8 with me and the general consensus was the seafood was better than any of the meat dishes we ordered. I don't know if it was the size of the party but it took a really long time for our food to arrive. I think we ordered at 8:30 and it took about an hour to get our meals to our table. Otherwise, service was good.
The Italian Fisherman was a cozy place. It looked like a house from the outside and is kinda of set up like one on the inside. It doesn't feel very stable to me. As people come and go, you can feel the floor shake. The chairs are horrible. It's those black metal chairs that can be found in some old school cafeterias or banquet halls. I don't think there is any accommodations for small children and babies. I certainly didn't see any high chairs or boosters around.
To check out the Italian Fishermen's website click here. There aren't any prices listed but on my visit, the pasta dishes range from $11-$16; the steaks were $18-$30; and seafood dishes were $14-$20.