BELLINGHAM - Big Fat Fish Co. seems to be going strong in its busy location on Fairhaven's main drag, with a focus on seafood that makes it a great spot for entertaining visitors from the landlocked states.
The bright décor and skylights create a cheery ambience, enlivened by a view of the bustling street - bustling by local standards, anyhow. The restaurant bustles too, even on a week night.
We started our meal with calamari, $8.95. This is an especially attractive presentation, on a triangular black plate with splashes of aioli and hot sriracha chile sauce. The squid morsels were nicely breaded and perfectly cooked to tenderness.
For one of our dinner choices, we abandoned our locavore leanings and impulsively chose the Australian lobster tail special, $29.95. It had been years since my last taste of lobster, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was simply prepared, firm and sweet, accompanied by traditional melted butter in a small candle-lit chafing dish. A handful of bright green (presumably local) green beans brightened the plate and the palate, but I'm not going to dignify the rice side dish by trying to describe it.
Our other dinner choice was seafood fettuccine, served in a generous portion for a reasonable $19.95. It was amply populated with shrimp and scallops in a rich and satisfying alfredo sauce.
The service was fast: The main courses popped out of the kitchen before we had finished the calamari.
The wine-by-the-glass selection is especially good, and one also has the option of large or small glasses.
Big Fat Fish Co. is a solid restaurant with a loyal local following. It has a good selection of seafood entrees clustered close to the $20 price point where splurge dining begins for many people: a $19.95 cioppino; $20.95 chicken Oscars with shrimp and scallops; $21.95 grilled jumbo shrimp; $20.95 grilled salmon with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Like many local restaurants courting a bigger-spending clientele, Big Fat Fish also offers some medium-priced meal options for those who prefer to stop short of extravagance, starting with a one-third-pound bacon burger at $12.95.
As in past visits, I enjoyed the experience but could not escape the feeling that diners might deserve a bit more attention to culinary details.
BIG FAT FISH CO.
Address: 1304 12th St., Fairhaven
Hours: Open for lunch at 11:30, dinner at 4 p.m. daily
Price range: $12-$23 for dinner entrees
Reach JOHN STARK at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2274.