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Rockin’ the Grotto June 13, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.

Last night, Casey took me out to dinner for my upcoming birthday. We visited a fairly new restaurant to the area, the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto. It’s located inside the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Building in Tysons Corner. The atmosphere is sublime, very open and airy. Their use of blues and natural stone give the setting a certain tranquil feeling. I’ve been to Monterey Bay, CA, on several occasions, the first being my honeymoon. This restaurant certainly transports you to that locale.

The service at M.B. Fish Grotto is first class which can be hard to come by in the DC area. Our server, Gregory, was awesome. He was engaging and humorous without being overbearing. He was so good, in fact, when we return I will ask to be seated in his area again. After taking our drink orders, Casey went with the Blue Moon and I chose the MacMurray Ranch 2006 Pinot Noir, Gregory informed us of the specials.

For an appetizer, we opted for the sampler which interestingly enough is not listed on the menu. It was a combination of the Cajun Shrimp, Crab Cake, and an Ichiban Skewer (that’s in order of our least favorite to most favorite and giving the title “least favorite” certainly does not imply that it was not tasty). The Cajun Shrimp was pretty spicy (right up Casey’s alley) and served over orange marmalade which was a nice compliment. The Crab Cake wasn’t really a “cake” per say but a mound of lump crab meat with just a hint of filler served over a delicious remoulade. I wish all crab cakes earned their name by containing this much crab meat!! The Ichiban Skewer was a combination of marinated and chargrilled pieces of ahi tuna, salmon, and swordfish served over ancho chili mayonnaise. Each of the fish selections were cooked to perfection, but the tuna was phenomenal.

We were each served a house salad prior to our entrées. A very simple mixed green salad with shredded carrots, a couple of cherry tomatoes (which we passed on), and drizzled with a passion fruit vinaigrette. The best part of the salad, besides the sweet and tangy dressing, were the little wonton strips placed on top…the perfect addition of salty and crunchy! At Gregory’s suggestion, Casey chose the Yellowfin Tuna wrapped in bacon and served with a port wine sauce as his entrée. He chose his to be cooked rare, and the texture and flavor combination was out of this world! Something entirely different caught my eye. I opted for the Walu-Escolar served Forbidden style, pan-seared over “Forbidden” Black Rice with an Oyster Sauce glaze and a side of bok choy. The texture of the walu-escolar was very meaty and, again, cooked to perfection, but certainly the star of this plate for me was the forbidden black rice with oyster sauce glaze. It took a lot of will power on my end not to inhale the entire plate, but I had to save room for dessert!

Gregory informed us of the top three desserts on the menu. Casey and I chose two of those three. I enjoyed the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Mousse, the chef’s specialty. It was like a mousse sandwich, served between two praline cookies. These cookies are what I refer to as lace cookies, very thin and brittle. The bed of this dessert was a layer of raspberries, and the entire plate was then drenched table side in a chambord ganache. Casey sunk his spoon into the Banana Bread Pudding. They use a ‘house made brioche soaked in a banana custard, topped with brown sugar whipped cream and a caramelized banana. Served table side with Myer’s Rum sauce.’ Both desserts certainly tantalized the taste buds, but between the two, the Banana Bread Pudding was my favorite. The third dessert that Gregory recommended was the Steaming Chocolate Latte. I certainly want to give this a try on another visit. It’s basically a chocolate soufflé cake served with a dollop of Chantilly cream and chocolate steam. Chocolate steam?! Sounds magical.

Our visit to M.B. Fish Grotto was quite memorable, and we certainly look forward to having dinner there again.



1. Tiffany - June 14, 2008

Happy birthday, Susan– it sounds like this was a fantastic meal. Thanks for sharing a new restaurant with us.

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