The experience

After my plans to eat seafood in Plano were foiled several times, I finally made good and opted to go to Fishmonger’s thru hell or high water.  Luckily there would be neither this evening.  It was a nice cool brisk early fall evening.  Mina had passed her illness (see here, here and here) onto Lala, so I was out running errands with Benji since we were now without babysitter and Dr. Mom was working overnight once more. So after stopping by to retrieve the forgotten camera, we were off, with Dusty, to eat some seafood.

Fishmonger's

We pulled up and got everyone inside, the waiter immediately took our drink order and I placed an order for some Coconut Shrimp to munch on.  Mina busied herself with her crayons and kid’s menu.  She was very excited about the color by number picture once Dusty helped her decide which colors to use.  The waiter returned with the drinks and we placed our orders.  Dusty went for his usual seafood choice of Salmon.  I took the waiter’s advice and went for the Crawfish Etouffee.  I suggested to Mina that she get the Popcorn Shrimp but she had other ideas.  I rattled off the choices and she went for Fried Catfish.  That one came as a surprise.

Busy Mina

I was wondering whether I should order anything for Benji.  The waiter noted he had a young one and he couldn’t finish the kids meal.  Well that answers that.  Mina and Benji would be sharing.  Mina was still hard a work coloring.  Meanwhile, Benji was hard at work screaming about something.  The basket of crackers didn’t do the trick the evening.  Could be the fact that he didn’t nap today.  Our salads arrived and that didn’t help.  Benji kept asking for something.  We tried a piece of each item from our respective salads (I had caesar; Dusty had garden).  No good.  So, thinking on my feet, I used Benji’s menu and acted like the big fish on the front was swimming.  Benji laughed.  I had to turn my attention to Mina so Dusty attempted to take over.  Benji wasn’t pleased.  So we gave him the menu and now he made it swim.  Quite cute.

The fish menu is swimming

Mina had finished he color by number and had moved on to the fish logo when our food arrived.  Seems the waiter had forgotten the coconut shrimp.  Oh well.  I told him not to bother.  He apologized profusely. It turned out to be a good thing.  After gorging on a late lunch at Stephen Pyles, I was already not THAT hungry and my etouffee portion was massive.  Probably at least 50% bigger then Razzoo’s.  Dusty’s salmon fillet was quite large as well.  Benji was ready to dig in.  He had to share off Mina’s plate temporarily as I had forgotten to ask for an extra plate in advance.  He loves sharing with Mina when it comes to dinner.  He wasn’t pleased when I moved the food to his plate.  He was in a foul mood for the remainder of dinner; shoveling food in his mouth in between his whining.

Mina's Artwork

Everyone was done eating long before Mina.  Her first couple bites she said it was good.  Then I think the fish flavor got to her.  I didn’t find it fishy and I’m not a real catfish fan.  I just told her to pile on more ketchup.  I kept Benji entertained by making fish faces back and forth while we waited for Mina.  A few minutes later, Mina was looking quite pitiful.  Seeing as she had just recovered from stomach flu, I had mercy and let her finish of the just the piece she had in her hand.  We paid up and headed on our way.

Mina's not happy

Mina's done. Note Benji trying to stuff a cracker in her mouth.

The food

Crawfish EtouffeeGrilled SalmonFried CatfishGrilled veggiesFishmonger’s has some reasonably priced and very fresh seafood for a landlocked town like Plano.  My crawfish etouffee was quite tasty.  I prefer my roux a bit darker than they do it here but it was still good and loaded with a ton of crawfish.  It comes with a salad or coleslaw.  Dusty and I went for the salads. Dusty said his garden salad as average at best.  My caesar was pretty good though.  So it seems worth the extra dollar.  You can also go for the greek salad for a bit extra.  Dusty said his fish was good but it was straight salmon with lemon wedges.  You can get it blackened if you prefer something with a bit more oomph.  We both went for grilled veggies instead of fries.  The vegetables come as a kabob and were cooked quite well.  The squash was not too soggy and the mushrooms we sufficiently soft.  Mina’s catfish was really very good even if she didn’t think so.  Very mild flavor, very tender, and the cornmeal breading was nicely seasoned.  They offer varying all-you-can specials Sunday through Thursday for $11.99 or $16.99 depending on the night.

The service

The waiter tonight was attentive and really quick with his service.  We were not wanting for beverage refills and he was helpful with the menu and the kids.  My only complaint for the evening was the forgotten appetizer.  The meal came out quickly enough and the portions were large enough that it was not missed. I won’t subtract much.  He was above average in all other aspects this evening.

The kids

Fishmonger’s has crayons and a kids menu the kids can draw on.  Mina was pleased with the offering.  It kept her busy all evening.  She even felt the need to finish up coloring the logo before we left. They offer popcorn shrimp, fried catfish, corndog or chicken strips for $5.  It comes with fries and the portion are appropriately sized for probably anyone 12 and under.  There were quite a few families here this evening and the atmosphere is very laid back.  The very open layout of the restaurant makes screaming kids less of a problem.  We heard a faint scream from the other side of the restaurant and so did Benji.  He started to mimic the baby.  Luckily, no one cared and his voice didn’t carry.

The rest

This place has been a Plano staple for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been going here with my parents since I was a kid.  I’ve never been the biggest seafood guy but I always found something I could eat here.  I used to eat only the fried shrimp.  I graduated to blackened shrimp before my palate matured enough for me to take on actual fish.  Still can’t stand salmon.  Sometimes it seems I am the only one.  This is your true neighborhood restaurant.  This place is a solid 3 stars.  A good place if you are in the mood for seafood in Plano though you wouldn’t travel miles to get here.  Not sure you could find 5 star seafood restaurant anywhere in North Texas where you can take the kids.  Chime in if you know the place.  The Shrimp Penne with Leek Cream Sauce at Stephen Pyles I had for lunch was 5 star seafood for certain, but that doesn’t count as a seafood restaurant. One last note. The after dinner mints up front get zero stars. Not quite sure what it was supposed to be but I was expecting wintergreen and instead got what tasted like sunscreen.  Couldn’t spit that out fast enough. Dusty didn’t think to warn me as he had done the same moments before I popped it in my mouth.

Total Cost: $49.07

And since their website sucks here’s what Guidelive said (pretty much mirrors what I said).

Mina's Artwork Part 2

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