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The reinvented F.I.S.H. Restaurant + Bar delivers a comfort food menu that reels in the crowds

It’s a special treat when a restaurant’s name perfectly reflects the menu, like one of Stamford’s newest eateries, F.I.S.H. Restaurant + Bar, does. Mecca for fish lovers?  You bet.

If only it were on the water. But its Bedford Street restaurant row location, complete with outdoor seating, makes for a perfect perch for people watching any day of the week. It’s right next door to its sibling, Quattro Pazzi, and although their menus differ, in addition to having the same parents, they share other similarities: terrific food, huge portions and a personable staff.

We discovered F.I.S.H. during happy hour, and ordered from the hard-to-resist raw bar, which includes anything from Blue Point oysters and littleneck clams to a chilled shellfish platter with a half lobster. Many could make this part of dinner, so we did, and asked for the menus.

Next was the Lobster & Crawfish Chowder. The creamy broth was excellent; although one opined it could be a tad thicker, the huge chunks of lobster and crawfish made him a convert, evidenced by his mopping up any chowder remnants with the provided crusty bread. Which brings us to the Red Curry P.E.I. Mussels. The mussels were as sweet as could be, and the creamy, lemongrass and coconut broth had us reaching for even more bread. Although a bit firey, the flavor came first, followed by the bite, exactly how your palate should react to perfectly spiced food.

Hard to resist were the fish tacos, and the Mini Baja Fish Tacos did not disappoint. The tempura batter makes them lighter than usual, and the mango salsa and jalapeños gave them just the right kick. There are three tacos to a platter, so parties of four should prepare for battle.

We also give a nod to the Tuna Carpaccio Flat Bread, a huge thin-crust pizza with shaved tuna, wasabi, mascarpone and scallions. This too could be a full dinner with one of the menu’s interesting salads. Of these, our favorite was the Shaved Brussels Sprouts, lightly tossed with grana padana, hazelnuts and truffle vinaigrette. Add grilled shrimp and you've got yourself a tasty lunch.

Now for the menu’s star: the “Naked Fish” section. Prepare to get lost! You can have your fish—scallops, cod, flounder, tuna, salmon, halibut­—pan seared, grilled or blackened. Next, choose the sauce: capers and lemon, scampi, tomato and olives or Red Coconut Curry. For an extra $5, you can choose one of the house specialties, Crawfish and Chive Beurre Blanc or Lump Crabmeat and Shrimp Béarnaise. But honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Our favorite of the night was the F.I.S.H. & Chips, with two huge pieces of tempura-batter cod. Even the biggest eater at the table said he would have been sated with one piece, although he managed to eat both. It came wonderfully presented with neatly stacked thick-cut steak fries. Made us think: You can’t eat presentation, but when it’s done this well, it makes the whole dining experience that much more enjoyable.

We managed to make room for one dessert to share, Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. Its gooey fudgy center, accompanying scoop of ice cream, big dollop of whipped cream and fresh raspberries elevated it to something extraordinary. It was a sweet ending that perfectly capped a memorable meal. The consensus? We will definitely be back.

F.I.S.H. Restaurant + Bar
245 Bedford Street

Cuisine: Seafood
Mon–Thu: 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri–Sat: 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun: 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m.

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