It would be an understatement to say The Fish Sushi & Grill is swimming in crowded waters. Located on West 7th Street, smack dab between two of Fort Worths more popular sushi spots, you could even venture that The Fish (previously known as MKs Sushi) is trying to stay afloat in the increasingly competitive near-westside dining scene.
Hence the name change, a couple of months back, plus a switch in management and menu. Owner MK Lee still reigns over this artfully decorated dining room, her third outpost since 2005, after launching in Bedford and then north Fort Worth, but the focus now is more on traditional seafood.
Sure, youll still find rolls and sashimi on the menu here, but a good portion is devoted to entrees like a pan-fried seafood combo ($26) and the Nobu dish that inspired a million knockoffs black cod with miso sauce ($16).
In theory, this is a good idea. In execution, we had a mixed-results kind of meal. Things started pleasantly enough: Happy hour starts at 4:30 and goes til 7 p.m., and we arrived shortly before the cut-off, glad to enjoy the discounted appetizers (as well as sushi rolls and salads) and drinks.
The tempura fried veggies ($5) were a mound of onion rings, eggplant and broccoli that took a quick dip in the fryer; they could have been crispier and needed more salt. The Deep-Fried Monkey ($5.50) mushrooms filled with crab and cream cheese, encased in batter were delectable nuggets: sweet, creamy, and, if you took it upon yourself to dip them into soy sauce, nicely balanced in flavor.
Not so much for the BBQ white tuna appetizer ($9), thinly splayed baked tuna, at odds with cold avocado slices and undercooked asparagus pieces.
However, the main, seafood-oriented entrees were successful. Luxury shrimp ($12.95) was just that: tempura fried shrimp topped with crab meat, cream cheese and avocado. The mashup proved an intoxicating mix of flavors, even though I wished for a few more pieces of the crunchy shrimp.
The dynamic duo ($20) consisted of four thinly sliced pieces of New York strip, served alongside grilled veggies on a skewer and fried rice. The steak was cooked a smidgen past medium-rare but had good flavor. The veggies were just fine, but the fried rice was stand-out, with flecks of egg and a good chew.
On this relatively early weeknight, you could really appreciate the dining rooms decor. Neon touches, bright paint and snazzy pendant lights distinguish the space from your typical dimly lit sushi restaurant. Similarly, the service was a highlight accommodating and polished. When a young tyke at the table requested the O.J. Sweet Chicken ($11.95), the staff gladly made a kids-size plate for a fraction of the cost $4.95 but it was still quite generous in portion. (A variation on a typical orange chicken dish, it was also very good with a crunchy exterior.) In trendy West 7th, its become a rarity to find such child-friendly pricing.
All of which is to say: The Fish is swimming in a big ol sea of restaurants in Fort Worth, hoping youll take notice. For its happy hour menu and charming atmosphere alone, its worth wading in.