Bonefish Grill, Aventura

They do have interesting cocktails, but we opted for wine.
They do have interesting cocktails, but we opted for wine.

I normally try to avoid chain restaurants as often as possible, but when a postcard arrived in the mail offering me a free dinner for me and three guests at the not-quite-opened Bonefish Grill in Aventura, I could not resist. I went expecting a mediocre meal, and was pleasantly surprised. 

Bonefish Grill was open for a few nights to train their staff, including bar staff, kitchen and wait staff, and it seemed

Steak and crab cake all nestled together in one happy dish.
Steak and crab cake all nestled together in one happy dish.

like they were doing a good job. We were greeted by one of the corporate trainers, and encouraged to order a variety of things (so that the kitchen could get a feel for making different things, and having them ready at the same time).

The place was packed. I was not surprised because, (a) it is Aventura and (b) they were offering free food. Presumably, free good food. I saw many doggie bags. (Also not surprising.) We ordered a bottle of Lyric Pinot Noir, by Etude, and an order of the filet tip appetizer. They are also famous for the “bang bang shrimp” appetizer, but that will have to wait until another day.

We enjoyed both the house salad (complete with hearts of palm) and the Caesar, as well as the roasted red pepper soup. All were very good. Entrees included arctic char with mango salsa, tuna with herb pesto and a surf and turf of sorts, featuring a sirloin and crab cake. All were well prepared, and tasty. The crab cake was heavy on the crab and light on the filler, always a good sign, and the steak came with white truffle butter. I cannot think of a single thing that butter does not make better. Cakes? Yes. Savory food? Yep. Vegetables? Hell, yeah. See? butter makes it all better. And truffle butter? Yum.

Strawberry shortcake goodness.
Strawberry shortcake goodness.

Somehow, we managed to have dessert. It was either the fact that the except-for-the-wine free meal came with dessert, or the promise of fresh whipped cream on the strawberry shortcake. I can’t decide. Either way, I am glad we tried it. One of my big pet peeves (I know, we should all have such problems) is fake whipped cream. Whipped “topping” is something that should not exist in society. If you can’t take actual heavy cream, add a bit of sugar, and possibly a splash of brandy (is that just me?) and whip the hell out of it, then don’t bother adding a topping to the dessert. Just don’t. Fortunately, Bonefish has actual, delicious, worthwhile-diet-busting, whipped cream. The rest of the strawberry shortcake was good, too.

Bonefish Grill is located in the old Loehman’s plaza, at 18713 Biscayne Blvd, and is open for lunch and dinner every day.

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