After a few years operating as a popular food cart, Smee’s Alaskan Fish Bar & Marketplace settled down and set-up shop inside the Meadowood Mall food court. Some friends and I couldn’t wait to check it out.
We started with a 12-ounce cup of clam chowder ($5). It had good consistency and decent flavors of clam and bacon. It lacked a bit in seasoning, but this was easily corrected with salt and pepper. A fish taco ($4.99) filled with chunks of battered cod, fresh cilantro and fresh mango salsa was better.
Next, we dug into a big basket of fish and chips ($12)—four large pieces of fish set atop a ton of fries—with lemon, tartar sauce and coleslaw on the side. The fries were thin, crispy and pretty basic. But the battered wild Alaskan cod might be the best I’ve ever had. The batter held its crunch quite well, and the fish was moist and satisfyingly flaky when pulled apart. The housemade tartar was excellent, but the fresh slaw suffered from the same lack of seasoning as the chowder.
A wild Alaskan sockeye salmon filet ($15) was grilled with fresh basil, cilantro, ginger, garlic and lime juice and served over a bed of steamed rice. The fish and rice were ringed by a salad of baby spinach, butter lettuce, purple onion, grape tomato and mandarin orange, with a sprig of grapes and lemon wedges on the side. The herb blend was a delicious accent for a great piece of fish, and the salad provided a refreshing touch. A very similar dish of shrimp scampi over rice ($13) was served with the same salad of fruit and greens, a drizzle of zesty sesame ginger vinaigrette and a couple of baguette rounds on the side ($13). The shrimp was flavorful and not too heavy on the butter.
Normally, the only thing I’d want on a sea scallop is just a bit of buttered sear and maybe a squirt of lemon. While that’s still my favorite way to enjoy my favorite mollusc, Smee’s scallop sliders ($15) were well worth trying. Three Hawaiian rolls were laid open, the tops layered with lettuce, pickle, tomato and purple onion. On the bottom of each bun was a lightly seared half dollar of shellfish. A pile of fries came on the side. As I put the two halves of a slider together, I noticed there was a fair amount of sriracha mayonnaise present, too. This single addition is what pulled the whole thing together—the spiciness cutting the sweetness of the roll with veggies adding crunch and a fresh finish.
There are some other fish and shrimp items on the menu, but near the end I spied something completely unexpected—cheeseburgers. There’s a quarter-pound burger for kids and a half-pound version for bigger bellies, but my gaze locked on to a promising-looking bison burger with fries ($14). I’m guessing the bovine offerings are intended as an alternative for non-fish lovers, but I was happy to find the burger was prepared with the same attention to detail as the seafood. It was cooked to order—the well-seasoned lean meat completely covered in melted cheddar cheese, and the bun laid open with the same accoutrements as the sliders. Man, that was a tasty burger. I’d definitely return for the fish, but I might also be tempted again by that beautiful bison.