Restaurant Review: Bonefish Grill in Burlington

Last month I had the opportunity to try a new local restaurant, Bonefish Grill. This nationwide franchise opened its doors in mid-November to its first Massachusetts site at the Shops at Wayside Commons in Burlington, MA.

Bonefish Grill

When I received the invitation from Bonefish to attend a private dinner for me and one guest, I was excited because the invite was for the evening of 11/14. This was the day of our health fair at work, and I knew that I would be craving a dinner out with Tim where we could relax, celebrate with some wine, and recap the day’s events.

I will admit that I felt a little hesitant about actually liking a restaurant that has locations in 34 states. Tim and I are kind of food snobs, and typically we prefer restaurants that are unique to only one or a few locations as opposed to something that seems “chain” like. However, the minute I walked into the door of Bonefish Grill, I felt better about it. We were greeted with a warm welcome and seated in a spacious dining room with a big city bar feel.

My first priority was a celebratory drink for achieving such a great turnout at our health fair. I ordered a glass of the Hess “Allomi” Cabernet Sauvignon. This totally hit the spot.

Bonefish Grill

Next we took a look at the appetizer offerings. We were torn between a few different items, but the imperial dip special won us over. I mean, how could we turn down a dip with all our favorite seafood items in it?

Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill Imperial Dip

Before ordering our meals, we asked our waiter to tell us a bit more about the fish on the menu. Bonefish Grill is known for its market fresh fish and wood grilled specialties, but we wanted to know how the various locations all over the country ensure consistency with one other while maintaining freshness as well. We learned that only the grouper, salmon, and tuna are the same on every Bonefish menu, and even then they may differentiate a bit depending on the part of the country. The rest of the fish is hand-picked and grilled by a manager at each location. This prevents the need to have a giant frozen warehouse of frozen food like most other franchise restaurants.

Bonefish Grill

After hearing that, we both decided to order seafood meals. I got the sea bass with mango salsa, and Tim opted for the salmon special topped with spinach, bacon, and gorgonzola cheese. We also both got spaghetti squash for our sides.

Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill

Our food was cooked perfectly, and I definitely savored every bite that I ate. We also got to try a second side dish aside from our spaghetti squash, so we decided to order the pumpkin ravioli off the seasonal menu options. I guess it was kind of weird to order pumpkin ravioli along with my sea bass, but because fall was/is coming to an end, I just had to try it. It was calling my name, okay?

Bonefish Grill

I wasn’t able to finish all that food (it was a ton!), and I didn’t have a speck of room left in me for dessert, but the folks at Bonefish insisted we take something home. This flourless macadamia nut brownie was the perfect treat after my long fitness conference at Mania that same weekend.

Bonefish Grill

Everything we ate was excellent, but I would say that what made our experience top-notch was our server. He was friendly, funny, attentive, and spot on with his recommendations throughout the night. Tim and I also enjoyed hearing about how Bonefish Grill was started (in St. Petersburg, Florida) and the story behind the unique fish themed artwork on the walls (it originated from a homeless man!). The art is another thing that differentiates between locations.

Bonefish Grill

Our server was one of the corporate trainers and has likely moved on from Burlington, but he truly exceeded our expectations as a server. At work when I facilitate some of our new hire superior service trainings, I always encourage staff to think about an experience that really stands out in their mind as being great as opposed to just average or good. Doing this helps our newbies draw a parallel to the type of service our customers at work expect from them, and it gets them thinking how they can start applying some of their customer service skills. After my dinner experience at Bonefish Grill, I think I know what my new personal example is going to be from now on.

Readers, let’s chat. Have you ever eaten at a Bonefish Grill before?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, but Tim and I were both provided with free meals in exchange for writing this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Nutrition Upgrade: Week 2

Happy Friday and first of November! Before we head into the weekend, I wanted to share my eats from last week and some tidbits from Week 2 of the My Nutrition Upgrade program.

I’ll share my food first!

Lunch on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday last week was kale salad with pears, grilled chicken, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and goat cheese

Kale Chicken Pear Salad

And toward the end of the week we ate lemon farro chicken.

Lemon Chicken Farro Salad

Dinner on Sunday night was stuffed eggplant because we had a couple to use up from our farm share. We also had small salads on the side.

Stuffed Eggplant

On Monday and Tuesday I had soup. I’m calling this my “get rid of those greens” soup, because I had so many green veggies that were going to go bad and I pretty much just threw them all together to make this meal.

Get Rid of Those Greens Soup

For dinner on Wednesday and Thursday we ate spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and tomato sauce.

Spaghetti Squash

Finally, dinner on Friday was splurge-worthy. I met up with Katrina and Slesh downtown at Stoddard’s (yes, this was my third time being there in the past 2 months). We ordered some CARBS with fondue for an appetizer, and then I ordered the goat cheese salad and the pork belly appetizer which came with cannellini beans, truffle-bean purée, and chive oil. Everything was delicious, but along with two gin and cucumber drinks I’m sure the calories added right up!

My Nutrition Upgrade

Speaking of drinks, one of the questions posed in my Google group for My Nutrition Upgrade last week was about alcohol and the best way to incorporate it into an otherwise healthy diet. Our nutrition coach informed us that most wines have about 100 calories per 5 ounces, so it’s important to pay attention to the size glass you are getting if you are paying attention to calories when imbibing.

Wine and Cheese

She also broke down the calorie counts and grams of carbohydrates for different types of beers:

Beer     Per 12-oz Serving
“Light” Beer     108 calories, 6 g carbs
Draft Beer     144 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Lager     168 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Ale     216 calories, 13.2 g carbs

Interesting huh?  She also recommended a couple of tips such as alternating a glass of water/seltzer in between ordering alcoholic beverages (something I should probably do more when I’m out!) and to steer clear of mixers, syrups, and sodas (something I already do).  Just thought you guys might be interested in that info!

Aside from that, the “upgrades” of the week were to shop smart and to clean out hidden sugars. I already knew most of the shop smart tips such as sticking to the perimeter of the store when you shop, being wary of packaging, and reading labels for things with fewer ingredients that are easy to pronounce. One new tip I learned though was to make sure to look both high and low on the shelves, because some companies pay grocery stores what’s called a “slotting fee” to house their products on the middle shelves at eye level. And a lot of these foods tend to be the processed and not so good for you items. Tricky!

grocery shopping 2

The hidden sugar lesson was my favorite so far. I learned that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day when the recommended amount of added sugar should not exceed 5 teaspoons. That’s CRAZY and can add up to an extra 350 calories per day from added sugars alone. The most helpful tip I learned to help decrease the amount of added sugar in my diet actually pertains to label reading. There is an equation called The Altman Rule where you add the grams of protein in a product plus the grams of fiber. If that amount is greater than the grams of sugar, it’s generally okay. If it’s less, it’s not. I know I will start being more mindful of this at the grocery store, and take it into consideration with some of the products I tend to purchase.

I want to hear from you – what meals did you guys enjoy last week? What’s your go to strategy for enjoying adult beverages while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Any comments about smart grocery shopping, hidden sugars, and your strategies for either?

Have a great weekend everyone! Tonight I’m lying low, but tomorrow I’m hosting a fall fest for my gym crew. Can’t wait!

Disclaimer / Disclosure:  I was not paid to write this post, but I was provided a free registration in the program in exchange for writing a review and sharing my experiences with my readers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Sunday at SOWA Open Market

One of the things on my summer bucket list has been to check out the SOWA Open Market in the South End.  The market includes three main sections: a food truck market with trucks galore, a farmer’s market with tons of fresh produce and foodie items, and a vendor’s market with local folks selling their crafts, jewelry, and more.  Since it was my turn to plan a date day for Tim and I, I decided it was time for us to go.  Tim is seriously OBSESSED with food trucks so I knew he would love it.  This Sunday we hopped on the red line and headed over to the Broadway area to check it out!

SoWa Sundays

On our train ride there we talked about wanting to try as many food trucks as possible.  We came up with a strategy so we wouldn’t get too full too soon.  We decided our plan of attack would be as follows:

  • Get something small to start at the food trucks
  • Then check out the farmer’s market
  • Then go back to the food trucks for something else
  • Then check out the vintage market
  • Then go back to the food trucks for dessert

Totally genius, if I do say so myself.  You can’t stuff up from the get go!  Planned digestion time is the key.

Anyways, like I said, the food trucks were up first.

SoWa Open Market

After browsing through all the trucks (and reading every single menu), we decided to get fish tacos from the Baja Taco Truck first.  We were definitely impressed with how fresh the pico de gallo was and happy with our first food truck choice.

SOWA Open Market After we finished our tacos, we browsed through the farmer’s market.  There were so many things to look at, from fresh produce to unique foodie items.

SOWA Farmer's Market

It was really hard not to buy everything in sight, but we did decide to stock up on some plums and nectarines for the week.  We tried a new kind of plum too, mango tango!  We also decided to buy the funky looking squash you can see in the pictures.  We learned that it’s called pattypan squash, but I decided to call it alien squash instead.  How could we NOT buy some for a fun dinner this week?

SOWA Farmer's Market

Again, it was really hard to not buy everything in sight, but we limited ourselves to two other foodie purchases.  Grilled peach and basil ravioli pasta from Valicenti Organico, and some spicy (wasn’t too spicy for me!) summer mango chutney from a company called Wozz.  Can’t wait to enjoy both of these!

SOWA Farmer's Market

After the farmer’s market, we went back to the food trucks!  For our second round, Tim opted for the caprese sandwich from The Dining Car, and I got the magical kale salad (kale with a poached egg) from the Mei Mei Street Kitchen.

The Dining Car

Mei Mei Street Kitchen

Totally normal to eat our lunch on the ground, right?!

Next up were all the vendors.  We had fun strolling through, but we didn’t buy anything.

Sowa Vintage Market

Finally, we finished our time at SOWA back at the food trucks for dessert.  Originally I wanted a huge ice cream sandwich (they have trucks now where you can pick your cookie flavor AND ice cream flavor), but I was hot and thirsty so I ended up getting lemon sorbet instead.

Lemon sorbet at SOWA

Tim, however, still went with his original ice cream sandwich craving from The Cookie Monstah truck.  M&M cookies with peanut butter chocolate chunk ice cream in the middle.  I swear he’s not a five-year old?

cookie monstah truck

At this point, we were full and had seen everything so we headed out.  Little did I know that my friend Bridget and my friend Mary were both there at the very same time we were!  So sad.  We took the red line back to Harvard and once we realized our bus wasn’t coming for a bit, we decided that we could make room for roof deck drinks.

Roofdeck Daedalus

A mojito for Tim, and red sangria for me!  We enjoyed these on the roof deck of Daedalus, a hidden gem in Harvard Square.

daedalus

It was a perfect Sunday!  SOWA is open every Sunday from 10-4 starting in May and ending in October, which means you can still get a trip in this fall!  I just might even go again.

Local readers, have you ever been to SOWA before?  Anyone else have something like this where you live?

Happy Friday, friends!