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.

Portland, Maine: Eats & Drinks

Tonight I finally got around to uploading all my vacation pictures from Portland.  And then I got sad because I want to be back there.  Wah.  Anyways, here’s a recap of all the yummy food and drinks we had during our week away!

Portland Eats & Drinks

Before leaving for Maine, we reached out to everyone we knew for restaurant recommendations.  We got so many recommendations that we didn’t know what to do with all of them!  We tried our best to make it to all the big ones, but we’ll just have to go back to get to them all.

One of the places that almost everyone said we had to stop at for a casual meal was Duckfat, a small little sandwich place right down the street from our hotel.  When we arrived on Monday it was pretty chilly and cloudy out, so we figured this would be a great place to grab our first lunch of the week.  It was a small restaurant, with some parties even sharing tables, but it definitely made for a unique experience!  I ordered the duck confit panini and Tim ordered a pork belly panini.  Both were delicious!  We also split fries.  I normally do not like French fries, as potatoes don’t really do anything for me, but I figured I at least had to try the infamous fries in duck fat.  And I did like these.  We also had our first beers to kick off the week!  They came in mason jars, which I loved.


The Garden Cafe at the Regency
After walking around the downtown Portland shops for a few hours on Monday, we stumbled across a cute little garden restaurant called The Garden Cafe.  This restaurant/bar is associated with the Regency Hotel, but it was the perfect place to hang out and get a drink.  So pretty!  I ordered a glass of wine and finished that up with the most delicious strawberry vodka lemonade.  I highly recommend this place for a drink on a nice day.

The Garden Cafe

On Monday night before dinner, we stopped at Sonny’s for a pre-dinner drink.  My friend Cristin recommended this place for its cocktails, and I enjoyed a glass of their house made white sangria.  We wanted to go again another time during the week, but we unfortunately never made it back.

Sonny's Restaurant & Bar

The Grill Room
Dinner on Monday was at The Grill Room & Bar, which was recommended to us by the bartender at the Garden Cafe earlier in the day.  After taking a while deciding whether to each get one big entrée or to go for several smaller dishes, we decided to just a few  smaller options.  First up were the oyster shooters, then wood oven baked brie, then two scallops, and last up was lobster pizza.  We both agreed that the brie was the best of the bunch.  I also think my stomach regretted ordering so much bread the next day!

The Grill Room & Bar

Gorgeous Gelato
On Tuesday we spent the day at Scarborough Beach State Park, so of course gelato sounded perfect after a day in the sun.  My co-worker Mike recommended Gorgeous Gelato, and it did not disappoint.  This place is owned by a family right from Italy, so you just knew the gelato was going to be good.  I ordered raspberry.  Yum!

Gorgeous Gelato

Gilbert’s Chowder House
Tuesday night after the beach, all we wanted to eat was chowder!  We headed to Gilbert’s Chowder House, which we heard had some of the best chowder in the city.  We both got pretty big cups of seafood chowder, so that’s all we needed for dinner that night.  Went pretty nicely with a Shipyard Summer Ale.  I liked this place because it was casual and right on the water.  We ate on the back patio before heading next door to the Portland Lobster Company for some live music and more beers.

Gilbert's Chowder House

Spread was our last stop on Tuesday night.  We had passed it on Monday and thought it looked neat.  The restaurant itself seemed a little big and upscale, but their interesting drinks were enough to catch our attention.  My drink of choice was gin with muddled strawberries, bail, fresh lemon sour, and a balsamic vinegar reduction.  And Tim got some crazy blood orange tequila drink with jalapeno.


Federal Jacks
One of my favorite stops of the week was Federal Jacks Restaurant & Brewpub.  On Wednesday we took a day trip to Kennebunkport, and while we really wanted to check out Earth, we just weren’t appropriately dressed for something like that.  We loved “Feds” because it had the prettiest view, the most amazing beer EVERRRR (Shipyard Sunfish Wheat), and really good food.  I ordered the blackened haddock tacos after splitting mussels with Tim.  Apparently this place turns into a dance scene with a DJ, but we headed out before it got like that.

Federal Jack'sFederal Jack's

Peak’s Island House
On Thursday we took the ferry over to Peak’s Island, and after walking around we stopped at Peak’s Island House to eat.  This restaurant had a beautiful view of Portland from across Casco Bay, and I had a yummy lobster salad for lunch.  Aside from the lobster salad, I was surprised at the lack of seafood options on the menu.

Peaks Island House

Fore Street
Our dinner at Fore Street was by far our favorite meal of the week, which didn’t surprise me because six different people recommended it to us.  It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but don’t let that fool you!  We loved that the menu changes every single day there.  I ordered flounder with greens over a tomato and mushroom sauce.  Tim ordered roasted duck with risotto.  And we split a side of heirloom tomatoes.  Everything tasted so fresh!  This was a top-notch dining experience.

Fore Street

The North Point
Another week favorite of ours was the bar we went to after Fore Street on Thursday, The North Point.  Although we had really good cocktails at Sonny’s and at Spread as I mentioned above, this was my favorite cocktail place of the three.  It was smaller and cozier inside, and the staff were super friendly.  I think it still had an “upscale” feel, but without seeming “la dee da” like at Spread.  They had a pretty big wine list and ten beers on tap, but I went a little martini crazy this night.  Cucumber and peach martinis for me!

Cucumber Martini

The Front Room
When we woke Friday morning, it was raining and I had a headache from my martinis the night before, so our Greek yogurt wasn’t going to cut it for breakfast that day.  We met a couple earlier in the week who recommended The Front Room (sister restaurant to The Grill Room) for its brunch menu, so we decided to check it out.  We had to wait a long time, but that didn’t matter much to us.  I ordered three items off the sides menu – a fruit bowl, whole wheat toast, and 2 eggs over easy.  Tim’s breakfast was eggs benedict, but instead of over an English muffin it was over gnocchi, and instead of ham it had thick cut bacon.  His was more exciting than mine, but at the time, mine was exactly what I wanted.

The Front Room Restaurant & Bar

While I definitely don’t recommend DiMillo’s for food (we had eaten there a few years ago for my birthday and were not wowed), Dimillo’s is a Portland experience because it’s a big floating restaurant in the middle of the seaport.  On Friday we went there for a drink to enjoy the weather before lobstering.


Portland Lobster Company
Another really fun dinner we had was after our lobstering excursion on Friday evening.  After lobstering for a couple of hours in Casco Bay, you could buy the lobsters for $5 each and carry them over to the Portland Lobster Company where they would cook them (and offer with corn, salad, etc.) for just an extra $10.  We thought this was so fun and so cool!  We hung out at Portland Lobster Company a couple of times during the week because they had live music, fun local beers, and were also located right on the water.

Lobsters after lobstering Portland Lobster Company

Novare Res Bier Cafe
I keep saying every restaurant was our favorite, and bloggers saying everything is their favorite is a pet peeve of mine), but Novare Res was honestly another favorite!  So I’m saying it!  This place was somewhat hidden, but has a HUGE back patio with tons of outdoor seating, cornhole and outdoor darts games, and over 100 beers to choose from.  Beer lovers, a must visit if you are in Portland!

Novare Res

Billy’s Chowder House
For our last day, we headed to Wells Beach, so before heading home we were on the hunt for one last seafood meal.  We thought we picked a decent choice with Billy’s Chowder House, but unfortunately, this was my least favorite meal of the week.  The chowder was very good (thinner than most chowder I usually eat, but the chunks of clam in there were unreal), but my scallops were so disappointing.  Which is ironic since the menu told me they would not disappoint.  They were under-seasoned and my fresh veggie side was a bowl of super buttery corn.  Totally not the way I wanted to end our trip, but I guess one food disappointment isn’t too shabby.

Billy's Chowder House

Although it probably seems like going out to bars and restaurants was all we did, it’s not!  We had a ton of other fun day trip activities that I’ll recap soon, and we did come prepared with other food as well.  We had most of our breakfasts packed and several options for lunch on the days we didn’t go out to lunch.  We brought along cold cuts and bread for beach sandwiches, and I also brought along a big batch of my favorite cucumber salad.  Half the reason we love the Residence Inn so much is for the full kitchen in the room.  Other things we brought along ahead of time included almond flour chocolate chip cookies, almond flour banana muffins, carrots and hummus, Clif bars, cashews, peanuts, crackers, and lots of fruit – bananas, strawberries, plums, and nectarines.  Doing this helped us stay on track when we weren’t splurging, but it also saved us some money!

Packed Food

Unpictured in this post are Gritty’s Brewpub (Tim’s favorite!) and Sebago Brewing Company.  Gritty’s for beers and live music after Kennebunkport, and Sebago for late night food on our last night.  Whoops!

Have you been to any of the restaurants I mentioned above?  What Maine favorites did I miss that I’ll have to check out next time?

Hope everyone’s Sunday is winding down nicely!

Scenes from The Paint Bar

Paint Bar

The Paint Bar 03

The Paint Bar 01

The paint Bar 02

The Paint Bar 04

The Paint Bar 06

The Paint Bar 05

On Friday night I went with six of my gym friends to The Paint Bar in Newton for a little girls night out.  I had been there once before for Slesh‘s birthday night out a couple of years ago.  It was just as fun the second time around!  Also, we haven’t had a gym girls night in a while so this was long overdue and much needed.  This time I knew we could bring in our own snacks, so Liz brought a plate of cheese and crackers and I baked some flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for the girls. 

I know I’ve blogged about The Paint Bar before, but there really is a wonderful energy about this place.  The room is always buzzing and the staff members are very helpful, energetic, and funny.  The jokes about leaving your Type A personality behind never get old, to me anyways.  In fact, they actually were funnier this time around because I am so much more comfortable in my own skin now than I was a couple of years ago, and I embrace my Type A personality.  It’s a lot less stressful than trying to be someone I’m not. 

Anyways, we painted “Moonlit Boston,” and although I had some issues painting my moon at the beginning (it looked more like a cone or an egg than a moon!), I am pleased with the way my painting turned out.  If you are looking for something different to do, I highly recommend The Paint Bar.  It’s perfect for unwinding with a glass (or two) of wine, catching up with friends, and relaxing.  It really is a great stress reliever!  I would go back again and again.

Have you ever been to The Paint Bar (or somewhere similar?)

Fun night ladies!  When’s the next one?