1245 Olentangy River Rd.
Columbus, OH 43212
While it was formed in 1998, the Columbus Fish Market was the start of something special in more ways than one. It’s the predecessor of what has since become the Mitchell’s Fish Market, a chain with locations across the Midwest with a variety of ever-changing fresh seafood options and cuts, which you can view at the open kitchen. And, its founder, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, took a risk and went on to pioneer many, many more kinds of seafood concepts before selling it off and today the restaurant chain is owned by Landry’s Inc. But, the idea endures to be sure.
Seafood of course relies on freshness to really work, and in the Midwest the need is especially acute.
- Oysters: A raw bar staple, come one one-off or by the half-dozen. I like the simplicity of the order – it’s nice to know the kind of options, but people aren’t always experts on that – with meaty and thick consistency.
- Shrimp scampi: Lighter on the pasta and heavier on the shrimp, this one is an excuse to go liberally with the grilled and fried shrimp. Just fantastic
- Ahi Tuna: Served in a rice bowl with carrots, avocado and a nice umami sauce, this one is much more popularly known as a poke salad, and you’ll probably really find a lot of simplicity in the dish. But it’s still benefiting from the natural flavors of all the ingredients without feeling too heavy.
- Grilled Mahi Mahi: This fish is best on its own and presented simply. Grilled like this in oil, it needs only a bit of a dusting of some pepper and cajun spices for the sturdy cut of fish to shine.
- Crispy Shrimp + Shishitos: These fried shrimp pop with the spices! Served with roasted peppers and a piquillo pepper coulis. A bed of creamy polenta moderates that surprising heat.
Like many good seafood restaurants, this one has a consistent menu, but you always want to know what fish has come in most recently. Anthony Bourdain trained people to ask that, but I’ve had great meals on a Monday night as sure as a holiday night here. The people are pretty quick to manage a table and get food and drinks quickly, and the price points are reasonable for a seafood restaurant of this caliber. It’s a high-middle experience made for dates and formal occasions.
The recent rash of new restaurant concepts in modern and urban flavors often means people think to go towntown or to the cool neighborhoods for a good cut of fish. Inland, there’s often a stigma that the chains are going to short-change you on the freshness too. But I’ve found this shop has kept the quality that launched it, and it’s deserving of a look on those merits.
- Plenty of specials online and a membership option if you’re a regular.
- The raw bar brings a lot of great options, definitely best if you like oysters.
- Don’t overlook the cocktails.