Here’s a Catch….Tidewater

Tidewater Grill – Town Center Mall, Charleston, WV

Susan says:

Today is Mother’s Day and I am a mother. Therefore I felt like I deserved all sorts of special attention today. Ron took his mom out to lunch and to the Capitol Market to peruse the potted plants and I, luckily, got in on that whole deal. We tried Fazio’s, rightly his first choice. As I expected, there were no openings as all the other sons/wannabe-step-fathers had made a reservation. So then we drove around for a bit, passing Blossom Deli which was closed. Ron decided on Tidewater. My little girls let out a joyful squeal – we went there most recently for my birthday and they both enjoyed the experience immensely.

It was a rainy day so parking in the garage and keeping dry was a plus. We arrived at around 4:00 so the crowds had died down a bit and we were seated immediately. My chair was kind of sticking out in the aisle and it got bumped by several passersby. it didn’t bother me too much except that I felt like I was in the way.

Our server, Chris, was friendly and polite and gave us plenty of attention even though it was a very busy day for the restaurant. Our table ordered coconut shrimp as an appetizer, 2 kids meals of buttered pasta, a fish sandwich, fried catfish and I had the Chicken Nicole. The bread, as always, was hot and delicious. Even though carbs are a no-no for me, I had a few bites of the crispy and chewy rolls covered in poppy seeds with plenty of real butter. A suggestion for the coconut shrimp – it is delicious and the pineapple-orange sauce it is served with is great with a hint of heat. However, it would be SO MUCH better if the sauce was heated before serving. I put a spoonful of that yummy sauce on my shrimp and dug in and was shocked by the chill.

I was the only one ordering a salad and it appeared at my place setting large, with fresh romaine, shredded parmesan, homemade croutons and Caesar dressing. As I have said before, Logan’s Roadhouse has my favorite Caeser dressing and Tidewater’s couldn’t beat it. Their’s was good but a bit on the thin side. My older daughter, having recently developed an affinity for a good Caesar salad, shared it with me.

kid\'s buttered pastaNext comes the entrees and begins the disappointment. The kids meals, albeit for children, were very small portions. I would like to note at this time that we paid $4.75 each for a small amount of linguine with butter (see photo) and a soda. Hmmmmmmm………there’s something not right about that. Both girls ate a roll and were still hungry after polishing off the small amount of pasta drowned by their large round plates. When I looked at my plate, I thought “Surely they have given me a lunch portion by mistake.” But no, the mistake was mine. I received one chicken breast half, pounded out thin and cut into pieces along with several strips of red bell pepper, two artichoke heart pieces, and some mushrooms in a delicious creamy sauce. (See photo below)  The taste was great, I only wished I had TWO chicken breast halves in the dinner portion I paid $15.95 for. My broccoli was cooked perfectly and I slathered it in the leftover cream sauce.

All in all, everyone was pleased with their food and the service was top notch, as I have come to expect from Tidewater based on my previous visits. Oh yes, the wine: Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, one of the house wines at Tidewater, was very good, especially for the price – $20 for the bottle. Ron aptly described it as “tingly”. It was lightly fruity and clean. Perfect for seafood, or in my case, Chicken Nicole.

All things considered, I give Tidewater THREE FORKS.

Dan says:

I didn’t join Susan and Ron on this visit to Tidewater, but I have been several times in the past and feel that I can rate it for FORK YOU purposes. Tidewater Grill is a Mainstreet Ventures’ Restaurant, as is The Chop House and was (past tense) Gratzi. Mainstreet has ten restaurant concepts located mostly in and around Michigan. I’ll let one of the WVU graduates theorize on why a MI based company takes such an interest in WV. It is obvious to me that they put a significant amount of time and energy in menu development, because their dishes are excellent.

I have been to Tidewater for more lunches than dinner so I will relate those experiences to you. The lunch menu contains the usual fare plus two standouts in my mind. First, the Greek Salad Bowl is outstanding. It is big and has feta cheese, greek olives, and delicious red onions, but what makes it special and somewhat un-Greek is the boiled egg and pickled beets. You can’t go wrong with this entree for $8.95. You say, but Dan this is a fish place you need to order fish. The second, albeit pricey for lunch, is fresh catch served Shanghai Style – sesame steamed and served with sticky rice, sauteed spinach and ginger soy sauce. I like the swordfish or halibut done this way. The halibut might be too delicate of a fish to do this with, but it is my palate that has to suffer. The fresh catch at lunch is going to run you $13.95 – 15.95. Expensive – Yes, but we do live in a land locked state. Also, a wise mentor of mine once said, “If they aren’t complaining about the prices, they’re too cheap.” Those prices combined with great quality and service is the reason Tidewater has been in business in the Town Center Mall since 1985, 23 years in April.

The rolls…let’s not go there. I just gained a pound thinking about those rolls. The Carb Nazi even ate one. They’re so good The Chowhound blogged about them. It is a good thing I can’t find a picture of those pieces of manna, because you would gain weight just by looking at them. I wish I could give Tidewater five forks for lunch, but I’m just not feeling it today so FOUR FORKS it is!

Ron Says –

As for the day after the Tidewater – (attention – spoiler alert)

Three Forks.   What’s so special about this place that it deserves four?   ( ~ for that matter what is a four fork place?  or a five fork place? …. maybe I’ll explain my personal rating guidlines for a future post when times are slow )

For $17.95 I ordered fish and chips, and well I got fish and chips.  I ordered the Fried Saltwater Catfish… and well, I recieved what I thought was plenty of fish, I was able to get extra fries in leiu of a salad (more on this as I discovered a desperate scheme from the restaurant industry).  The fries, well they taste like frozen fries… Come on everyone,  you know what fresh cut french fries taste like.   My complaint about the meal would be that I think my mom (Oh yeah Happy Mothers Day) recieved the same amount of fish on her $8.95 fish sandwich. 

My opinion on fried fish – Fried fish is very dependent upon the batter.  Think Long John Silver’s little crispy things… That’s just batter from the fish and it was only within the last 15 years or so that they started selling that stuff – they used to give it away…. Trust me  I used to work there….  If you serve fried fish, you better have a distinctive batter because if you do not, then your fried fish is not going to stand out and will taste like,…..  well, bland fried fish…. I do not like bland food.  So I used salt…  plenty of it.

Another Opinion, and yes I’m full aware of what opinions are like… and yes mine definetly do stink.  Fried Fish is best done when the fillets are small and thin…  If the fillet is thick.. it is my opinion that it sucks, as the batter typically comes off and well it just becomes a mess….. and just doesn’t work well.  So I think thick fillet’s are best used for broiling, grilling, or baking, etc… but not frying.   I’ll put my fresh caught WV trout, and homemade fries up against this particular meal any day of the week…

All nit picking aside.. I had plenty of food, and it was relatively good… probably closer to a $12 meal instead of $18….. as I’m willing to gamble that my catfish is farm raised….I do not remember reading it.. If it’s not… well maybe jack up that cost a little more..  

The waiter was great… little slow with the rolls… but when the bill was messed up, he did promptly fix it.   The beer is expensive, but they at least have the cajones to put their prices on the menu.  So Kudo’s for that.

I have eaten here before, and probably would have given it Four Forks then… but today (or yesterday) I give it Three.  I’ll stick with my Jamacan Jerk Shrimp and Happy Hour…. now that’s good food.

Now for my desperation restaurant gimmick….  When substituting anything for extra fries… if it doesn’t look like you got two orders of fries… well you probably didn’t.  Just tell the person that brings your meal out… “Oops, I’m sorry, but I substituted extra fries for insert various item name here  , and I think you forgot it”.  Worked like a charm, as I swapped my side salad for more fries, but they only brought out one serving originally.   I think they do this on purpose just so you don’t ask for it and again that’s my opinion as I have no facts to support my claim, and I’m not a woman so my intuition stinks.

That’s my review… three forks. 

Tidewater Grill Restaurant
1060 Charleston Town Center
Charleston, WV
304-345-2622
Tidewater Grill on Urbanspoon
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2 responses to “Here’s a Catch….Tidewater

  1. Our Tidewater experience this weekend was humiliating. We took my boyfriends parents there b/c his father was wanting swordfish. My bf has been a fan of Tidewater’s Seafood Grill, (that includes swordfish, salmon, shrimp & scallops at $20.95, I believe) for years, so he recommended it to his father. The last time he got this dish about 6 months ago, the swordfish portion was a little skimpy, but we chalked it up to a one-time bad experience.
    Apparently, that’s the new rule, not the exception. Both my bf and his father ordered this $20 dish and received pieces of swordfish that were literally 2 x 2inches square, 3/4 of an inch think, and cooked until it was dry as a bone. This was so embarrassing! His parents are from out of town and had asked us to choose a restaurant for them to take us to and treat. Even though we felt bad that it was a little pricier than we’d preferred, we picked Tidewater b/c we thought the quality would be worth the price. Not the case.

    Another thing about the meal – I ordered the Grilled Chicken Artichoke Pasta, which was a little skimpy on toppings, but the worst part was that apparently one of the cooks decided there weren’t enough grilled chicken strips, and threw a battered, fried chicken strip in the pasta with the other grilled ones. The batter on this one chicken strip was mushy and gross and really disgusted me. I had to wonder what other short cuts that cooks were taking.
    I think Tidewater it heading downhill and would warn anyone to think twice or be prepared for a disapoointment if you visit it. And definately don’t make the mistake of recommending it to your out-of-town family members!

  2. Sorry Lynn..

    Restaurant Apathy at its finest it sounds like.

    We haven’t been there since this dinner oh so many months ago, so we may have to check it out again.

    Tidewater was usually a pretty good bet, I hope they’re not going downhill, but if they are keep the info coming.

    Thanks for writing in.

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