Another Chance for Tricky Fish

Misty says…

at 12:15, we were the only customers our review to find out why

I was pleasantly surprised when I returned from my maternity leave and there was a deck on the front of the Tricky Fish.  If anyone remembers the steps that were on the front, they were a death trap (especially for the oddly clumsy, like me)!  The concrete slab steps towered in the front of the building (at least 5 or 6 feet tall) with no railing.  Of course, I have a trained eye for such dangerous settings as I am married to an attorney; but I am sure that everyone who dined there spotted it.  In fact, I am surprised that in the time that it took them to build the deck, that someone did not fall off, sue the Tricky Fish and put them out of business! 

Of course, such actions were off limits for a pregnant lady who is responsible for the well being of an unborn child.  But for other folks that were not in my situation, it seems like it would have been fair game.   I’m just saying, most people in WV are always looking for some easy money and I’m surprised that no one tried to make a few bucks at the detriment of the Tricky Fish.  Luckily for the Tricky , it does not appear that anyone took advantage of this dangerous situation and they could receive another review from Fork You. 

I was sure that this was going to be a better experience than the last.  Let’s face it, our first visit was just after they opened and they were still ironing out all the wrinkles.  It’s got to be better, right?  Well, bloggers, read on…

Since it was a re-review, I was going to order the fish taco again.  But, after reading the menu, I decided on the shrimp taco for $4.95.  I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered, the lady asked if I wanted my shrimp grilled or fried.  I didn’t have this option last time and I like options!  I picked grilled.  Also, they weren’t putting the cabbage or tartar sauce on the tacos anymore, so I didn’t need to make any adjustments.  I ordered the onion rings again- this time for just a $1.50 more (last time it was $2.25).  I also noticed that we will be getting fountain sodas this time around and not cans.  This trip is better so far.  Then, I notice that the sodas increased from $1.25 to $1.75; but we got free refills and I do like fountain sodas, so I tried not to let this bother me.

Misty's lunch

When the food arrived and I immediately saw the pickle. (I will let Susan dive into the pickle problem later on in the post- but this is a real problem with me too.  I never dreamed I would have to say, “hold the pickle “when I ordered a taco, but…) Next, I felt my tortilla, no pickle juice and it was warm.  Whew!  Maybe I will like the Tricky this time around. 

Then I looked inside my taco.  I had 3 pieces of shrimp.  These were not Jumbo Shrimp (or as Daniel would call them 21/25’s).  These were more like 50’s if I am in Daniel speak.  To give you some idea (if you are a food novice like me and don’t know these foody terms), this taco came in a small, soft, taco shell and the shrimp covered maybe half of the shell (you can also see the picture below of Susan’s).  This may have been ok if it was loaded with other toppings.  But NO, there were four- yes, I said 4- small leaves of romaine lettuce, a small scoop of pico, and some crème fraiche.  The description said there was cheese, but I didn’t see or taste any.  So, maybe there were 4 shreds of cheese- but that is being generous!  Again during this visit, the taco tasted ok- nothing memorable, but not disgusting- really just blah.  But you definitely didn’t have every ingredient in each bite!

The onion rings were better this time around- not burnt.  They were very fresh and crispy.  But I still only received five of them and this was the best part of my meal.  In fact, it was a good thing that I upgraded to the onion rings or I would have left the place starving.  I was tempted to gnaw on the large lettuce leaf that my onion rings were sitting on.  I barely made it to 2:30 before I broke into a 100 calorie snack.  Based on the fact that I paid almost $9 for my meal, one would think I would have been full.

Trick me once, shame on you.  Trick me twice, shame on me.  Well, Tricky Fish, you won’t trick me again.  You’ve made a few changes for the better, but when you get down to it, it’s still not good enough.  I really had high hopes for you- but I left extremely disappointed!  In fact, you get a downgrade for not improving!

You get 1 FORK!  


Susan says…

A new chef (named Bubba no less), a new deck, a new review.   (The old one is here.)

I order a Shrimp taco.  Shrimp or mahi mahi taco is $4.95 for one, $8.95 for two.  I asked if I could get one mahi and one shrimp and the cashier said “yes” but I got charged $4.95 for each.  I thought I was asking if I could get one of each for the combo price.  Of course I knew I could order one taco of each type separately.  Duh.  You’d think I would get two bags of chips since they charged me the price for two separate baskets, but I did not.  We are not off to a great start.

interior of the mahi mahi taco - do you see any cheese???

I asked both to be grilled.  I received 3 chunks of fish in one, 3 shrimp in the other, both had only a few shreds of romaine lettuce, a small amount (about 1 tablespoon) of pico, and a very small amount of cheese.  Literally, I think there were 6 shreds of cheese on each taco.  Pathetic.

The flavor of the seafood was bland, but that did let the natural taste come through.  The seafood was grilled to perfection – perfectly done.  The seafood was the best part of this meal. 

The pico was rather tasteless – all I got from it was the tomato flavor.  Kick it up a notch, please.

The problem with the tacos is there should be more toppings.  Lots more toppings!  The portion size of the fish was adequate, but there should be more then 3 small shrimp.  The major cost component is these tacos is the seafood….not the toppings, so pile enough on there so they can be seen and tasted for goodness sake.  And only 3 toppings to choose from…  (Imagine that I am shaking my head slowly in disbelief.) 

I haven’t seen such skimpy toppings since the lettuce on Delish Express sandwiches.   Is there a lettuce crisis I am not aware of?  Has the reduction in honey bees somehow led to a shortage of lettuce thus dramartically increasing the price and dramatically reducing the amount I see on my food at the table even though honeybees don’t have anything to do with growing lettuce?  Kroger is selling it this week for about the same price I have been paying.  Given the way some restaurants are so completely stingy with their lettuce these days, I may have to resort to carrying around a bag of lettuce alongside my low-carb tortillas and my 2-liter of Diet Coke.  I will definitely need an even bigger handbag.  

Deathmatch: Cilantro’s v. Tricky Fish

I easily fit each of the Tricky Fish tacos into half of one of my low-carb tortillas.  At Cilantro’s, I can barely stuff the three tacos they give me for $6.25 into two of my tortillas.  I would need five mahi mahi tacos at Tricky Fish to be comparative to what I get at Cilantro’s.

Now let’s compare the toppings:  

At Cilantro’s I am offered a choice of beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, black olives, sour cream, guacamole, and one sauce and one salsa.  The sauces available are fiesta green chile, chipotle, chipotle barbeque, bourbon glaze, raspberry chipotle, and cucumber sour cream.   Finally, pick a salsa from mango, peach, corn, pineapple, or red pepper.  At Tricky Fish you get lettuce, cheese, and creme fraiche.  That’s it.  Oh, you could sprinkle on some vinegar or Franks’ Red Hot, but I don’t think that belongs on a fish taco any more than that ridiculous pickle.

The price comparison:  To get approximately the same amount of food it would cost $6.25 at Cilantro’s and a whopping $22.85 at Tricky Fish.  But I would get potato chips with that.  Apparantly only ONE bag. 

Deathmatch winner:  Cilantro’s.  Hands down.

interior of the shrimp taco

Tricky Fish has made some improvements since my last visit and I was hopeful that it would increase their rating when I read about it in the paper.  They do have fountain drinks now, but the cups are small so you’d have to get half a dozen refills to get your $1.75 worth.  (By the way, Cilantro’s has the same cups, but for $1.25 – $.50 less.)

You can choose your seafood, your way.  This is a major improvement over fried being the only option.    Catfish, mahi mahi, shrimp, and oysters.  Grilled, breaded & fried, blackened, or jerked.  Crunchy shells or soft shells, po’ boys and baskets.

If you want waffle fries instead of chips, add $1.25.  Onion rings are an extra $1.50 (for 5 homemade rings).   The upcharge for fries/rings makes the price of the food even more ridiculous.  There is also an upcharge for trading the potato chips in for tortilla chips and salsa.

Each item was served with a skewered sweet pickle sticking up out of it, even the tacos.  That takes pickle crimes to a whole new level.  I would have been extremely upset about pickle juice contaminating the tortillas if I hadn’t already planned to swap theirs for my own low-carb ones.  (I brought 2 tortillas expecting to get more food than I did, but I only ended up needing one.)  Why the hell would you put a pickle on a taco anyway?  That is absurd.

Even with the improvements they have made, I would not come here for lunch unless forced into it.  I do not understand what happens to this pair of restaurateurs when they cross Washington Street.  I adore Bluegrass Kitchen – I’d eat there once a week if my friends would agree to it.  I get plenty of food, I feel it’s worth the price, I love it.  But the Tricky Fish is a big rip-off in my opinion.  Some things are better than when I was here the first time, but it is so overpriced, my bottom hurts when I leave.

We aren’t the only ones disappointed in Tricky FIsh – check out this review.

I guess we should say “thank you” though – it’s the reason we started this blog!

TWO FORKS.  Go to Cilantro’s so you can see what you are competing against.


Ron says…

a blurry photo of the catfish sandwich

The “Five” (minus two) busted my cherry on this joint last week.  ( yeah, this is another one of those reviews that is written a day late and a dollar short)  I had heard so much about this place since the Five last visited this place and how crappy it was, that I said next time “let me go”.  Thankfully this place did not dissappoint.

One should note that it is this very establisment that caused the birth of this great and informative Blog… none other than Fork You. 

A little history… after eating here and reading the review in the GAZZ, the “FIVE” or “DAN” said they are starting a blog to correct these crimes against humanity.   

After eating here…. I can’t imagine the Gazz even, wrote five words other than .. “This Place Sucks”… YEAH THAT’s Three words…..   See it’s not even worth five.

Actually I could bump it up to six if I add: “They Serve Beer“.   But that’s beside the point.   

Look at that blurry sandwich.  Two Small Pieces of Fish.  A tomato… A Lettuce –  LEAF – not only is Keely a vegitarian, but it seems she’s a skimpy one at that! (OK that’s my opinion and my views are not totally supported by Fork You and the “Five”)   I think that long vanilla looking thing is my knife.   All on a Bun that reminds me of Sara Lee.   Oh yeah served in a plastic basket… you know those kind you’d get at the Tastee Freeze…..  (Sorry as I break into a little John Mellencamp or back then I think it was John Cougar).

Make’s you wonder what John Cougar would have written if he saw that Pickle on a Stick!….  Somehow I don’t think a shriveled pickle was what he was thinking when he wrote “Dance Naked”.   (Look Closely at the sandwich, you can view the shriveled up sweet pickle skewered with a stick)  It’s “low brow” for a classy price. IMHO

I digress….

The sandwich and the bag of chips… was $6.50.     I got water.   The chips are supposedly organically grown in dirt on some organic farm that plants potatoes… and they tasted like it.  

As my editor is looking over my shoulder, she asks..”you didn’t like it, you ate two bags!?”  Well the sandwich would feed a half a child.. so I ate two bags of chips to satisfy my hunger.  The carb freak didn’t want her bag, and I wasn’t sending it back.


Come on it’s catfish, Farm Raised (I wonder if the food pellets the farm raised catfish are eating are “organic” or just the generic feed you get at Southern States).  The fish and batter was not crispy, however this was a sandwich.  Maybe the bun absorbed all the crispiness.  (that doesn’t make sense)  Plus did I say it was bland?  {please refer to the second sentence of this paragraph}  

WHAT DID I THINK OF THE KINDERGARTEN DRAWINGS ON THE WALL?:  If You’ve ever visited The Best Page In The Universe, then you know what I think of these reject drawings that the parents are not even brave enough to put on their own refrigerators.

Now… the biggest problem with this place is that it’s like Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch… they are not very economically savvy for the modern age… much less the East End of Charleston.  $6.50 for a McFish Sandwich with an extra piece of fish!!! That’s what I got.  I know the local red head doesn’t agree but the Fish Place in the Farmers Market has the best fish, the best Fish Sandwich, and the Best Fish Combo! Period.  It is flavorful, crispy, and economically savvy..  $6.99 (maybe $7.99 for the combo)  But you get a huge fish sandwich on a croissant bun, with fries!  Not a bag of chips that you’d get at Subway, but real frozen fries served out of a vat of grease!!!!!  Heaven isn’t too far away.  PLUS… and this is the real kicker…. You can substitute EXTRA FRIES in place of the Slaw!!!!  Somewhere Homer Simpson is making a sound.  

The Trick at the Tricky Fish is how they Trick you out of getting those extra fries and make you think you are getting a good meal..  Economic Genius… Remember Enron? … Your combo here comes with EITHER SLAW or CHIPS  (potato chips in a bag remember)  At the Tricky Fish, you have to pay extra to get fries… (btw for you Onion Ring fans, they are even more expensive)  So to get an equivalent and thus satisfying meal at the Tricky Fish, I or YOU would have to spend $10!!! 

I will not eat here again as it reminded me of Main Tin – everything just sucked.  Unlike Main Tin’s, I suspect this place will be out of business by 2010!  If it’s not well I’ll eat here once a week for a year so set your Outlook Calender for September 15th 2010!!!  


(these places need to remember that “bang for your buck matters”, you can get the same meal at McDonalds… Who cares if it’s served in a styrofoam container if it’s only $4 the more I think about it, the closer to 0 forks it gets)

Tricky Fish
1611 Washington St E
Charleston, WV 25311
(304) 344-3474
Tricky Fish on Urbanspoon

47 responses to “Another Chance for Tricky Fish

  1. Man! What a review! You have just helped me with my decision to give it another try. On your first post, I commented that I’d not go back and you guys just sealed the deal for me. I was a little more open minded when I read a review on another blog site about the menu changes, but then I read yet another one that said it sucked so that’s 4-1 (sucked-good) reviews. Again, I’m going to pass. Cilantro’s here I come!!!

  2. So do y’all not have a review of Cilantro’s? I didn’t see it on the list and I have really really been wanting to go there. From what you said in this article it sounds pretty good! Thanks for the other review and linking to my review!

  3. Leigh Anne-go to the bottom of the Front Page and click on Older Entries and it’s toward the bottom of that page.

  4. Man, indeed! Ever since they put the cute deck on the front and I heard that they serve beer and margaritas, I’ve been bugging the BF to go to Tricky Fish. This review has convinced me not to bother. Three small shrimp on a taco? That is seriously sad.

  5. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. What alternate dimension do they live one thinking that three shrimp cuts the mustard!

  6. Really, I’m happy that the owners of the Tricky Fish / Bluegrass kitchen are investing in the East End. I really am. But I have yet to get past my impression that they’re just playing restaurant over there. Like the man said, in what alternate universe is it OK to serve something as sad and pathetic as that shrimp taco — let alone charge money for it?

    I’ve had a couple good experiences at BGK, but it’s the exception and not the rule. Last time, I ordered the so-called “1/2 pound hamburger,” and if that thing was anywhere near a 1/2 pound, I have a bridge in Alaska I’d like to sell you. And they were out of french fries. And it was 12 frickin’ dollars!

    Quality of the food aside (it’s hit and miss for me), BGK (and it looks like Tricky Fish as well) causes me to complain about the one thing I try to never complain about: portion size for the price. It just doesn’t add up for me. Sigh.

    I miss the old Delish.

  7. HK-

    please add your own begging and pleading to my open letter to Virgil, asking him to bring back the old Delish. It’s several posts back. I am going to mail the letter (with comments) to him very soon.

  8. Hippie Killer? Do you have an alias? ArthurFonzirelli maybe at Blue & Gold news?

    Just saw your blog and an interesting “title”

    “Vingle Gets It” – very similiar to:

    If not, well I agree Vingle Does Get it…

  9. That’s not me.

    Reading some of the discussions on BGN has taken years off my life.


  11. All caps comments from Chefs who are no longer associated with a restaurant are probably indicative of larger problems with the Chef than with the restaurant. I think if you would check with John or Keeley you would find a very different story of who’s decision it was to serve the portions that day and what they have done since then to correct the situation.

    I’ve also talked to the new chef who is a fantastic guy and would be perfectly happy to talk to customers who weren’t satisfied so he could fix the problem.

    Bad reviews of local restaurants without any effort to talk directly to those responsible for correcting problems will get us another chain sub shop, not a varied and exciting restaurant scene in Charleston.

    If you applaud John and Keeley for making the effort to improve the East End and want them to be successful, help them by letting them know what you think they could do better and see if they do so before posting a blog that will be their first Google hit when folks search them out.

    And, if HK doesn’t want to eat a burger that costs that much, he has the opportunity to go to another establishment. But I think too many people have gotten too used to artificially low prices for meat due to large agribusiness and forget that artisinally produced and locally raised foods are simply better for you and reflect the true cost of producing food. Using chemicals and massive volume production to lower margins isn’t ‘better food’ or even ‘better value’ in my book.

    That said, if you have three small shrimp on a taco, tell the manager and ask what the can do to rectify the situation.

    I recognize the constraints of the lunch hour, but many of the ForkYou crews are downtown on weekends, or occasionally at the BGK for dinner. John and Keely are almost always stopping in. Pull them aside, say “Hey, just wanted to let you know we had a disappointing lunch the other day and weren’t very happy with the food. Was something going on that might have made it an off day?”

    I’ve had that conversation with John and Keely, and with Scott and PG about the RARE small problem at Ichiban. They have all been appreciative of the feedback and have spoken to their staff immediately to solve the problem.

    One final thought…I think you may find some very upset parents who are SO PROUD of their son and his art that no mere kitchen refrigerator is enough recognition for him. They want to show him off to every customer who comes in to their place. He’s as much a part of the family at BGK and Tricky Fish as his folks are, and regular customers have enjoyed watching him grow up over the past few years.

    Food for Thought.

  12. You start with a misguided attack on our livelihood of our family and our employees, setting-up a tone that invites further vitriol. And now it has gone to personal attacks on my wife, and the love of our son’s creativity. So let me set the record straight…

    Chef Bubba was the cook for the smug Fork You people’s lunch that day. He refused to listen to a woman, my wife, his boss – and consistently reduced the size of the portions served at Tricky Fish, despite our orders not to do so. And he changed our recipes to suit himself, even though he admittedly no longer has an ability to taste. He was an ass to us, but we still liked him. Yet when he finally left, the entire staff high-fived each other. Now we are in control, and are serving large portions of high-quality fish, and our recipes are once again the way we want them. Susan, you can have any topping added to your taco WITHOUT COST. So put down the bong, and revise your “toppings chart.”

    This slanderous and incorrect blog will now appear every time someone Googles Trickyfish’s name. After risking everything we have, and pouring all our assets into another venue to make the East End a nice place to live – this Fork You blog is certain to make our lives harder. Neither we, nor our employees deserve this. So if you desire to keep this small-business killing disaster posted, then stay away from our restaurants and go to McDonalds.

  13. are you people serious? you have set up a very viscous situation. I’m all for constructive criticism, bring it on, but this review and some of the comments read as a scathing, personal attack. Are you in the business of openly reviewing restaurants or do you have an office pool to see how fast you can help bring a local business down. bubba is right, he has absolutely nothing to do with what is being cooked at the fish right now, but he had everything to do with the food that was being served the day of this review. I wouldn’t expect him to own it though, that would take a great deal of integrity. His personal philosophy on food is to screw the customer for a penny even if your misrepresenting what your serving. Having said that, I take personal responsibility for the fact that I let him stay as long as I did, wasting a great deal of money and time in the process. So go ahead and trip over what you qualify as a review, I have a deck full of customers and a group of very long term employees that say we must be doing something right, but do us all a favor next time and leave my seven year old son and the children of my employees and customers out of it. If you have to pick on kindergarteners then you might take a little personal inventory.

  14. YES….

    I love it…

    We will have a 1000 count this weekend..

    As for Bubba, and the Tricky Fish Crew…

    I don’t care who cooked what or when they cooked it….

    What I do care about is how my food is after I ordered it.

    Kitchen Geeking ~ why should I talk to the chef after I get my food? I would hope he’s too busy to come out at lunch time and chat with someone who doesn’t have any culinary credibility like myself. The whole point of the blog at least for me is to present these places in their normal everyday glory. I don’t think anyone on this site is out to tear anyone down. Simply pointing out my opinion, and what is obvious to me. For me, the Tricky Fish isn’t offering any bang for my buck.

    It’s great that people are willing to risk investing in the east end, and I would applaud Osama Bin Laden himself if he so desired. But the investment should be worth it, and I somewhat feel your post wants me to subsidize it. Sorry I don’t agree with subsidizing it.

    You can see some of the general comments had a similiar feel… something wasn’t working with the Tricky Fish.

    Remember this isn’t even the first review of this establishment… So Misty is correct when she says… Trick Me once shame on you, trick me twice shame on me (or something like that).

    Mr. Steele – it was no personal attack, sorry if you feel that way.. However by putting your sons work out in public, you are inviting critizism. By Opening a restaurant, you are putting your family up to critizsm, and risk.. I’m simply risking my $10 bucks to eat there. You’re risking alot more.. And if your family is dependent on revenue from the Tricky Fish, well good luck with that… you better right that ship quick. Don’t publicly do something if you are afraid or unwilling to take critizism.

    Get it right the first time…

    And Mrs. Steele ~ again I’m not picking on kindergarteners.. I think my own kids drawing stink. I think it’s a funny website… most parents I know think it’s funny because it’s true!!!

    Now I don’t know Chef Bubba, and if that is his name, whom the hell hires someone named BUBBA??? And if he’s that bad.. well he wasn’t properly vetted… (thats my word for the day)

    However you should have seen the email he wanted us to print…


    For all the restaurant owners in the area and beyond.. you’ve been put on notice. Step up your game, we’ll write about it. Fork You has a good variety of individual tastes, some like the gourmet, like BGK, some like the Rivers Edge Cafe bar food like myself.

    As far as I’m concerned I’m going to tell it like it is. If your food sucks.. I’m going to tell you so. If it’s good I’ll brag about it.

    After all it’s my $0.02.

    Now, Before Dan has a heartattack and get’s his panties in awad and pulls this review and all the great comments off the site.. I’ve copied it and will paste it on my own blog.. so we can continue this enlightening and culinary credible conversation in a totally uncensored and worthless environment.

    (sorry I’m too lazy, I know critizism is spelled wrong, I’m just too lazy to go back and fix it. I need a comment spell checker)

  15. The Vegetarian Wife

    To the Steeles- I have never been to the Tricky Fish, so I have no part in this commentary other than to say that I LOVE KINDERGARTEN ART and would proudly display my kids’ art too if I had such a venue. As you know, each reviewer on this site speaks for him/herself. I got all sweaty and uncomfortable when I read Ron’s critizism (haha) of your decorating choices. I guess that’s why I’m with Dan and his wadded panties. I guess Ron probably didn’t appreciate the decor in our newly remodeled family room– it is covered in kid art. Good thing it’s not a restaurant!

  16. To anyone who has been in the restaurant business you know it can be cruel and yet very rewarding. Having said that all the attacks on the Tricky Fish and the Steele’s should stop!!! I broke the first rule in this business (DON’T BASH) we have the right to eat whatever and where ever we want. My feeling’s were not meant to hurt or slander them I let what was being said and written get to me! What happen between Jon, Keeley and myself was business not personal and I will leave it at that!!!!! I also feel their son should have not been put in any of this(THAT WAS CRUEL AND UNCALLED FOR) So having said what I had to say for the last time. I hope and wish them well and that things work out for them and that all the attack’s STOP!!!!!!!!!!!

    Chef Bubba

  17. Kitchengeeking, the problem with the so-called half-pound burger wasn’t that it was 12 dollars. The problem was that it wasn’t anywhere near a half-pound. Pretty simple stuff.

    And again, I truly respect the Steeles for investing in the East End. It really is a case of “if they don’t do it, who will?” They’re 2 of the very few people who have actually done something to make this town a better place to live. That said, I think the only sensible way for them to respond to this review would have been something along the lines of “Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’re sorry about you’re bad experience.”

    This review was neither misguided, slanderous or incorrect. The pictures don’t lie. Clearly, something wasn’t working at the Tricky Fish the day these people went.

    But it sounds like things are now on the up and up. After all this, I’ll bet these reviewers will be the first to give you credit where credit is due.

  18. *Your* bad experience, I mean. Ugh.

  19. This will be my last statement I left the Tricky Fish on Sept. 8th 2008 I wish you well!!!!!

  20. HK –

    This comment needs to go under the BGK review, but the conversation is here.

    I am sure that it is a 1/2# precooked weight. It is a premium beef and probably 70/30 to 75/25 lean to fat ratio. So it could be as little as 6 oz cooked.

    I love this burger. It tastes great and I think it tops the scales the two times I’ve had it at 6 oz plus.

    Should the menu say precooked weight. Sure. But for me it is assumed. It could have been a little small on the day you had it, but I don’t mind paying 12 bucks for it because it tastes good.

    Good-tasting food is the bottom line for me on this whole post. If the quality and quantity is there then the cost doesn’t matter to me.

    Kitchen Geeking –

    I have said something to Ms. Steele twice about my experiences at her restuarants. Once at BGK I told her at checkout that the kitchen seemed really slow. Not just on that visit, but at several meals. At TF I also asked her if my oyster po-boy was was on the correct bread when it was served to me on a hot dog bun, and if I could get a cup of suace that was missing. Both times I got the cold shoulder.

    That cold shoulder I got the 2nd time is why this blog exists. She blew me off and we decided to create this blog to let her know what we felt was wrong. I consistently told our crew we needed to do a re-review of the TF so we could have a more positive experience to relate to our readers. Unfortunately, the food and service were consistent with the first visit.

    I think the owners might have had a response to this blog similar to what HK suggested, but the filter between Ron’s brain and fingers is broken. He is not a parent and no matter what he says he should have kept his “crayon drawing” comments to himself. It is apparent to me that art is important to Ms. Steele regardless of the medium or form. Those statements rightfully colored their feelings.

    I thought Chef Bubba had an ax to grind, but we don’t edit/block the comments on this blog unless they are spam. (I did delete one tasteless joke about the Quarrier Diner.)

  21. I am being singled out now because I am not a fan of Kindergarten Art.. How Shameful.. maybe I need therapy or to join a support group.





    nope it’s not… (least not on the 11th) {did you catch that morsel of forshadowing}

    I was simply saying that the art on the wall looks like it came from some preschool class, or the reject stuff that get’s thrown away at Garfields. 😉 I have you to see the “Design On A Dime” episode for displaying kindergaten art.. however I’m sure it will include a frame somewhere.

    It was tacky, and it looked like an afterthought. It wasn’t obvious that it was a tribute to their own children. Just so happens I hit the nail on the head ~ and I’m persecuted for it. LOL.

    Mrs Steele, btw, Chef Bubba (if what he says is true that he resigned / removed on the 8th ) was not present on the day of our review, we dined at the Tricky Fish on the 11th of September – so you accuse “chefbubba” wrongly, and thus deserves’ your apology.

    Chef Bubba – I didn’t put their son in any of this.. they did by simply posting his work on the wall in such a hap hazard manner and leaving it there for me to look at. Sorry I commented on it.

    VeggieWife (yeah I know you) I too have “kindergarten art” in my office, as I’m constantly being beseeched by mangled flying WV’s. (WVU logo) and I’m not ashamed to pin it up… I have no problem with it.

    this is my last post on this issue, as I’m out scouting new kindergarten art to bash. I don’t care what the food tastes like or how much it costs as long as the pictures on the wall are made by Van Gogh.

  22. The Vegetarian Wife

    don’t worry Ron- I’m still your biggest post fan! What do you say me and you head to Taco Bell?

  23. I see the debate continues. I’d suggest at this point the Steeles would be well advised to accept the apology about the artwork, refrain from blaming their former employee for the problems during or after his tenure and, if they choose, address the substance of the complaints.

    I often find the reviewers here find places expensive that I consider reasonably priced. The Bistro is actually the only place where I agree with the feeling it is unreasonably expensive for what you get. I take that into account when reading the reviews and am not influenced by the price comments.

    I am influenced very much by the comments on the efficiency and politeness of the service. I can tolerate slow service if I know it’s part of the package (Sushi Atlantic, Thai House, Lola’s ) at a mom and pop place AND mom and pop and their help, if any, are pleasant and polite. I don’t like servers who act as if they are burdened by waiting on me and will cut slack to nice, friendly ones who appear to be trying more than those who transmit the attitude they don’t care about me because the serving gig is just a dues paying phase on their way to fame and fortune.

    I’m also rather put off by owners who seem to have the nature of the relationship between business and customer confused. the customer doesn’t owe you anything, not even a fair chance. they are paying you money and all the other obligations flow FROM the restaurant to the customer.

    I don’t care if you intend to use the profits to feed orphans let alone that you are view yourself as improving the quality of life in the neighborhood. I also don’t care if you blow the profits on whiskey and hookers. If the food, service and atmosphere are good I’ll become a regular patron. If one or more is lacking, at the least you’ll see less of me and at a certain point you won’t see me again. I’m no PR specialist, but publicly stating you consider that my loss is probably not the most savvy way to approach it.

    Again, good luck, and I might still try the TF despite the very unattractive way you have presented yourselves here, but I I will tell you I only infrequently eat at BK (and only when others suggest it) because I find the service lacking and the food inconsistent. I see the potential and hope for better every time but you still have a lot to learn about running a restaurant. Rather than taking offense at that observation, you should accept its truth and start figuring out how to improve.

  24. Thanks a lot Phil for just ignoring what we say about prices being too high. Obviously you are way wealthier than we are.

    no, really – that’s exactly what you should do.

    We write about our own opinions and they may not be shared by the readers. (That’s why we love it when people comment.)

    Just remember that ours are the only ones that matter, though. ; )

  25. On the price issue, I appreciate you letting us know what are the prices for menu items. That’s purely objective information I do consider (I can’t afford to eat really expensive food every day either). I also appreciate the comments on portion size which while perhaps slightly subjective sometimes (big, small, filling, etc.) is mostly objective especially if there is a picture or a detailed count of the number of shrimp or whatever.

    My point wasn’t that price is no object for me but that often I don’t think the prices you describe as being on the high side are out of line for what you get. Cheap prices can be too much for some things and high prices a bargain for something really extraordinary.

    Having gone to the grocery store myself, I understand why restaurants have had to raise their prices.

    I won’t pay high prices for extraordinary food every day but I will sometimes. (Obviously high prices and mediocre food is a bad combination)

    For example, I don’t consider $10-12 for a really good and filling lunch at a nice sit-down restarant to be a bad value; it might be a good value I won’t be able to eat everyday because bargains can still be beyond means but it’s still a good value.

  26. I agree, Phil. I don’t mind at all paying >$10 for lunch at Sitar (even if I splurge and get the $12 chicken tikka masala) because I feel the taste & quality warrant the price.

    Paying less for a lunch at the Bistro isn’t worth the price tag to me…for the reasons you cited.

    And I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for meatloaf, mashed potatoes and overcooked green beans….’cause it’s just not my kind of food. No matter what Daniel accuses me of eating in the middle of the night.

  27. Well, I actually like homestyle food (although I prefer my green beans fresh and sauteed al dente) but I can get that at home. I like to go out to eat things that are either too difficult or too much trouble to cook at home.

  28. demosthenes.or.locke

    I haven’t seen the crayon art at tricky fish but honestly could it be worse than the art at bluegrass kitchen? I doubt it.

    Seriously, though, if you really served a shrimp taco with 3 shrimp in it I have no idea how you can even show your face here.

  29. There were three shrimp per taco. Honest-to-goodness. Had I thought I received a mistake, I would have asked about it, but since Misty & I both ordered shrimp tacos and we both got three shrimp each, that proved to me that mine was indeed no mistake.

    Had the shrimp and toppings filled the taco shell, it would have been a good dish and worth the price.

  30. this website sucks and i’m telling the world. long live the steeles, their eandeavors and down with stuck up, wannabe foodies who know nothing.

  31. I love this website. I don’t always agree with the reviews, but I take it for what The Five says it is….their opinions……. with a little humor and sarcastic undertones. (Ron’s posts, especially, crack me up.)

  32. Despite the whiny reviews, I checked out the Tricky Fish last night – and had a great time! This is a fun little bar with great food. It is obviously not supposed to be fine dining. I had the pork BBQ sandwich – and man – it was perhaps the best ever. HUGE, warm, toasty bun, spicy… I didn’t want it to end. The onion rings were perfect. My husband had the hot dogs with chili and slaw, and they were huge also, and looked awesome. (who gets a grilled fish taco at a bar anyway? yuck!) Add to that a bucket of cold Corona, and my favorite, BUZZTIME TRIVIA, definitely warmed up my January night! I was thrilled to find that finally somewhere in Charleston proper has trivia, and with several flatscreen tvs, it was fun! I definitely foresee many nights hanging out at the Tricky now… especially chilling out on the deck once the weather gets warm. I would love to see a tv added outside so we could play trivia outdoors! We left with full bellies and had a great time. A place like that is exactly what Charleston needs. You reviewers are missing out, but something tells me you are all too old to get it anyway.

  33. Dear Me,
    (and by “Me” I don’t mean me as in myself, but rather Me, the commenter above)

    Sounds like the place has gone through some changes since we were there last. There were no TVs and no Trivia during our last visit. It was definitely more “restaurant” than “bar”. Plus we were there on our lunch hour so we were unable to enjoy a bucket of Corona or any other beer. Had there been beer involved, the ratings may have been higher. Who knows. Perhaps the thrill of Buzztime Trivia clouded your judgment of the food?

    I must ask, are you also a fan of the Cold Spot? Because they have trivia.

    And I am not old.

  34. The Cold Spot is ok, but not exactly in “Charleston proper,” and the last few times I’ve been there, they have been playing Texas Hold ’em Poker, not Trivia. The wings have also gone seriously downhill.

    I would love to see Tricky take off as a hang-out for us non-redneck twenty-somethings of this town. I do think the name is misleading, but with a little more marketing and some good beer specials, it has a lot of potential.

  35. So, I went to Tricky Fish for the first time this past Sunday for some grub before Mountain Stage. Had planned on going to BGK, but it was closed. Went in and waited up front for a bit, then went and sat at the bar in the back and waited, then went up front and asked the girl how to get service, she said she’d be there in a sec. Waited five more minutes and walked up front to overhear that they were out of fish, so we left and had to go to the shitty Subway next door.

    Awesome experience. Ugh.

    I mean, if you’re out of fish because your delivery didn’t come in, what do you do? Turn away customers? No, you GO BUY SOME FISH and bring it back and cook it.

  36. Check out the Tricky Fish review at

  37. Now that’s a bit more harsh than making a joke about kid’s artwork and panning the food.

    It would seem that the TF rubs some people the wrong way for reasons beyond the food and the prices. It also would appear from some of the comments in the WVG that this is not unintentional.

    In its defense, there is no rule that an establishment must try to make all its customers feel welcome.

    Many high-end places deliberately cultivate an atmosphere of exclusion and appeal to a certain segment precisely because of that intangible sense of status they confer upon patrons who can distinguish themselves in their own mind by” fitting in” where there perceived inferiors feel uncomfortable.

    At the other end of the spectrum there are “low-end” places that have a “rough” vibe that scares potential customers away by making them feel uncomfortable for a different reason.

    It’s a free country and business owners can cultivate the atmosphere they want and if you don’t feel welcome in some place you can just go to another.

    I would think though that a struggling sandwich shop is unlikely to succeed with the attitude that “this place is only for our kind, so hit the road if you don’t like it,” but if TF can pull it off more power to it.

  38. I found this bit “I’m just saying, most people in WV are always looking for some easy money and I’m surprised that no one tried to make a few bucks at the detriment of the Tricky Fish. ” Offensive.

  39. Ron Cracks me up LOL! I haven’t tried it yet but I’m thinking of stopping by because its the only place I’ve seen in WV that has Nathans Hot dogs.

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  41. Check out a positive review of the Tricky here:

  42. HI, first let me say I love this site. I use it often for new eateries. However, I was suckered into the Tricky Fish today. I have to say, at least some of the things you complained of have improved. I got the crispy chicken tacos (2) and a side salad. I think the salad is a newer edition, since you didn’t mention it as a choice before. One worry I had was that the tacos would be scant- however, this problem seems to have resolved. I had several large pieces of chicken, tons of sauce and lettuce (the good kind, not bagged), and what I believe was a thick slice of cheese under it all (it didn’t seem to be shredded, as it was melted together really smoothly). The shells were nice and warm. My side salad was good sized, and came with lettuce, red onion and tomato. It took up about 1/2 the little platter. The meal itself was really really good, and with a water was around $7.50. Not too bad and I’m totally full. A friend got the hushpuppies and they looked divine. We waited maybe 15 minutes tops for food (there were 4 of us).

    Now, the poor points- the deco is a mish mash and looks dirty. Boxes of “stuff” – sauces, napkins, etc- are everywhere. The wait staff- I cannot explain the rudeness. She either hates all people or hates her job or we weren’t trendy enough or something. She literally made fun of two of us for ordering chicken tacos as apparently many people had ordered those that day. When I asked for a fork it was like I asked for her first born. Tables were cleared very very slowly.

    Outside of the questionable cleanliness and the utter rudeness of the staff, the food was excellent. Next time I go there I’ll probably order to go.

  43. So. I finally, at long last, had a meal at the Tricky Fish. No need to beat around the bush here: IT’S NOT ENOUGH FOOD.


    No where NEAR enough food. The sandwich I had was decent, but by no means great (oysters were like battered & fried moonrocks, but hey the bun was nice!), and it was 10 dollars. And I’m still hungry. I seriously feel like going to the grocery store and getting something to make for dinner. It’s that bad.

    I don’t know why I’m shocked, considering it’s the exact same thing that happened when I had the 12 dollar burger at Bluegrass that left me longing for Wendy’s. Honestly. I don’t care if it’s organic. I don’t care if it’s locally produced. I just want my food to taste good and fill me up. Is that too much to ask? Everything else, including price, or whether or not my dinner died screaming is secondary. Sorry. So to be clear, it isn’t that it’s not enough food for the money (which it absolutely isn’t by the way) — IT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH FOOD, period. I’m. Still. Hungry.

    It’s a cute place, and the people were nice. I love the deck. But if I ever go back, it’ll just be to hang out or drink beer or something. And I’ll be damn sure to remember to eat something first.

  44. My family loves Tricky Fish. The hot boloney is the best I’ve ever had, and the vegetarians in our crew are always happy with the veggie options. Great onion rings, good beer, a really nice and fun staff. Thanks for being there, Tricky Fish!

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  46. I finally gave in and tried this place even though because of the previous reviews, I swore I never would. I gotta say, it was much better than I expected. It’s such a beautiful day I wanted to go somewhere and sit outside. And I can walk to TF from my office. I was a little disappointed when we walked up and all the outside tables were full. But by the time we placed our order, one opened up. Yay! I had already decided I’d get the fish tacos, even though I thought the fish would be fried. It wasn’t and I was glad. It was either baked or grilled and had a good flavor. They came in warm crunchy shells with lettuce, a little cheese under the fish so it was melty, and some pico that I didn’t notice until the last bite or two. I also got the onion rings and they were some of the best I’ve had. My husband got the pulled pork sandwich with homemade slaw. It was very good. And it came with fresh-made chips that were also very good. Service was friendly but a little slow getting our food. However, we were sitting outside, not in an extreme hurry, so it was fine. I left on foot from my office two blocks away, ate and walked back without hurrying, and still had five minutes of my lunch hour to spare. All in all, I liked the Tricky Fish, and I will definitely go back.

    The only downside was the drinks. I’m glad they have “draft” drinks, but the Diet Coke came out all water. And the tea is of the instant kind- ick!!!

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