Sunday, July 3, 2011


PassionFish is a great seafood restaurant located in Reston, VA.  They are most known for their sushi (which is how we heard about it through our friend Ruby Woo who loves sushi) but they have many other unique items. A word of caution though...Unless you're hitting up the bar at happy hour, this is not a cheap place, and while I don't believe there's a dress code, most people there were dressed at least business casual. I'm not sure they'd kick you out in your grungy T-shirt, cut-off shorts, and flip-flops but I guarantee you'd feel a little under-dressed and out of place.

inside restaurant

However, if you're willing to make yourself somewhat presentable and are also willing to shell out a few extra bucks for some awesome seafood, this is the place to do it.  Elegant (yet not stuffy) modern delicious cuisine.

outdoor patio where we sat
crispy baguette slices with crabmeat dip...yumma yumma

We begin with appetizers...1/2 dozen raw oysters and a jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail. I personally am not a fan of the oysters. I may have mentioned this before; I've given them the ol' college try a few times, just not my thing. Superking, however, loves them and couldn't resist the fresh slimy sea creatures on the half-shell. I will say they look pretty sitting in their shells on top of a bed of ice with their little garnishes and sauces.

The crabmeat cocktail was basically a huge lump of fresh shredded crabmeat drizzled with a Key lime mustard sauce. Phenomenal! Pure crabmeat-a-liciousness!

They had some amazing looking entrees but we decided to stick to small plates so we could squeeze in as much yumminess as possible.  Though we also skipped the infamous sushi too. :(  Too many good things to choose from. Next time we'll try the sushi, I promise!

Next was the Peruvian-style ceviche.  This was very different from any ceviche we've ever had. It included various generous-sized pieces of fish and other seafood as well as fresh lime juice, red onion, and habanero. What made this truly unique was that it was topped with popcorn!! Yes actual popped popcorn!! When you eat ceviche, everything in it has the same texture...soft.  The popcorn added a crunchy salty surprise that was strange yet lovely!

can you see the popcorn on top??

We also tried the Hamachi Crudo.  This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.  Crudo is a type of fish and it was served sashimi-style on top of slices of ruby red grapefruit. It also came with thin slices of jalapenos, a sweet soy sauce, and a green tea sea salt.  The combination of spicy, sweet, sour, and salty made an amazing and unique experience.

beautiful presentation

For the next course, we had the Spicy Ahi Tuna Tartare.  Raw supple chunks of tuna served with pickled ginger, sesame, and ponzu sauce, and topped with crispy shredded wontons. The pickled ginger gave the dish a little kick while the ponzu added the sweetness and the wontons a textural crunch.

though it looks like shredded cheddar cheese on top, thats actually the crispy wontons

Also in this course we had the Grilled Baby Octopus.  Now I do like the taste of octopus but the sight of tentacles on my plate is a little disconcerting for me.  But this dish was so yummy, I didn't even pay much attention to the tentacles.(Well, maybe a little as I cut those parts off and handed them to my husband)  This little octopus was served on top of a Greek salad comprised of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes and olives  mixed with tzatziki sauce alongside a block of grilled Halloumi cheese (a special Greek cheese requiring a high melting point).  It. Was. Awesome!!!  This was another favorite dish of the night. The octopus was tender, not chewy at all, and combined with the cheese and salad, it was unique and full of so many flavors indescribable.

octopus on top

thats the grilled cheese on the left side

At this point we were approaching fullness but there was still a tiny bit of room left for dessert.  Fresh fried donut holes served in its own tiny fry-basket and served with a coffee bavarian cream! Talk about Yumma Yumma!! Whats not to like??

And THEN, to top it all off when our waiter (who was excellent, very friendly and knowledgeable...thanks Kenny!) brought us the check, it came with a couple pieces of almond fudge of some kind, compliments of the chef!

Again, not cheap but its to be expected when ordering fresh quality seafood that strives to be local and sustainable, I might add. It was worth every penny and then some.  Not your average seafood joint, it has a touch of Asian, a touch of Mexican, a touch of Italian, and even a little touch of Greek. Its like a journey by sea around the world and back again in one meal. Creative, unique, elegant, delicious.

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