Melt-in-the-mouth raw ahi tuna is the star in Tuna Poke at Legal Seafoods in Paramus. This lunch appetizer was $14.95.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
No other North Jersey restaurant offers the incredible variety of fresh oysters, fish and other fare than you'll find at Legal Sea Foods in Paramus.
But the restaurant is expensive, even at lunch, as we found out on Friday.
This wasn't my first visit to the Boston-based fine-dining restaurant in Garden State Plaza, New Jersey's biggest mall, so the sticker shock wasn't totally unexpected.
The restaurant was almost empty when we arrived at noon. After a hostess seated us and gave us menus and wine lists, we waited and waited for a server to take our order.
And the rolls, made in house, were truly awful.
To add insult to injury, they were served with butter, not extra-virgin olive oil.
Of course, the solution is only a few miles away in Englewood, where Balthazar Bakery turns out some of the best dinner rolls on the planet, and delivers them to restaurants.
What a concept.
I started with three freshly shucked oysters ($2.95 each), squeezing lemon over them, and a flight of three white wines ($9.95), which were perfect together.
I followed with an appetizer of Tuna Poke ($14.95), a Hawaiian dish made with raw ahi tuna that is pronounced "Po-kay."
Legal Seafood's version is made with diced fish and avocado. I also had a side dish of Quinoa Vegetable Salad ($6.50 for a cup).
My wife ordered her two favorite seafood dishes, a cup of Lobster Bisque ($8.50) and Legal's Signature Crab Cake ($17.95), but there was only one medium-size cake with jumbo lump crab meat.
All of the food was delicious. Still, my wife complained the bisque had too much heavy cream in it.
Our total for food was $66.70, plus tax and a $10 tip, for a total of $81.37.
That sounds like a lot for two people to have lunch.
My receipt notes "fish is brain food, be smart and eat here often," but if you truly think about it, wild-caught fish aren't expensive, so where are all the profits going?
Certainly not to the men and woman who land the fish and other seafood.
Legal Seafoods calls this cup of Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Calabrian lime dressing a premium side, and charges $6.50 for it at lunch.
My wife chose Legal's Signature Crab Cake (one medium-size crab cake), which came with a salad and a side, in this case mashed potatoes ($17.95).
|Freshly shucked oysters were $2.95 each.|
A cup of Lobster Bisque was $8.50. My wife liked how it tasted, but complained it was made with too much cream.
A flight of white wines, two of them from France, was $9.95. Each glass held 2 ounces. They were the perfect drink with my raw oysters.
Legal Sea Foods, 1 Garden State Plaza, near Macy's, Paramus; 1-201-843-8483. Open 7 days.
Web site: Restaurant and Oyster Bar