Where? Winter Park Fish Co.
When? 6pm-ish on a Friday
Why? Trying a new place
SPOILER ALERT: the Taco Bell Now-and-Later Fiesta Extravaganza would have been the safer bet.
Like most semi-normal, hopeless shut-ins who are scared of sunlight, large groups of people, and jumping spiders, we hate to dine alone. Fortunately, we have spouses to share our miserable outings with. And to throw themselves into the path of a blood-thirsty mutant jumping spider.
Seriously, we f*#king hate jumping spiders.
Click past the break to read the rest of the story!
Our apologies to indulgent (understanding, caring, loving, and generous) spouses everywhere because right before you walk into the restaurant, there’s a large fish holding an equally large signboard featuring the day’s specials. There might as well have been a giant flashing neon sign that screamed “PHOTO OP FOR BELEAGUERED SPOUSES!”
Enchanting. Charming. Delightful. Mysterious. These were the thoughts that were hooking us and subsequently reeling us into the Winter Park Fish Co. …. little did we know what gasping, thrashing horrors awaited us on the other side.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “hooking”, “reeling”, “gasping”, “thrashing” …. we want you to know that we worked really hard on that sentence. Really.
While we waited with our fish-shaped sign, we were served complimentary cat food. Actually, it was some kind of fish dip, but visually it seemed to have a lot more in common with cat food. Actually-actually, despite aesthetics, the fish dip revealed itself to be rather good which resulted in a ridiculously melodramatic round of fisticuffs and girl-slaps with the spouse to see who got the last bite.
EDITOR’S NOTE: only because there weren’t any jumping spiders involved. Eeesh.
SPOILER ALERT #3: the complimentary fish dip might be reason enough to visit the Winter Park Fish Co. Especially if there’s girl-slaps involved.
As the spouse put it, it looked like an evening meeting for the Geriatric Club. We even witnessed one elderly fellow hobbling to the restrooms, bent at an awkward 90-degree angle. (The elderly fellow was bent, not the restrooms.)
First impressions count, and our first impression was that the joint was charming, plain and simple. Second impressions count, too, and ours was marred viciously by fellow diners sitting directly behind us, heretofore known as The Cougher.
The Ceviche was VERY spicy and the octopus was rubbery. This is due to how the Ceviche is prepared. We’re probably just used to octopus nigiri that’s been tenderized in a gentle, loving kind of way. The spouse had a fish chowder that tasted suspiciously like nothing at all.
To put it mildly, we didn’t much care for our appetizers.
"So this is ::COUGH:: Winter Park, huh? So ::HURRRGGK:: is it just a ton of shops and restaurants around here? What is ::CHOKE:: Winter Park known for? ::HAAAUUUGGK::”
Admittedly, there was a roughly nine-minute break in the hacking/coughing/weezing, but it still mystifies us that these people had elected to venture outside their home with The Cougher in their current condition. If Winter Park is identified as Ground Zero for the Zombie Plague Outbreak, this is probably the reason. On the other hand, maybe it was all just a stunt for a hidden camera show. Reality TV is sh*tty like that.
EDITOR’S NOTE: that would actually be a good segment for the future OI.o podcast. ‘Cause OI.o is sh*tty like that.
The spouse ordered Fish and Chips which turned out to be far less eye-opening than the grouper and glaze dish. Even tartar sauce couldn’t help the overpowering blandness. The fries were unmentionable but the coleslaw and sweet corn hush puppies almost saved the day -- they were good, but “too little, too late” applies generously here.
We had barely finished eating when the spouse made it clear that we’d never again return to the Winter Park Fish Co. Which is an interesting note to end on: our freshman dining experience had been marred by selectively bland foods and possibly horrific, plague-inducing nearby dining companions. Was the restaurant itself bad? Not particularly, but it definitely appeals to a specific (possibly geriatric) demographic. If you don’t fall into that category, you either forgive some of the missteps or you decide that there are better places to spend your discretionary dining funds.
If you visit the Winter Park Fish Co. and have a similar experience, let us know in the comments. If you have a completely different experience altogether (and as long as it doesn’t involve giant mutant jumping spiders) let us know about that, too.
The Flavor-Craving, Mango Glaze-Loving Orlando Insider Foodie Staff