Beach's Lynnhaven Fish House serves up great seafood every way you can
think of . . .
and it all comes with hush puppies.
by Ann Levelle
photograph by Tamzin B. Smith
for no other reason than the promise of a hush puppy, I can always be
talked into going to a seafood restaurant at the beach. "Seafood?" I
say, my mouth watering at the mere thought of a platter of fried fish
and hush puppies, or of a hunk of freshly caught ocean dweller broiled
up with a thick topping of crab imperial. So it should come as no
surprise that when I visited my friend Kathy last summer in Virginia
Beach I was an easy sell for dinner at the Lynnhaven Fish House. No
sooner had the words "fish house" left her mouth than I had my sandals
on and was halfway out the door.
Fish House is located on the Bay, just east of the Lynnhaven Inlet, and
attached to the Lynnhaven fishing pier. A long-standing icon in the
area, the restaurant offers great views of the Chesapeake Bay
Bridge-Tunnel and the big-ship anchorage. It also sits over the sand,
which gives diners the best of both worlds--Bay and beach.
and I arrived early in the hope of beating the Saturday evening
crowds--it was tourist season, after all---but even at 6:45 we had to
endure a half-hour wait. Fortunately, we also found two seats at the
bar, where our uber-friendly bartender immediately set out a giant
martini glass full of delicious homemade potato chips. The thin,
slightly salty chips proved a scrumptious appetizer--so good, in fact,
that we finally had to slide them down the bar so we wouldn't spoil our
our table was ready we were led into a dining room filled with dark
wooden tables, wood-paneled walls and lots and lots of windows. It
looked almost exactly like the seafood houses of my childhood
vacations, but without the kitschy nautical decorations. Here there
were colorful stained-glass fish hanging in the windows, providing
warmth and color in the forefront of terrific views.
and I had done a good job of not filling up on potato chips, so we
kicked things off with one of the appetizers on the specials board
we'd been studying avidly from the bar: grilled tiger shrimp with a
mild mesquite seasoning and served with a cucumber wasabi dressing. We
were not disappointed: The shrimp were moist and sweet, a great
beginning. Also, it gave us something to nosh on while we perused the
menu, which was chock full of tantalizing dishes. There were fresh
lobsters which we'd seen in the tank in the lobby, seafood and pasta
dishes, jumbo stuffed shrimp, fried seafood platters, soft shell
crabs--and more. Best of all, everything came with hush puppies! In the
end, I opted for the fish of the day--mahi mahi. I chose to have the
fish topped with crab imperial, though I could have had it prepared
with one of several sauces that are available for people who bring in
their own fresh catch of the day.
ordered the Herb Crusted Ruby Red Snapper, which was served with
roasted red pepper vodka cream sauce. It was fantastic. The cream sauce
was light, but flavorful, and the fish was perfectly cooked inside, yet
retained its crispy crust. My mahi mahi dish was tasty as well, though
I must admit that the crab imperial was the star of the duo. All in
all, we had a fine meal from start to finish. And I even saved the best
for last. The hush puppies were darned near perfect--crunchy on the
outside, warm and moist on the inside, slightly salty and sweet all at
once. Did I mention I like hush puppies?
Fish House is located at 2350 Starfish Road, just off Shore Drive, a
short walk or ride from the Lynnhaven area marinas. It is open for
lunch and dinner daily, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Lunch $7-$17, dinner
$18-$44. The adjacent, less casual Pier Cafe is open seasonally.