Issue: June 2001
One Fish Two Fish

Long Bay Pointe Boating Resort, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 757-496-4350

 

     Perhaps it was the stunning westerly view, perhaps the perfectly chilled glass of Australian Mad Fish chardonnay, perhaps the rarity of a dinner during which no small person splatted me with spaghetti. Who knows. All I can say is, I could find no flaw with my meal at One Fish Two Fish. The waiter was friendly yet appropriately coy, the setting was beautiful, and I truly thought my taste buds would die of happiness just during the first course.

     On a recent road trip to the Tidewater, I wasn’t sure where to eat. Earle Hall of Bluewater Yacht Sales in Hampton advised me: Go to One Fish Two Fish, he said. When it first opened a year ago, it took him a month to get a reservation. And, he said, it was worth the wait. I finagled a reservation and asked photographer Jeff Caplan to meet me there.

     The restaurant, part of Long Bay Pointe Marina, sits at the far western end of a substantial pier that juts into Long Creek off Lynnhaven Bay [see “Partners in Time,” May 2001]. With waterviews on three sides and a sunset stretching straight down the creek toward your table, the location can’t be beat. At the room’s northwest corner, you may dine on a porch with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to the summer breeze. Skirting the building is a wide deck, where folks can relax in Adirondack chairs and just contemplate their luck. The decor is modern and elegant, simple and striking. Oval-shaped lamps the color of bluebells hang over a central food bar (called the “kitchen counter”) and over each table and booth. The kitchen itself, behind the kitchen counter and populated by a stylishly irreverent crew in blue baseball caps, is open to all eyes and noses. At the room’s northern end, a vast martini bar glitters.

     Our waiter, Wes, arrived with a glass carafe of purified water chilled to 42 degrees-no nasty ice banging against one’s teeth (they must have read my pet peeves list!). He also dropped off a small loaf of sourdough bread with a side of mixed butter and canola oil. These plus the Mad Fish kept me perfectly at peace, while Jeff and I wrestled over the menu. Truly this was a case of so many delectables, so little stomach. For an appetizer, I ordered the oyster stew with shallots, sweet corn, smoked bacon and toasted croutons. Jeff had the special of fresh mozzarella topped with roasted red peppers on a bed of greens. Here’s what my notes say about the stew: “Omigawd.” That’s it. Each flavor-corn and oyster, bacon and shallots-perfectly distinct and not at all overwhelmed by some ham-fisted chef who would have drowned them in milk. Jeff saved me a slab of mozzarella, which was equally fine.

     The salad selections were too interesting to pass up; I ordered warm goat cheese, baby spinach and currants with blackberry vinaigrette and pistachios. Simply delicious.

     I chose a special for an entree: fresh halibut seared and served with black-eyed peas and a mix of green beans and red and yellow peppers. A spicy ariso sauce snaked to the side-Wes warned me to tread carefully with the sauce. The delicate halibut melted in my mouth, but I only dabbed it once with the dangerous hot stuff. Jeff had fresh tuna, cooked a perfect medium rare and encrusted with herbs de Provence, served in a lemon caper sauce over Lyonnaise potatoes. His plate was so clean when he was through I wondered if there’d been anything there at all. My only regret about the meal was what I’d had to pass up: entrees like lobster tail on saffron, lobster and crawfish risotto with citrus butter, and rockfish encrusted with Japanese bread crumbs on Napa cabbage with lemon relish.

     Dessert went without saying-vanilla bean creme brulee for me, served in a small, low ramekin. The crisp shell atop the creamy custard cracked as delicately as an early fall frost. By now Jeff had completely lost his head and had the fudge brownie with vanilla bean ice cream and hot Belgian milk chocolate sauce. “Not an ounce of fruit to be found,” he said, smacking his chops. “Just how I like it.”

     Hmmm . . . just how I like it. That seems to sum it all up quite nicely, when it comes to this place.

 

     One Fish Two Fish is at the Long Bay Pointe Marina complex on Long Creek, about 1.5 nautical miles east of Lynnhaven Inlet. As you approach the restaurant, free first-come-first-served docking is available along the northern side of the restaurant, where the patio is located. Boats up to 200 feet long can dock here and there’s plenty of depth. If the dock is full, contact marina manager Virginia Morton at 757-321-4550 or on VHF channel 16 (the marina tackle shop monitors the radio and will call her for you), and she can find space in the marina itself. Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly; appetizers $6–$10; entrees $16-$25. Sunday brunch (including a mix-it-yourself bloody mary bar) 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; $8–$12. Reservations recommended. Major credit cards accepted.