First Bites

Prime Fish Is Open in Former Nemo Space: Massive Menu and Fresh Fish

After successfully coaxing your out-of-town guests to treat you to dinner at the pricey Prime Fish, there's still one more hurdle you must face: deciding what to order. The menu is massive, which is just one of the many things the month-old spot has in common with its sister restaurants: Prime One Twelve and Prime Italian, and to a lesser degree, the retro-style diner, Big Pink.

Located in the former Nemo space, Myles Chefetz's latest endeavor is described on the company's website as "a unique combination of fish shack meets upscale dining." Though the large indoor/outdoor eatery is slightly less glamorous than the other Primes, it most certainly isn't casual.

The room is clean, contemporary, and thoroughly elegant, and the staff is expertly trained at helping you navigate the offerings. Yes, Prime One Twelve's infamous steaks are available, but as the restaurant's name suggests, the seafood is the main event. Indeed, when speaking to Short Order about Nemo a few years ago, the corporate chef for the Myles Restaurant Group, Mike Sabin, revealed that working with sea creatures is his initial passion. Sorry cattle.

We recently stopped by Prime Fish to see what's cooking over at the buzzed about South Beach venue. Here's what we ordered:

Poke is a ubiquitous side dish in Hawaii that refers to bite-size pieces of seasoned raw fish. Chef Sabin, who happens to have attended high school on the island, offers a daily selection brought in straight from Hawaii.

The waitress suggested we try the big eye tuna poke ($55 MP), and pointed over to the glistening blood red cubes displayed at the raw bar. The plump, luscious fish comes spiked with a shoyu sauce, avocado, limu (a type of seaweed), and toasted Macadamia nuts. Spicy mayonnaise is served on the side if you like to enhance your sashimi.

To the left of the poke rests a shot glass with an oyster submerged in a spicy bloody Mary-type mix ($9). Drink it as you would a shot, and prepare thyself for a sharp burst of flavor.

Here, there's a wide selection of whole fish that you can choose to have sautéed, grilled, broiled or blackened. Various accouterments like Cajun butter, fois gras, or horseradish cream, let you dress-up it as desired.

A black sea bass from Connecticut was offered as a daily special ($45), and we went the grilled route, keeping the rest au-naturel. For the health conscious, and those who like their fish distraction free, this is a great option.

The generously portioned side dishes, known as "accessories" ($13), are a huge part of the draw at Chefetz's other concepts. Naturally, Prime Fish has no shortage of the sharing favorite. The Mexican grilled corn on the cob, and the blue crab hush puppies with Cajun butter are new and exclusive to this restaurant.

Prime's warm and gooey fried Oreos ($15) are the stuff of legends, and a meal at either of the four restaurants wouldn't be complete without them.

Follow Valeria Nekhim on Twitter @ValeriaNekhim

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Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.