119 Fayette St
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Overall: Trendy, creative Conshohocken BYOB with loads of potential. Unfortunately, the cuisine and execution at Blackfish are too inconsistent to rate it among the area’s finest.
Food: Creative Modern American fare with a focus on seafood. Everything started brilliantly during our first visit to Blackfish. Wonderful whole wheat rolls paired beautifully with extra virgin olive oil and whole olives. The Risotto of the day — Arancini, a Sicilian favorite of breaded, fried rice balls, paired with a red wine reduction dipping sauce ($9) — was excellent. We also tried the Parmesan “panna cotta” (a custard-like substance) with pickled ramps and roasted ruby beets ($9), which was a bit different but also quite tasty. Veal agnolotti, served in a crispy sage brown butter sauce with a wonderfully pungent Parmesan cheese topping ($12), however, was the starter that caused fork fights to the very last bite at our table.
By now, we could not wait to recieve our entrees; we had selected the wild striped bass with asparagus and trumpet mushrooms in a curry emulsion ($28) and a strip steak special served with sweet shallots and trumpet mushrooms in a bordelaise sauce ($36). Disappointingly, the second course could not nearly hold up to the previous one; not only did the dishes suffer from uninspiring flavor, every one delivered to our table was poorly executed. My fish was completely raw in the middle (I enjoy sushi, but this bass was so tough it could not be cut with a fork), so I sent it back. Others at my table who ordered the same dish were met with a similar fate, as the fish was neither cooked evenly nor completely. Even once I received a fully cooked filet, the dish itself did not inspire. The supposed curry emulsion offered no addition to the dish’s flavor, and the veggies were simple but boring. The steak, amazingly enough, was also undercooked (ordered medium rare). We’re not afraid of a nice red steak, but this was pushing the boundaries of rare. (Interestingly, a friend who visited Blackfish on a seperate occasion complained of the duck being badly undercooked before hearing our story… hmmm.) The steak otherwise was a fine dish, but was hardly worth the steep price tag.
The appetizers were good enough to convince us of dessert, so we tried the Vanilla Beignets with Spiced Anglaise ($7) and the Warm Molten Chocolate Cake ($7). Both were quite rich and tasty. (Although we prefer chocolate, the gleefully warm beignets were the winner that night.)
Ambiance: Far brighter than the previous Maya Bella, Blackfish ironically features stark white walls throughout. It is a busy, loud room, like any main street hot spot should be.
Service: The waitstaff was extremely friendly and helpful dispite the inadequacies of the kitchen. The chef did insist on re-cooking my entire dish (some at the table were finished eating when it arrived).
Value: The trend for upscale area BYOB is for the entrees to venture into the upper 20s and low 30s, and Blackfish certainly aims to live within that scale. The execution, however, needs to improve greatly to justify charging $36 for any entree. Creative, tantalizing menu descriptions are one thing, but true value only comes with the delivery of a well-created entree.