Mitchell's Fish Market splashed onto the scene in 2010 with a nicely restrained nautical motif and an informal yacht-club tone. The menu's signatures were straightforward seafood and beef and humongous desserts such as a towering seven-layer carrot cake and the generous shark fin ice-cream pie.
Three years later Mitchell's Fish Market — owned by Ruth's Hospitality Group, proprietors of Ruth's Chris Steak House — has a new coastal decor more fitting for its Florida location. Bright hues of blue and green are found throughout the dining room and multicolored mosaic accent tiles frame the outside bar and inside columns. New artwork ranges from abstract watercolors to black-and-white vintage photography. Lanterns that illuminate the wraparound porch are beach house/boardwalk cool.
In addition, the restaurant now has a private chef's table that can accommodate up to 12 guests.
The menu has been tweaked as well with items such as the citrus- and mango-laced wild sea scallops and shrimp ceviche ($9.99) as well as frutti di mare pasta ($23.99), a garlicky mix of tiger shrimp, mussels, scallops and calamari served over pappardelle with fresh tomatoes or white wine sauce.
And the bar is now hallmarked by handcrafted cocktails and martinis ($8.95 each) made from freshly squeezed fruit. The grapefruit and basil vodka martini and the cucumber gin Collins are good examples of stellar mixology.
Not everything is perfect, but Mitchell's is certainly on the right course.
We started with the bacon and eggs ($7.99), a platter of creamy deviled eggs topped with applewood smoked bacon. The eggs were summer-picnic good.
The flavor of our Prince Edward Island mussels Provencal ($8.99) was good, but the meat was far from plump. And the bottom-of-the-bowl broth of seafood liquor, lemon juice, white wine, garlic and tomatoes was surprisingly thin on the palate.
We fared better with the market catch grouper ($25.99), which was prepared with a crisp ginger-panko top crust and ginger-citrus butter sauce. The plate was completed with a pyramid of sticky rice and stir-fried green beans and bell peppers. The elements were expertly balanced.
The chef's feature was sea bass stuffed with shrimp and Maine lobster ($29.99) served with a luxurious lemon butter sauce. An elegant presentation, the only disappointment on the plate was a side of overcooked asparagus.
The two Chesapeake Bay jumbo lump crab cakes ($23.99) were foiled by too much salt and lacked the richness one expects. But the side of sweet corn sauté had a crisp-tender appeal.
For dessert we went with a Florida favorite: Key lime pie ($5.99). It was refreshing, creamy and had just the right zap of tartness.
Service was efficient and friendly and the food quibbles easy fixable.
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Mitchell's Fish Market
** 1/2 out of four
Where: Winter Park Village, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park (near the movie theater in the back)
When: Lunch, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; dinner 4-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.- midnight Friday and Saturday, 3-10 p.m. Sunday