Bred on Louisiana-style cooking, local restaurateur Grant Gieseler was dismayed by the lack of quality southern fare in the Cincinnati area. He and his business partner Blake Gieseler founded Bayou Fish House to introduce the area to fresh fried fish and hearty gumbo. Diners can grab meals to go or kick back at the bar or seating area and tell exaggerated tales about the biggest fish they ever ate. The eatery's walls sport a paddle, a life preserver, and various aquatic tchotchkes to remind fish of their home.
Signature service: Seafood catering service
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
In a Midwestern city that's hundreds of miles from the ocean, it can be hard to find fresh seafood. But Coastal 864's chefs hope to change that by bringing lowcountry crawfish and seafood boils to landlocked patrons. In their mobile kitchens, they cook everything from fresh crawfish imported from Louisiana to shrimp to blue crabs in a lemongrass stock, then toss the spice-rubbed morsels in a garlic butter sauce. All of their boils come with sides of roasted corn, kielbasa, and red potatoes.
They also offer drop-off catering for events such as birthday parties, holiday gatherings, and tailgates, giving patrons a break from the traditional game-day food of hot dogs cooked on a hot car radiator. Plus, they pair their Cajun creations with domestic and imported beer.
To describe the building in which Jay's Seafood finds itself today is to depict the history of Dayton since the mid-1800s. Once the Dayton Corn and Grist Mill and later a school for young ladies, it first became a restaurant in 1882 when its proprietor paid to transform 5,400 pounds of mahogany into a 32-foot bar, eventually frequented by the likes of Buffalo Bill. And just like the rest of the decor?which comprises antique light fixtures and a railing from the Old Xenia Hotel?the ingredients that form Jay's dishes too come from an eclectic mix of sources.
Jay's dished out the freshest seafood from various suppliers around the United States, while Angus beef arrives fresh from Chicago and is hand-cut into steaks in the kitchen. The results of these efforts manifest in succulent house specialties such as spiced bourbon salmon, sea scallops baked in garlic butter, and grilled filet mignon. Each meal is made even more enjoyable with a featured wine by the glass or bottle and one of Jay's housemade desserts.
For more than 60 years, KingFish Restaurants have been grilling, broiling, and frying a bounty of sea-dwelling edibles. Lobster tails, tilapia fillets, and freshly shucked oysters punctuate a menu of more than 25 seafood selections that adorn plates breaded in a golden crust or blackened in Cajun seasonings. More terrestrial morsels arrive in the form of fried frog legs and 10-ounce rib-eye steaks, which are grilled to order and taught to swim before arriving to tables.
The flavors aren't the only things inspired by the majesty of the water, though; two of the restaurant's locations are perched directly on the banks of the Ohio River. Diners can gaze through expansive windows or breathe fresh air on a covered patio as they savor their meals amid sparkling waters framed by the Louisville skyline. The understated sound of rushing water is periodically interrupted on select nights, when live bands entertain dinner guests and provide a soundtrack for the underwater ecosystem's endless Disney auditions.
When Shahram and Gita Pouranfour—with the help of their sons, Farzan and Arman—first started a family-style restaurant in South Louisville, their main goal was to cater to families and seafood lovers. After years of success at this original restaurant, Fishery Station, they started adding more exotic food items, such as shark and alligator tail, to the menu alongside their traditional seafood and chicken platters. Along with the exotic fare, they incorporated Shahram’s Persian and Gita’s German cultural influences as well, adding basmati dill rice, gyros, and chicken schnitzel.
They’ve continued these same traditions at The Fish Fry House, where families can dine-in or carry out, and Shahram still enjoys cutting and hand-breading pounds of fish daily before it’s transformed to one of the popular platters or sandwiches.
There's no body of water in El Marlin Latin Cuisine's immediate vicinity, but you might forget that upon entering its maritime-themed dining room. Life preserver buoys, paddles, and pictures of fish adorn the walls, setting an appropriately nautical tone for feasts of marlin skewers and seafood-filled pineapple. Of course, not everything at El Marlin hails from the ocean. Lime flavors succulent pork chops, while vegetarian-friendly scoops of mac and cheese sizzle on the plate. To complement meals, the restaurant's bartenders handcraft cocktails and pour wines from a massive cellar that houses reds, whites, and people hiding from tornadoes.