TRAWL MIX

The halibut practically made me swoon. It was cooked to a shimmering translucence; the juices spurted out the moment my fork touched the fish. Seasoned with a bit of lemon pepper, it's one of the few earthly pleasures I've enjoyed that's not illegal, immoral or fattening. In the same class are the Chilean sea bass, a beautiful, white, flaky slab; and the thick, meaty ahi tuna. Each tastes as if it were just plucked from the sea. And when you consider that the tuna retails for $11.99 per pound, the $11.95 dinner price (about a ten-ounce portion) is quite a bargain. Idaho trout also made a favorable impression, as did the saut‚ed shrimp and scallops. For $9.95, you get five shrimp and six scallops, gently sizzled in butter. (Incidentally, the shrimp had been frozen, I was told. It's almost impossible to get fresh shrimp in the Valley unless you drive it up yourself from Rocky Point.)

But like the soup and salad, the accompaniments don't do justice to the fish. Meals come with plain, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, and an odd, mayonnaise-free coleslaw. Both of these items are no doubt good for you. They sure tasted like it. You can't backslide nutritionally with the French fries, either. Fisher Kings doesn't fry them--instead, they're cooked in the hot-air oven. Some foods are simply not susceptible to low-fat, low-cal interpretations. French fries, I'm grieved to report, is one of them. When it comes to dessert, however, Fisher Kings' healthy-minded Scottsdale clientele is apparently willing to make a lifestyle exception. But the place offers only unremarkable, coffee-shop-style pies that definitely aren't worth the calories.

Despite the lackluster soups, salad, go-withs and dessert, Fisher Kings' high-quality seafood makes it a player among Valley fish restaurants. If this place ever puts the same effort into the rest of the menu as it does the fish, it could go right to the head of the class.

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