Since Coconut's Fish Cafe opened in Maui in April 2009, it's been featured on CNN.com's list of "Top 10 Places to Eat Like a Local" as well as the restaurant review website Zagat for having "the perfect fish taco."
This April, the healthy "island style" fast-casual eatery made its first stop on the mainland -- at 16640 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale -- touting a seafood-minded menu of burgers, tacos, and fish and chips along with sides like coleslaw made with coconut milk and brown rice. There are fat-free and gluten-free selections as well.
Here's what to expect.
Naturally, the most popular item on the menu are the fish tacos ($10.99 for two), said to be made with a whopping 17 ingredients, including tomato, cheese, coleslaw, and mango salsa atop grilled white corn tortillas. Although they are satisfying -- fresh, sweet, crunchy, and with a flavor that can be kicked up with a variety of sauces -- they're almost too elaborate for their own good. The multitude of ingredients obscures the taste of the fish.
The tacos are more successful than the fish and chips ($11.99), two square patties of swimmers lightly fried in canola oil with little in the way of seasoning.
Coconut's beach-y scene is a bright, tidy room with wooden surfboard-shaped tables, painted images of fish, and two televisions showing various Hawaiian images. The service is friendly, and pretty much everyone will let you know what Coconut's is all about before you even have to ask.
Will Coconut's catch on in the mainland? If diners are willing to pay a little more for its healthful seafood fare, expect more of them to start popping up across the country.
Coconut's Fish Cafe 16640 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 480-275-6690 www.coconutsfishcafe.com/scottsdale
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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