Each week we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.
The Spot: Wildfish Seafood Grille
7135 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
The Hours: Happy hour is nightly from 4 to 7 (all night on Sundays and Mondays) and is served in the bar/lounge area only.
Perfect For: Getting all gussied up and proving to your skeptical friends that good seafood does exist in the desert.
The Interior: Wildfish Seafood Grille is dark and cool. The tables, covered with white linen, are arranged in concentric circles around a glowing blue bar. A bustling kitchen is alight along the back of the restaurant, pots and pans glistening behind a mountain of ice, which is topped with the most of the cast from The Little Mermaid. Servers glide like stingrays from table to table, silent and efficient in their white jackets, wielding crumbers like tiny silver swords. Wildfish does not feel indigenous – unless you sit on the spacious patio overlooking Fashion Square Mall, you will forget that you are in Arizona. If you want to play pretend, sit inside and imagine that the dull roar of traffic on Camelback is actually the ocean waves crashing outside.
The Food: Our knowledgeable server recommended the Maine lobster tacos ($14, normally $19) and the jumbo lump crab cake ($14, normally $16), and she didn’t steer us wrong. The tacos were unreal: grilled corn and sweet heirloom tomatoes complemented the fresh lobster brilliantly. We didn’t bother squeezing on the lime that the dish was presented with, for fear of distracting from the delicate flavor. The crab cake was all crab, with a light golden crust and a chive remoulade sauce that had us wondering what the plate-licking policy at a classy joint like this might be.
Other happy hour options include potstickers, oysters, steak and lobster tartare, calamari, tuna tartare ($10 each), and market oysters and a shrimp cocktail ($12 each). Our hunch is that you wouldn’t go wrong with any of them
The Drinks: If you felt your pupils turn into dollar signs at that last paragraph, don’t worry. The drinks at Wildfish are where you start really saving money. Premium cocktails (with Findlandia vodka) are $6 on happy hour, as are select wines by the glass. If you don’t see something you like, any other drink from the regular menu is $2 off during happy hour.
We ordered a Red Dragon, which was $7 (normally $9) and a glass of Giacato Pinot Grigio ($6, normally $13). The cocktail, sort of a raspberry mojito, was refreshing and tasty, though nothing to write home about. Next time, we’ll probably stick to wine; our Pinot Grigio paired perfectly with our seafood and was a steal at $6.
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Conclusion: Though pricier than your average happy hour, Wildfish Seafood Grille is still a great value considering the quality of the dishes and portion sizes. (Each appetizer easily fed two people.) We’re betting a dirty martini that sitting at the jazzy bar is a great way to decompress after work, and when happy hour goes until 7 p.m., you’re more likely to make it there on time. Plus, the fresh fish at Wildfish – followed by a walk on the waterfront after dinner – is cheaper than a ticket to Boston. You will be humming about oceanfront property in Arizona before you know it.
Don’t Miss: Those lobster tacos. We’re still dreaming about them.
Skip This: The mojito, margarita, and other standby cocktails. Go straight for the premium vodka drinks or get wine.