At the same time Ocean Beauty Seafoods put Reel Foods Fish Market up for sale in 2015, local chef Marcus Bonilla was trawling around for a new venture.
A seafood shop was something he could sink his claws into, but Bonilla knew his skills were better put to use on the business side of things. He also knew he didn't want to be a sole proprietor, so he reached out to fellow chef and longtime friend Mark Ballen, who jumped at the prospect of cooking stellar seafood.
Together, the two chefs have maintained the reputation Reel Foods netted during its 45 years, and they continue to elevate the market's status by carrying quality, fresh fish--as in caught, packaged, shipped and in the display case within 24 hours fresh--as well as exotic and hard-to-find selections.
Menu items get equal attention to detail, with the same high-end seafood, produce from Meridian's Ohana No-Till Farm, handcrafted sauces and more. Whether it's the lobster roll, ahi poke (facing page, top), chowder, tacos (facing page, bottom) or oysters on the half shell, the food is casual and inviting, yet fine-dining good--the halibut in fish and chips is so white, it looks unreal.
Rather than simply stay the course, both chefs stay up-to-date on industry trends and new products (Bonilla attended an international seafood expo in spring 2016), and they welcome the opportunity to answer questions and share their boatload of knowledge.
The proof is in the pudding--or chowder. If you haven't been to Reel Foods yet, stop in and have lunch or pick up the ingredients for a home-cooked meal. You'll be hooked.