On the Fly

October 2010
Written By: 
Denise Mullen

Saucy newcomer to the TBonz chain, the Flying Fish Public Market & Grill sizzles with fresh catches—both on your plate and in the air

Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa! Step right up, folks, to the newest eatery hosted by Barefoot Landing, a culinary carnival called Flying Fish Public Market & Grill.
Housed beside Alabama Theatre and overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, the attractions started just beyond the swinging doors as staff members gleefully plucked a whole red snapper from the seafood market display case and tossed it around to the shrieking delight of families waiting for tables. Cameras flashed as vacationers took pictures of loved ones holding the “flying fish” and, apparently, if you’re bold enough to lock lips with it in a kiss, the house will discount your meal.

Since I’ve never been partial to smooching fish (my husband tends to be the jealous type), we put our names on the waiting list and bellied up to the bar to experience the sweet surprises of the Flying Fish happy hour.

In the mood for more fun and games, I ordered The Hammerhead, one of four 32-ounce signature drinks for $7, a deliciously potent concoction of Chambord, Bacardi, Malibu, sour mix, cranberry, and Sprite. And my husband couldn’t pass up the Long Island Tea with four white liquors for a mere $3.

The $5 bar menu was too tempting for us. We were more than happy to kill time noshing on an icy tray of raw Gulf flat oysters—served with a novelty Tom Thumb–size bottle of Tabasco—spicy-tuna sushi, savory rolls of ahi, green onion, and taste-bud-tingling mayo, plus an artful plate of sweet potato fries drizzled with a chunky bleu-cheese sauce and peppered with freshly diced tomato and red onion.

To top it off, there’s a selection of six hand-crafted brews on tap, including my personal favorite, the Seasonal Raspberry Wheat that was launched years ago by Flying Fish’s sister establishment, Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery of Broadway at the Beach.

I actually felt a pang of remorse when our name was called for seating, now under the hypnotic spell of good food, good drink, and good chit-chat with fellow barflies. We followed the hostess upstairs to our table that offered a sweeping view of the waterway and grappled with the question at hand: Do I want my seafood boiled, pan-sautéed, or flash-fried? I veered off-course to the Mixed Grill and my husband settled on the beer-boiled Snow Crab Feast.

The Mixed Grill was a plated trio of mahi-mahi, salmon, and plump scallops all laced with an herb cream sauce that was more cream than herb, an ice-cream scoop of dirty rice with a heavy tomato accent (and a nice hint of hot), and a side-show of green beans. The strip of skin-on salmon won the ring toss for me with its moist, meaty quality and undertones of the fire grill.

Two pounds of snow crab legs served to my husband dangled from the platter along with circles of smoked sausage, corn-on-the-cob, wedges of red-skinned potatoes, and a cup of “mystery butter” for dipping. Except for the knuckles, the crab was sweet and firm, and this entrée came with a little silver bucket of moist towelettes and a crab-leg cracker—a playful touch of bling that made up for the absence of any starter or pre-dinner nibble.

Flying Fish is the latest addition to the TBonz Restaurant Group, a family of bar-and-grills and specialty dining destinations that have stood the test of time, in this often fickle resort area, because they seem to have the “Dumbo’s magic feather” of being able to relate to both tourists and locals alike.
There’s just enough schtick and big food portions to satisfy out-of-towners while locals will likely flock here for the same reason they frequent Flying Fish’s elder siblings, Liberty Tap Room & Grill and Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery: the kickin’ happy hours!

To me, Flying Fish will be a “must-do” happy-hour spot. I’m dying to try the seafood nachos with pan-seared shrimp and tilapia, layered with a black bean and corn relish, and have heard raves about the poblano shrimp dip. I also think I need to make it a personal mission to try all of the 32-ounce goblet drinks at the bar—over time, that is.

Flying Fish Public Market & Grill
4744 U.S. Hwy. 17 South at
Barefoot Landing
North Myrtle Beach
(843) 663-3474
Open daily at 11 a.m.
Extended Happy Hour from 4-8 p.m.