My Mom and I went out on Sunday for Father’s day. Since my Dad passed a few years back, we’ve kinda made it into a little family tradition. Usually we go someplace nice because that’s what Mom deserves. This year, I gave her three options to choose from and since she was in the mood for seafood, she picked Fins in Westlake.
Fins – Westlake Blvd. and Townsgate in Westlake Village
I was pretty excited to eat here because I had heard good things. The decor is upscale and the service is professional, if not overly so. We got there on time for our reservation and were sat immediately. Things seemed to be starting off quite nicely.
It has been a long time since I’ve had a waitress put my napkin in my lap for me. I find the practice annoying and was put off when the waitress grabbed my napkin and unceremoniously dropped it in my lap. I was even more annoyed when she did the same thing to my mom. I mean, this is Westlake Village, not Beverly Hills. Here’s my new rule: If jackets aren’t required to dine, don’t touch my damn napkin.
I pushed aside my annoyance and ordered a clam chowder. My mom and aunt had the house salad. They seemed to enjoy theirs and I thought the clam chowder ended up being the best part of my meal. The chunks of clam were large and tender and most importantly, the soup was hot when it got to the table. There’s nothing worse than getting lukewarm soup.
For the main course I ordered the seafood gumbo. My mom and aunt availed themselves of the small plate menu and chose the salmon and sea bass respectively.
This gumbo was not the best I’ve had. It was way too soupy, like it hadn’t reduced enough. Also, it was bland and underseasoned. The dish was supposed to have shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari. It had one shrimp, one mussel, one disgustingly inedible clam that i literally chewed for 3 minutes before giving up and moving on to the boatload of calamari in the dish.
I don’t know if they were trying to cut costs on this dish, but I found it to be mostly soup that I wasn’t going to eat. The rice was decent, but I wish there had been more seafood for the steep price I paid.
My mom enjoyed her salmon. It was served with a balsamic reduction and was a little on the sweet side. I don’t really like salmon, so it’s probably not fair for me to judge this dish on one bite. Still, I thought it was a bit mushy and I would not have ordered it.
On the other hand, I love sea bass. I got a chance to taste Fins’ crusted sea bass over mashed potatoes and found it to be average. My aunt liked it, but I thought the crust was very plain and thought the fish could have been a little less done. This dish was, by far, the best of the three, but that’s not saying much considering how much I regretted my choice.
The one thing I absolutely loved was the fact that I couldn’t empty my water glass. No matter how hard I tried, I didn’t even get to 1/3 full. Of course, it wasn’t our waitress who was pulling the strings on that. It was the great training of the support staff. Honestly, if we had a waitress with a little less westlake attitude, I think it would have been a totally different experience.
Fins has a full bar and good wine selection. It’s fairly expensive for the portion sizes, but if you get a good server and order the right dishes, I think it’s worth visiting. I only wish that I could tell you what to order. Normally I don’t re-visit restaurants after a bad night, but I might make an exception in this case. After all, the service was attentive, even if it was cold. I don’t appreciate being made to feel like I’m not good enough to be served, or my family isn’t classy enough for westlake. If I wanted to feel like I was bothering someone, I’d just give mikey a call.
If you disagree, leave a comment below. Apparently, I was just under the misguided impression that a seafood restaurant was supposed to be good at seafood. What was I thinking?