|Salmon Pantchartrain at Blue Marlin in Columbia SC|
Have you ever been to the Blue Marlin restaurant in Columbia SC? It’s in an old railroad station in downtown Columbia, just a few blocks from the State House and the University of South Carolina. Inside it has deep stained wood paneling which exudes lots of character; and outside there’s some very nice sidewalk seating that on nights with comfortable weather adds to the already enjoyable meal experience.
As far as the menu is concerned, there’s lots of variety which is supposed to be part of the Low Country cuisine of the Palmetto State. For starters there’s a Charleston Crab Cake, Fried Green Tomatoes and Petite Shrimp and Grits. But on this night, we ordered the Firecracker Shrimp, a generous helping of very lightly battered and fried to perfection (just done), tossed in spicy cherry peppers, and served with a roasted garlic ranch dipping sauce. This appetizer could very easily be ordered as a meal along with one of their side salads such as the Southern Candied Pecan Salad.
For dinner, choose from three cuts of beef—filet, ribeye, New York strip—prepared Blue Marlin’s own special way, or an interesting assortment of seafood prepared Blue Marlin’s own special way as well, or a chicken dish or ravioli. For instance, there’s Oyster & Shrimp Skillet Bienville which includes Apalachicola oysters in a shrimp and Tasso ham cream sauce. Sounded tempting but was passed over for other seafood selections.
At our table were two delicious fish dishes. Mahi Orleans: Fresh Mahi Mahi, topped with shrimp and crabmeat in a wine butter sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans. On my plate was the Salmon Pontchartrain: Fresh Salmon fillet with blackened shrimp and scallops, finished with a mornay sauce and served with adluh grits cakes and sautéed green beans.
The desserts sounded good and the descriptions were tempting such as the Crème Brûlée Cheesecake: Vanilla bean cheesecake with a caramelized sugar topping, vanilla wafer crust and topped with fresh berries and strawberry sauce. But the with shrimp appetizer, the overwhelming portion of the Salmon Pontchartrain, and two brown beers from a local brewery, desserts were left to be imagined for a return visit.
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