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Paddlefish restaurant is a culinary cruise

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

I had been to Fulton’s Crab House a handful of times during its fairly long stay at was once Downtown Disney.

It was a fine restaurant, serving up a nice variety of seafood at its forever-docked steam boat. Long-time residents and Disney fans also will remember this was once the Empress Lily, way back when.

But while Fulton’s Crab House was a good place to go, for that special occasion, maybe through the years, the experience became less memorable.

Fast-forward to 2017, and Fulton’s is gone and in its place is a boat of whole different color and setting and name, Paddlefish. And the experience too, just might be unforgettable.

The Levy’s restaurant team has done a remarkable job with the place. This restaurant still will never go anywhere, it is still a building, masquerading as a ship. But this sleek, modern yacht design is ready to take you on a cruise that will be an adventure in dining — make that three adventures, one for each deck of Paddlefish.

When you see those seafood boil pots gleaming, and the displays of fresh crab and shellfish waiting to become your next meal, it may be hard to even leave the first deck.

Everything is behind glass here in the boil room, and you can try the seafood boil or order up something on your own. There is plenty of seating and nearby bar where you can order a signature drink, as well as beer or wine.

Paddlefish officially opened Saturday, but at this sneak preview event, we got to sample the typical seafood boil with shrimp, clams, mussels and corn. This is a great way to start your dinner (there also is a lunch menu) at Paddlefish, before selecting an entrée later. There are lots of options including blue crab, crawfish, king crab, queen crab, clams, mussels, gulf shrimp and lobster. Some of the items are, of course, seasonal. The seafood boil ranges in from $25 to $45. Other seafood boil items also are available on the main menu.

The boil can certainly suffice for dinner, but there are still two more decks to explore at Paddlefish.

The second level is the main dining area, or make that dining areas. The level features lots of wood and windows, in keeping with that yacht theme, but the rooms are compartmentalized for a warm, intimate dining experience.

There are some 30 entrees on the dinner menu. Add to that nearly 20 starters/appetizers and about a half-dozen soups/salads.

Our sneak look included a lot of food, not to many of the entrees, but obviously, it will take several trips to Paddlefish to really get to know the place.

I really liked Paddlefish’s take on guacamole. Even if you are not a fan of the avocado, this just might make you change your mind. Made table-side, fresh Maine lobster makes this an incredible stand-out. It is $28. Also from the appetizer menu is the lowly corn dog, which gets a wonderful transformation, again thanks to Maine lobster. It is $15. Other appetizer choices include Maine mussels, market fresh oysters, stuffed clams, charred octopus and crab fries. Yes fries. These are hand cut potatoes with lump blue crab and dressing. Amazing.

The entrée selections do include items like filet mignon, half-chicken and lamb tenderloin, and while they may be incredibly good, they are only on the menu because Aunt Bessie hates seafood and the family couldn’t get her here otherwise. Some of the seafood entrée selections include Alaska boil; catfish; Faroe Island Salmon, Cracker boil (a Florida selection); fish & chips; lobster risotto; Maine lobster and that signature stand-out classic, the lobster roll. We got to sample a mini-version of this Maine staple. Make that three or four mini-versions. The entrée size features 20 oz. of Maine lobster and butter, served in the traditional split top bun. $31.

I may have saved the best for last, at least if you want great views and a nice setting. It is all happening on deck three, the place you want to be as the sun goes down. There is a late night menu that includes many of the same appetizers found elsewhere at Paddlefish (guacamole, crab cake, crab fries etc.) as well as most of the entrees.

With live music and those sensational views, it also is the best place for one of those cocktails as well. You can check out the entire menu, there was so much there was not space for, at http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/dining/diningdetail.cfm?restaurant.id=82. And find out more information and make reservations at http://www.paddlefishrestaurant.com/.

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