Eating on the road: Fish with more fish

A broiled seafood combination plate at Pirate’s Cove in Virginia Beach, with a crabcake, scallops and hush puppies.

It wasn’t until the last night of our road trip I thoroughly enjoyed a proper restaurant meal — and it was served with a hearty dose of amusement.

With our families at the circus in Norfolk, my brother in law took me to Pirate’s Cove in Chesapeake, Va., since our first seafood choice, the Lynnhaven Fish House in Virginia Beach, was booked. Instead of upscale and refined, it was simple and slamming. This place shoves a lot of fish out of the kithen, and they’ll do it any way they can.

You can start by ordering the Pile of Pollock, the “house favorite” for dinner. If that’s not enough, add a side of fried flounder for $10. Or you can do what my brother-in-law did, and order the Build Your Own Fried Combo, where he paired the pollock with the flounder.

By the way, it was a whole fried flounder, sans head and tail. Between the flounder and the pollock, there was about 18 ounces of fried fish on that plate.

It’s possible to build an entire meal without seeing a single vegetable, or, for that matter, anything that wasn’t fried. Fried mozzarella, fried chicken tenders and fried calamari line the appetizers menu, and the dessert menu includes apple chimichangas. But there are plenty of more wholesome items on the menu, including fish tacos, Cobb salads and broiled entrees.

And that’s where I spent most of my time, with a giant crabcake with generous lumps broiled alongside nearly a dozen medium scallops, which were beautifully browned and mostly cooked perfectly. They were the best scallops I’ve had away from Jersey. Hushpuppies were excellent, spiked with onion, but I didn’t finish them.

It wasn’t all perfect. A side of spinach casserole lacked the whole casserole part, and black beans were from a can with little, if anything, added. We didn’t even think about dessert, especially when a server walked past with a strawberry shortcake the size of the Stanley Cup. It could have fed eight.

Just another exercise in excess, but one that left us laughing.




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