Discovering Fisher’s nestled in the Orange Beach Marina on Alabama’s Gulf Coast is akin to finding an unblemished Junonia shell washed up on the nearby white sandy shoreline. Rare. Unexpected. Exhilarating. Fisher’s is in a gorgeous setting with a truly exceptional menu created by a chef with an obvious passion for cooking.
Owner Johnny Fisher teamed up with Chef Bill Briand to start Fisher’s in 2013. In both 2014 and 2015, Southern Living Magazine recognized Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina as one of the Best Restaurants in the South. It is sure to be on the 2016 list as well. With the vision and hard work of Fisher and Briand, it has risen to the top quickly. On February 19, 2016, another impressive credential was added when Chef Bill was named a semi-finalist in the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef category for the South region. You will be able to detect his Louisiana roots in the seasonings he chooses, and maybe a hint of Emeril Lagasse’s influence will be evident, considering the fact that Lagasse mentored Briand for eight years.
Try to time your arrival for a little while before sunset in order to take in the view of the yachts floating in the tranquil water surrounding the restaurant. The building is enhanced by lush landscaping. Inside, the walls consist primarily of white-washed, garage doors with gleaming windows. Those doors make the space very versatile and work in all seasons — keeping in the heat in winter and opening for breezes in the warmer months. The floors are stained concrete, and the ceiling is painted black with the very trendy exposed ductwork. The Dockside version of Fisher’s is downstairs. It is casual with a moderately priced menu. Upstairs is more elegant and dressy, perfect for celebrating a special occasion. Both are under Chef Bill’s watchful supervision. The food photos in this article are inside the Dockside location. Upstairs has a separate menu and kitchen.
A recent Soup of the Day was carrot ginger, a creamy concoction with a dollop of salsa verde on top. The flavors were blended so that no single ingredient overwhelmed the others. It was light and very pleasing. Leroy Hill’s Coffee and Iced Tea brands, produced in nearby Mobile, AL. are served at Fisher’s, and, of course, there is a full bar.
One of the most popular appetizers offered is a black-eyed pea, garlic and onion hummus topped with green tomato relish and surrounded by homemade pita wedges served warm and fresh. If you normally think of hummus as bland, you’re in for a surprise. This recipe is one-of-a-kind. Don’t miss it. The portion is certainly shareable for two or even four people.
Murder Point oysters can be ordered raw and shucked in season. Salads feature housemade dressings. A particularly intriguing one is pepper jelly vinaigrette.
The Cajun and Louisiana influence is clear as you peruse the menu and find such items as Boudin Balls, Cajun Roasted Oysters, Gulf Coast Courtbouillon (“coo-bee-yon”), shrimp creole and cochon de lait. Amberjack, blackened, grilled or fried, was a recent Catch of the Day served with green onion rice, and Fried Gulf Fish over stone ground grits with black-eyed pea salad sounded very appealing. The light batter on the fried fish was crunchy but not greasy.
A side order of root beer sweet potatoes was too interesting to leave untried. The sweet potatoes were peeled and parboiled until fork tender and then covered with a glaze of root beer and a few other tasty secret ingredients that you will find yourself trying to decipher.
There were several tempting dessert choices, but two that won the race were Cracker Crumb Derby Pie and White Chocolate Coconut Bread Pudding. Both were decadent and worth every calorie.
Johnny Fisher’s staff of managers and servers is outstanding. Your every need will be anticipated and filled. Chef Briand is only thirty-six years old. It is easy to imagine that many great years of outstanding cuisine are in store for diners who make their way to Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama.
For more details, check Fisher’s website.