Slapfish: Seafood Hit
In the land of Bonefish, Moonfish and Paddlefish, the name Slapfish shouldn’t raise an eyebrow. “Fish so fresh you could slap it” is the inspiration, and chef/owner Andrew Gruel delivers the seafood-swatting goods.
Gruel, a New Jersey boy with a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University, made his reputation in California with a transient fleet of food trucks, transitioning to a converted bagel shop in 2012.
Slapfish has a focus on lesser-known species like hoki, Chesapeake Bay blue catfish and char. “We deal directly with fisherfolk,” Gruel says, “and we allow our franchisees (there are 21 branches currently) to buy what they want locally.”
Gruel’s taste for the fresh and unexpected exceeds most expectations of “fast casual.” Chowder fries ($7)are a hit—French fries topped with house-made New England (read: white) clam chowder and bacon. Then there’s “clobster” mac ’n cheese ($15), commingling lobster and crab on scratch-made sourdough with Muenster cheese. Maine lobster is highlighted, featured in a luscious lobster roll, a grinder with shrimp and crab, and the surf & turf burger (ranging from $15 to market price).
Sourcing is posted proudly on the wall, but whether you’re an ecosystem advocate or just want some really good seafood, Slapfish is the place. 783 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando. slapfishrestaurant.com