The Fish

Everybody comes to Florida in the winter…

"The Fish," from Make It Like a Man!

But I like to take the road less traveled, so I came in August. For sushi.

Anna Maria Island was settled in the late 19th century, the same year that nearby St. Petersburg was incorporated. In that very same year, in another St. Petersburg, far, far away, Tchaikovsky premiered The Nutcracker. A hundred years later, I saw the San Francisco Ballet’s all-male version of The Nutcracker. Not far after the turn of the 21st century, here I am, frolicking in Anna Maria’s coastal waters. Three centuries of the circle of life.

I cannot fully describe the heat and humidity of a Florida summer. At night, it feels like a dark steam room, and in the daytime, it feels like a steam room under a heat lamp. The gulf water is astonishingly warm – 90f˚F. (That first “f” stands for … well, you know what it stands for.) With oppressive surface heat drenching me in sweat, and an ocean nearly at body temperature, there seems to be little appreciative difference between being on land or in water. I’m pretty sure I went for a swim today, but I can’t be sure whether it was before, during, or after my time at the beach.

And what has all of this put me in the mood for? Well, air conditioning, for one. But other than that, drinking. Yes, I will drink away the heat and stuff myself full of sushi at The Fish in nearby Bradenton. Here’s my review.

"The Fish," from Make It Like a Man!


The Fish

436 12th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205

Bradenton’s super-cute Old Main Street complements Anna Maria’s “old Florida” charm. Of all the eating (or, let’s face it, mainly drinking) establishments along this little strip, The Fish stood out to me precisely because sushi isn’t charming. It seemed a little misplaced, and I feel a little misplaced: a good fit.


I was tempted to drink my way through several of the interesting signature cocktails on the menu, but The Nautilus was so good, I stuck with it.

The Nautilus – crisp pisco, orange liqueur, lemon, appetizing Augusta Bitters, pinch of salt, garnished with a lemon wedge and two brandied cherries. A complex and refreshing character, worthy of the name. The Nautilus has a subtle sweetness/sourness over a moderately dry backdrop. It’s flavor profile is a lot like grapefruit juice: it confuses you with sweet and sour intertwined, and leaves you with a most pleasant, tonic-like finish. It’s far more nuanced, though, and is lighter and more exotic than grapefruit. $8

Sushi Rolls

Mexican Roll – fried shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, eel sauce, spicy mayo. I don’t have words for how delicious this was. The warmth of the shrimp against the luxuriousness of the cheese and mayo just made me want to, I don’t know, cuddle with it. $8.65

Biscayne – crab salad, avocado, cucumber, topped with spicy mayo, sriracha sauce, and shrimp. Yum, and perhaps one of the best uses of sriracha I’ve experienced. $10.95

It’s my duty, to God and country…

As I was finishing up my meal, the chef came to chat, and poured me a cup of dry Irish stout. He reminded me that drinking is a constitutional right (the 21st amendment) – although he seemed to take it as more of a mandate – and made reference to the Wesleyan nature that was at the forefront of Arthur Guinness’ character, which was infused into the Guinness business. He went so far as to liken Guinness to holy water, and asserted that we have a sacred duty to partake of it. Then he proclaimed, nearly shouting, as he raised his glass, “Refusing to drink Guinness would be both unconstitutional and ungodly! To God and country…” Hear, hear!

Kevin Maleady crafts a spider roll with a soft shell crab at The Fish, 436 12th St. W. in downtown Bradenton. GRANT JEFFRIES, Bradenton Herald

Kevin Maleady crafts a spider roll with a soft shell crab at The Fish.
GRANT JEFFRIES, Bradenton Herald

The Fish

Bradenton suffers from being “not Sarasota,” but don’t let that discourage you – especially if you like nothing better than tooling around your gated retirement community in a golf cart. Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man! unless otherwise credited. Clicking on images will enlarge them, probably. This content was not solicited, nor written in exchange for anything. The Fish did not invite me to write this post, nor did they comp my food. The sushi chef did give me a small glass of stout, but I think he did that just because he saw how expertly I handle chopsticks.

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23 thoughts on “The Fish

  1. I had to laugh, your description of Florida is spot on, I just can’t take it. I was there in April and the humidity only rolled in on the last day of my visit, and I was done! I thought I was used to it, but not quite!
    Do they make the spicy crab rolls with real crab? Here, it is usually that fake crab and that just makes me angry, very angry indeed!

    • Yeah, I’d been there plenty of times in winter when I thought it was hot, but I was so unprepared for summer! May I never do that again! One great thing about being down there, though, the seafood is good.

    • That guy was … well, I don’t know if he just had a big personality, or it was a bit inflated by the Guinness he’d already been drinking!

  2. So you’re a chopsticks expert, eh? I think we need a video to prove it! Also, tackling sushi in Florida in August was a brave adventure, but it looks like you came out on top. That sushi (and that drink) sound quite delicious! Also, cheers to the Guinness! Not what I would’ve expected at a sushi restaurant, but still sound advice nonetheless.
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables

    • Ah! A challenge! Throw down your glove, eh? (Or your chopsticks?) Yes, it was a weird adventure all round.

  3. I know Anna Maria island well — lived in Tampa for a decade. Although the time to visit is January or February, not the summer! You actually do get used to the heat and humidity, although now that I’ve moved away I wouldn’t want to live there again! 🙂 Fun read — thanks.
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…Peach and Chipotle Gazpacho

    • Couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been there many times in the winter. I’d never been there in summer, though – and I don’t think I’ll go there in summer again!

    • We’ll take you up on that one of these days. I’ve been there several times over the years, and have always loved it.

  4. Summer in Florida? You’re a braver man than I, Jeff. My parents are “snow birds” who go down to Naples every winter. They tell me that by the time they head back north in April, it’s already getting unbearably hot (for them at least). I can only imagine the heat in mid-August! But a nice cool Guinness would definitely help… with or without the sermon. 😉
    Frank recently posted…Melanzane al cioccolato (Chocolate Eggplant)

  5. We lived in North Florida for several years-a very long time ago. After we left I pledged never to go back-especially in summer. I always know when the humidity is high because my upper lip sweats. In which case that would be a good time for Guinness. And sushi. Sounds great!
    Abbe@This is How I Cook recently posted…S’mores with Nuts

  6. I love sushi but never really order it out, don’t know why. For some reason I have the mis-conception that it is a not a “full meal”. Those roles sounds delicious though, and making me rethink my thinking on sushi…

    • I’m picking up what you’re laying down, Kevin. When I go out for sushi, which is always – because I don’t know how to make it, I think of it like tapas. You order and eat, order and eat, order and until you’re satisfied. You can get quite stuffed full of maki rolls.

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