On the website, the restaurant bills itself as “Decatur’s Finest Fish House.” This is an odd slogan. We are talking Decatur, Georgia, right? Next to Atlanta smack dab in the middle of the state? As land-locked as it gets? Where the only nearby body of water is man-made Lake Lanier?
With decor in weather-washed gray and nautical accents suggesting Maine, Harbour Bar & Fish House makes no locavore claims. Wonderful shrimp may be only hours away at the Georgia coast, but the shrimp could be sourced from anywhere as far as the marketing is concerned.
Its owners want to transport you to Maine, and we were. Sort of. The Restaurant Dieter and his spouse have discovered an excellent new dining option only blocks from the house. We’ll be back. It is Decatur’s finest fish house — and not only because it may be Decatur’s ONLY fish house.
There are abundant fish preparations, of both the low fat and high fat variety. The fried platters and chowders and bisques are balanced by peel-and-eat shrimp, main dish salads and boils based on shellfish, sausage, potatoes and corn. The Restaurant Dieter’s spouse ordered a shrimp boil. It came with hushpuppies, but the server was only too happy to substitute steamed vegetables.
The Restaurant Dieter started with a half-pound of steamed shrimp. They arrived in a stainless steel steamer basket on a bed of seaweed, with a pungent cocktail sauce. The shrimp were a little on the small side, probably in the 21-30 per pound category, but what do you want for 10 bucks? When one is dieting and trying to focus on protein, it’s hard to argue with 28 calories and 0 grams of fat per ounce.
The main-dish Thai salad wasn’t exactly geographically consistent with the theme, but it was a plate of fresh, crunchy vegetables with two skewers of small shrimp on top. The shrimp were grilled with little to no fat and had a pleasantly smoky flavor.
It came with — at my request — the dressings on the side. The low fat soy glaze gave just enough flavor. The curry dressing — curry? — was cast aside.
One could go on about the incongruities at “Decatur’s Finest Fish House,” but that would be missing the point entirely. Blocks from the house, there’s finally a place to stop in for, or take out, a dinner that won’t wreck a diet. I’m perfectly willing to smile and put on my best “ahoy, matey” if it’ll keep this new port open for business.