By Jamie Miller
Athens, Georgia is not a beach town, which might explain why there are only a handful of seafood restaurants in the city actually worth going to. Chuck’s Fish is one of these.
The dinner-only menu is a mix of Gulf seafood classics, like Gulf seafood gumbo and grilled oysters, and asian fusion, like spring rolls, kimchi brussels and a wide selection of sushi. They also have a large selection of wines and house cocktails.
The restaurant is chic, with dark wooden tables, blue accents and a charming outdoor patio twinkling with string lights. There is a welcoming, upscale beach atmosphere, but perhaps that is unique to the southern college town of Athens, where it is typical to be seated next to sorority girls wearing long dresses on one side with a couple wearing t-shirts on the other side.
As a sushi-lover, I was thrilled about their extensive selection and had a difficult time deciding which to order. Luckily, my well-informed waiter pointed me in the right direction and our table ordered a variety to share: the uptown chicken appetizer, sesame-seared tuna, back-down roll, TNT and the BFF roll, the special of the day. I was really looking forward to the red snapper special, but unfortunately it sold out before we could order it.
The freshness of the fish might trick your tastebuds into thinking you are at a restaurant on the Gulf. The ingredients come straight from Harbor Docks seafood market in Destin, Florida three times a week – and you can tell. The sushi was not only stunning in presentation, but tightly rolled with no shortage of filling. I especially enjoyed the heaping pile of crab salad on top of the back-down roll.
The uptown chicken was comparable to sesame chicken but with more of a tang. But surprisingly, the seared tuna was the first clean plate on the table. It was exceptionally tender and well cooked.
I also ordered the greyhound cocktail, which is a combination of vodka, grapefruit and lime served with a dried grapefruit garnish. I find that cocktails with quality ice cubes are much more satisfying than those that do not, and this one passed the test with large, square, clear cubes of ice. But beware…this cocktail is so crisp that you will be tempted to order a pitcher after the first sip!
The price point is the biggest flaw of Chuck’s, with the average price of a sushi roll hovering around $16 and entrees around $30. It certainly does not cater to the large community of Athens college students. It is possible that shipping costs from Athens to Destin are to blame for the hiked up prices, since Harbour Docks, it’s sister restaurant in Destin, carries a very similar menu for cheaper. Perhaps Chuck’s will expand and begin providing lunch deals, like in the Tallahassee location, to make the restaurant more affordable and accessible to lower income groups.
It is also important to note that this restaurant does not take reservations, which I personally find irritating, especially in a college town where there are parents’ weekends, graduation and other events that require advanced planning.
Overall, I found Chuck’s to be a great place for college students to go for special occasions, but I do not think it is a practical restaurant to attend on a weekly basis. Although the price can be justified by the excellent quality of the food and cocktails, it is simply too expensive for your average college student budget. Despite this, I think the Athens seafood scene desperately needed another contender and Chuck’s is certainly giving other restaurants a run for their money.
Click below to view restaurant website and full menu! https://www.chucksfish.com/athens/
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