By Staci Wolfson
Deciding to go to Fins on the Square is like finding $20 in the pocket of a coat you haven’t worn since last year. You’ve forgotten that it’s there, and when you remember, you’re more excited than you’ve been over $20 in a long time.
Fins is a hidden gem – hidden in plain sight, between the two Mamas of Canton Square, Mama’s on the Half Shell and Nacho Mama’s. When thinking of places to eat, I often forget about Fins, opting instead for Baltimore-style seafood classics or giant quesadillas paired with margarita hubcaps.
But just as the two Mamas never disappoint, a restaurant wedged between the two in a popular spot like Canton Square wouldn’t survive if it weren’t as equally delicious as its neighbors. The island-themed restaurant serves up plenty of seafood like its next-door neighbor, but the menu is more Caribbean than Chesapeake. And the décor of the spacious interior – with parrots and palm trees adorning the walls – manages to avoid cheesy and instead hits the right notes to give you that refreshing vacation feeling, especially in the summer when outdoor seating is available.
The choices I made during my first visit to Fins combined for a home run, and every time I visit, I almost always order the savory crock of French onion soup topped with provolone and swiss cheese to start and follow it up with Baja fish tacos, three soft tacos made with mahi mahi, red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, avocado and salsa. Served alongside basmati rice, the tacos have a tangy, fresh flavor that is somehow just as good the next day when I finish the cold leftovers.
On my latest visit with friends, I decided to try some different dishes; the cold weather had me craving comfort food rather than summertime specialties.
We began splitting the mac & cheese, a twist on the old classic with its applewood smoked bacon and bleu cheese recipe. The strong flavor of the bleu cheese combined with the smokiness of the bacon was delicious, but ultimately the dish was quite rich and we were unable to finish it, especially once our main meals came.
I ordered the Ahi tuna, a filet of lightly seared, sushi-grade tuna topped with mango salsa and served with buttery mashed potatoes sautéed vegetables. The tuna was perfectly cooked, and even though I don’t like pineapple, an ingredient in the mango salsa, the flavor combination was refreshingly excellent.
My dining buddies were equally pleased with their dishes, the beer battered coconut shrimp served with orange dipping sauce and the crab and spinach pizza. While I enjoyed my meal that evening, I know I’ll be back for the mahi mahi tacos – which were even better than the ones I had on my last vacation to a more tropical locale. And with a dish like that, I
know it’ll be topping my list of restaurant destinations.
Fins Bar & Grill
2903 O’Donnell Street (Canton)
Baltimore, Md. 21224
Hours: Sun to Thurs 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri to Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sun Brunch 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.