Smokin Fins serves diverse mix of dishes - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Smokin Fins serves diverse mix of dishes

November 20th, 2017 development
Smokin Fins serves diverse mix of dishes


Picking out a place to go for dinner can be tricky when people try to find food to please everyone in their family or group of friends.

Smokin Fins, North 54th Street in Chandler, might be the solution for anyone seeking a fun place for a family dinner, lunch with co-workers or date night.

Its blend of sushi and other seafood, along with Mexican, Italian, American and Spanish-influenced lunches and dinners can satisfy a variety of palates and cravings.

The restaurant, part of a national chain, opened in March just east of I-10, in the building that used to house Stingray Sushi.

Part of the Fins restaurant group based in Idaho that also includes sister eatery Lucky Fins Seafood Grill, it touts “house-smoked” and “ocean-fresh” food.

Diners can sink their teeth into seafood risotto, lobster tater tots, a Tokyo salad, mahi mahi tacos, a Southwest poki bowl and bison burgers, among other choices for conservative or adventurous eaters.

“Our menu is a smorgasbord,” said Nate Ingersoll, operating partner for the Smokin Fins in Chandler. “It’s all over the place. There’s something on the menu to please everyone.”

One thing the menu items at the Chandler spot have in common is they are made with produce local to Arizona. Half of the beers on the menu are Arizona brews.

“We’re a small, independent restaurant,” Ingersoll said. “When we can support local, that’s what we do.”

The fresh food offers lots of choices for health-conscious customers of all ages, including grass-fed burgers on the children’s menu.

The meals and appetizers have vibrant colors and many have some type of seafood in them. The cioppino, a seafood stew reportedly started by Italian-American fishermen in San Francisco, features the fresh fish of the day, Manila clams, mussels and shrimp in a red wine tomato broth.

A popular dish to share is the lobster stuffed avocado with a tempura-fried half avocado filled with lobster-crab salad, sriracha, spicy aioli, eel sauces, tobiko, green oinions and sesame seeds. The Tokyo salad has sushi rice, mixed greens, edamame, avocado, cubed raw salmon, ahi tuna, ebi shrimp and wasabi soy dressing.

Smokin Fins has many different types of sushi, including the popular Sunset Roll, which has tempura shrimp, ahi tuna and habanero cream cheese rolled inside and avocado, salmon, tobiko, orange, eel sauce and spicy aioli on top.

The Mexican influence is obvious in the various tacos, as well as the Baja Enchilada Stack, which includes blackened shrimp, bell pepper and onion with cheddar jack cheese, poblano cream sauce and bacon ranchero sauce topped with pico de gallo inside of house-made corn tortillas.

Those who have a taste for Mexican food also can try the Baja chicken salad, which offers blackened chicken, mixed greens, pico de gallo, roasted corn relish, avocado and cheddar jack cheese.

Meat lovers also have lots of choices at Smokin Fins.

The Prime, shaved house-smoked prime rib with smoked Gouda, sautéed mushrooms and onions on a garlic toasted baguette, as well as a classic cheeseburger, bison Cobb burger and pulled pork sandwich are on the menu.

A buffalo burger comes with smoked Gouda cheese and herb mushrooms and customers can also order smoking ribeye, Berkshire pork osso buco and Kahlua pig, a slow-smoked artisan Berkshire pork tossed in Dr Pepper Bourbon BBQ.

The sushi prices range from $7.99 to $14.99, while the tacos and bowls cost between $11.99 and $14.99. Appetizers or “crave and share” choices cost from $5.99 for edamame to $26.99 for 12 oysters on the half shell. A classic cheeseburger costs $10 while the smoking ribeye steak is $24.99.

The menu had been adapted to meet customers’ demands, Ingersoll said.

Three friends – Derek Hood, the operations owner, along with his partners Dave Stearns and Dave Schmiley – started Lucky Fins Seafood Grill in late 2011 with the idea of creating a fun restaurant where they would like hanging out, he said.

They opened the first Lucky Fins in Meridian, Idaho, and it was “like a neighborhood fish joint” with sushi and other seafood, Ingersoll added.

He said customers would say how much they loved Lucky Fins, but how they couldn’t bring all their family members there because they didn’t all like sushi and seafood.

So the owners bought a small smoker for the Boise, Idaho Lucky Fins and started cooking bison, ribeye steak, smoked brisket and smoked salmon.

Smokin Fins grew out of the Lucky Fins concept. Besides the Chandler spot, Smokin Fins also has restaurants in Littleton, Fort Collins and Arvada, Colorado.

The restaurant in Chandler is in an attractive location just down the road from Ahwatukee, Ingersoll said.

He and his staff aim to attract families coming after Little League and soccer games, as well as couples on date nights, folks watching games on TV in the bar and professionals from local companies talking business over lunch.

“There’s a really great community feel,” Ingersoll said. “It feels like you’re part of a town. From the second they walk in, they want to feel like they belong. You want to just give a welcoming presence.

“We wake up every morning and we throw a party. It’s a blast. Our staff enjoy being here. We don’t stifle their creativity.”

He and the manager of the Chandler Smokin Fins, Sarah Rensch, along with the kitchen manager, Carlos Escudero, all live in Chandler. Ingersoll said the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce have “taken us in and been so awesome to us.”

Gary and Sandy Hopkins of Maricopa are regulars at Smokin Fins. The food and the staff members keep them coming back every week for happy hour, Gary said.

“The food is fantastic,” he said. “The food’s always changing” and the ambiance is “bright, open,” Gary added.

Said Sandy: “I think it’s really the people. They’re very friendly. It’s like ‘Cheers.’”