747 N. Campbell Station Rd
Captain Ernie's Fish House Restaurant,
- 747 N. Campbell Station Rd
- Open Sunday-Wednesday 10:30-8:00, Thursday-Saturday 10:30-9:00
After 20 years as a commercial fisherman, Ernie Rodriguez handed off his boat to other family members and moved to East Tennessee. He wanted a "land-based job" for his family - wife Lyana, who is co-owner of their small, casual restaurant, and their four sons (ages 13, 10, 3 and 2). For the last six months, he has been serving fresh seafood - shipped twice weekly - in Farragut. The family is happy to be in Knoxville: "a great place to raise a family." "We're local now," he says.
Rodriguez describes the restaurant, which serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, as "a simple place." Simple, maybe, but the freshness of the fish elevates the simple dishes to a higher level.
The creamy, golden lobster bisque is a great starter as are the sweet, meaty stone crab claws available October-May. Other appetizers include blackened dolphin fingers, coconut shrimp and calamari. Everything is made from scratch, including the cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and cornbread squares studded with sweet corn. The Key Lime Pie on pastry crust, topped with meringue, made from a family recipe, is sold by the slice or the pie.
The seafood choices include catches of the day served pan-sauteed, baked, fried, blackened or jerked; fish or shrimp sandwiches; Caesar salad with a choice of salmon, shrimp, or mahi mahi; butterfly jumbo shrimp served fried or broiled with butter and white wine; and daily chef's specials, such as the Mooney Harbor Catch, which features a tantalizingly spicy sauce.
The fried tostones, sweet plantains and juicy black beans reflect the family's Cuban heritage. Churrasco steak and grilled mojo chicken offer interesting alternatives, but fresh seafood is the highlight of the menu.
Pan-Sauteed Yellowtail Snapper - This is the restaurant's signature dish: yellowtail snapper sauteed with butter, lemon and sherry.
Super GroupER Sandwich - Thick pieces of lightly fried grouper are served between slices of toasted bread. Captain Ernie's special sauce sets it off to perfection.
Shrimp Basket - These large, crunchy, golden-fried shrimp come with lots of French fries and a little cole slaw. It' s a good meal for one and a starter for two or more.