A Lynchburg staple for more than 20 years, Blue Marlin Seafood Market boasts one of the best selections of seafood in the area.
Depending on the day, customers can walk out of the market on Bedford Avenue with anything from fillets of salmon and catfish to soft-shell crabs and littleneck clams.
Blue Marlin recently went through a rough patch when its owner and general manager James West died in July.
The restaurant has since reopened with West’s longtime business partner Angel Olds at the helm. It also features a new, pared-down menu, which Olds says focuses more on cooking the fresh fish the market has in-house.
Many old favorites have made the cut, including the much-loved fish tacos ($9.99 — $11.99).
Blue Marlin offers a choice of tilapia, shrimp, salmon fillet or ahi tuna. Whichever you pick, each one is blackened and cooked in a cast-iron skillet — a process that allows the spices to bloom, producing a heat that lingers after every bite.
The freshly cooked seafood is served in a soft tortilla with a mix of greens, tomatoes, corn, red onion and pepper along with a bag of jalapeno kettle chips.
For an additional $1.50, you can upgrade your side to fries, broccoli salad or shrimp mac ‘n’ cheese, among other options.
Fresh lime wedges placed on top of the tacos add a punch of acid that cuts through the blackening spices, but if you like the heat, make sure to spoon on some of the chipotle aioli that comes on the side. It’s creamy with a kick.
If you’re willing to dish out a bit more cash, make sure you order the hush puppies ($3.50). You get six morsels of fried, doughy goodness, a touch smaller than a golf ball, with each order.
Blue Marlin’s cooks say the ingredients in these puppies include sweet Vidalia onion and seafood breading, so you get a sweet and tangy combination in every bite.
Unlike the market’s tacos, this fried side leans more toward the sweet end — it’s served with a plastic ramekin of honey perfect for dipping, after all.
Emma Schkloven covers arts and entertainment for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5489, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @byEmmaSchkloven.