Walking into Anchors Seafood and Ale House around 6 pm on Saturday is a huge mistake, as I learned. The restaurant is only about 10 percent full at that point, but that didn’t stop the hostess from telling us they have so many reservations, the only spot available is at a high top in the bar area. No problem – at least we will be serenaded by the soothing sounds of non-stop doo-wop music.
Half of the name of this restaurant is correct, and it isn’t “seafood.” Ale House is the winning half of this Roswell restaurant. Anchors has a very extensive beer list. I had a Ballast Point IPA which was quite good. What they are lacking, is seafood. That’s not to say that the seafood we had was sub-par, just not much of a choice. Besides shrimp, your choices are Oysters (fried not raw), mussels, crab cakes and Trout. Listed under the “Catch of the Day” was Tilapia. Really?
The food fared much better than I was expecting. The giant onion rings are, gigantic as promised and mighty good, but skip the “Anchors dipping sauce,” an overly spiced cream sauce, and opt for plane ‘ol ketchup. The Rainbow Trout ($18) was incredibly fresh and flaky, even if the presentation lacked any appeal.
My Shrimp Po Boy ($11) was delicious, though I strayed from the normal preparation of a fried shrimp in favor of blackened. I felt the onion ring starter plus the hush puppies I ordered as my side were fattening enough. Speaking of hush puppies, Anchors are very unique. Instead of the standard bready filling, these gave way to a sweet, creamed corn-like center. You can see pieces of corn peeking out of the hush puppies in the picture above. It was good, but so sweet, one or two will do ya. The shrimp were rather large and a generous offering of eight, yes eight, to a sandwich. Though the bread was inferior grocery store variety, the contents of the sandwich were incredible. This time the spiced cream sauce was a better match.
Overall, this restaurant seems to be suffering from some sort of personality disorder. On one hand, it seems to want to be a fun seafood spot with a killer craft beer list, but the god awful music and decor doesn’t match. I would have expected a more rustic decor like Tin Can Fish House in Sandy Springs. On the other hand, I do understand wanting to appeal to an older Roswell crowd. Anchor’s extensive beer list and limited menu probably isn’t going to win them over. On the bright side, our waiter, Julias, was extremely attentive and friendly. If I ever return, I hope he serves me again.