3 Stars

Street: 500 Henley Street
City: Knoxville
Phone: 865-673-3433

I sometimes forget that nobody really goes downtown, so this past weekend, I actually called and made 7pm reservations at Chesapeake’s. We pulled into their parking lot off Locust and got a spot with no trouble. We walked in and sat down as there was no wait (there was a bit of a crowd gathering when we left). I do not know if this is normal for a Saturday night, but reservations were not needed.

We were in the mood for seafood, and I was totally not in the mood for Red Lobster. After all the time I spent working downtown, I’ve never been to Chesapeake’s. But since there are only two places to get seafood in town (excluding regular restaurants with the random fish item on the menu), Chesapeake’s it was.

If you like shellfish (I don’t), Chesapeake’s is probably the place for you. If you don’t like shellfish (like me) then you have about two items to choose from. We were beckoned by the mention of red snapper (one of my favorites) both on their website and their menu, but as fate would have it, they didn’t have any. So, I could choose from salmon with shrimp or tuna with crab. You can probably already see my dilemma. I was having flashbacks to when someone made me eat at Joe’s Crab Shack.

We both ordered salmon, she with shrimp, and me without. That turned out to be a good thing actually, because, after adding a salad, it was $6 less without shrimp. After ordering, we had time to look around.

We were seated in the middle of the restaurant in a recessed area surrounded by aquariums. The aquariums were a nice touch, although some may argue it isn’t very appetizing to watch fish swim around while eating fish. Our table was very cramped and our oversized chairs combined with our long legs made it difficult to scoot up to the table. However, the gigantic chairs were comfortable when we weren’t eating.

Our salads arrived very promptly, and they were excellent. The vegetables were fresh and they don’t put any pork products on the plate. The salad consisted of several varieties of lettuce, sprouts, almond slivers, and roma tomatoes. The vinnaigrette dressing was quite tasty. The accompanying bread was also good, and I recommend you try the bran muffins.

Almost immediately after we finished our salads, the food arrived. Nobody can argue with fast service. The salmon was excellent, although it had some strange tasteless hollandaise sauce on it.

While we were eating, I commented about how it never made sense to me why someone would order a lobster. It’s so expensive and involves so much work for so little food. About that time, the waitress arrived at the table next to us and placed the food tray right by our table. She then began to systematically dismantle a lobster. It took her about five minutes. Finally, she placed the lobster in front of an 8-year-old boy. “Spoiled little brat” were the first words in my mind. Everybody around the area looked equally amused, especially when the waitress came back with a second lobster and proceeded to dismantle it as well. Now that’s service.

Despite the annoying spectacle of lobster-dismantling, the experience was satisfying. The food was good. The service was good when the waitress wasn’t pulling apart lobsters. We spent about $52 after tip, and that included dinner for two, softdrinks, a glass of wine, and a table-side show.

On the way out, we asked if they had any mints, and the hostess pointed to an empty container on a table. We simply shrugged, grabbed a Metro Pulse, and left. Since we were downtown, a walk up to Market Square was in order, so we were able to burn off a few calories too.

Try out Chesapeake’s if you’ve never been, just be prepared to shell out a little cash.