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Sunday, April 30, 2006


Polly's - Great Seafood in the Heart of Appleton

Jan. 2007 update: Polly's is no longer! I'll soon provide an update on the new restaurant there. But Polly's will be missed!

For our anniversary last week, my wife and I tried a place we hadn't been to before but thought would be special and not too expensive. Our expectations were exceeded by Polly's Restaurant & Pub. Polly's is at 201 North Appleton Street (see map) next to Apollon and across from the Appleton Public Library. I kick myself for not going there sooner!

Polly's has a casual environment with a tropical decorating theme, heavy on parrots with a couple of quirky four-foot-tall Christmas nutcrackers near the window. Quirkiness is something I like in a restaurant! But not as much as I liked the food. Polly's gets my award for the best appetizer in Appleton: steamed mussels in a tangy curry sauce loaded with exquisite fresh garlic. There are several versions of their mussels to choose from, but I can't imagine anything could be better than the curry form. In any case, the mussels were more tender than any I've had in recent memory. Many places overcook mussels, resulting in a rubbery mass. But Polly's were perfectly and lightly steamed, making them tender and succulent. Mmm! And the curry sauce was so good, I would enjoy a meal with nothing but the curry and some rice.

The soup and salad that came with the entrees were excellent. The soup was a perfect Manhattan chowder nicely seasoned with a fresh, heart taste from the tomatoes and other veggies mingled with seafood. The garden salad was above average, with a balsamic vinaigrette just the way I like it - a bit heavy on the balsamic side.

For entrees, I ordered blackened mahi mahi with a raspberry sauce - wonderful mixture of flavors and nicely cooked. The veggies were also great, although the spears of asparagus were raw - I prefer them cooked and somewhat tender.

My wife had a shrimp jambalaya with jumbo shrimp nicely grilled. It wasn't the best jambalaya I've had - but were actually nearly full just from the one appetizer we shared, the bread, the soup, and the salad. It was good - but those mussels were a hard act to follow.

No room for dessert, but I plan to go back and may be able to learn more.

The great food and casual environment, coupled with good service, puts Polly's on my list of great spots for entertaining visitors and having serious discussions or just plain fun.