Best Seafood Restaurant (2002)

9 Fish, Asian Fusion Sushi and Robata Bar

Frisco is a long way to travel for good seafood. But hell, so is the ocean, and it's much harder on pickup trucks than the asphalt and browned prairie grass of the northern most reaches of the metroplex. 9 Fish, so named because the number means good luck in much of Asia, is a fascinating clash of highly disciplined culinary craft and freewheeling protocol, all executed with some of the ugliest critters ever seen outside a Jerry Springer installment. A display case stores an assortment of fish, giant prawns, clams and live geoduck--the giant clams from the Pacific Northwest that flaunt 18-inch siphons from their measly 3-inch shells, which are held together with rubber bands. This place can be exhilaratingly exotic, serving sculpted Japanese foie gras (monk fish liver) and giant whole prawns tossed and turned on the robata grill. 9 Fish also serves sushi: cool, firm and silky without any sinewy strands to get tangled between your crowns. The flesh literally dissolves between your cheeks. Seared peppered tuna, perched on black sticky rice and "escorted by fresh field greens," arrives as two tall pink wedges rising out of the dark rice like coastal palisades. In the mouth the fish behaves like pristine slivers of ocean silk. It's hard to get seafood better than this without a snorkel and an airline ticket.

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