Keeper (noun): 1. a fish large enough to be kept when caught. 2. a person or thing of value to be cherished.
Suckers as we are for puns and bad jokes, The Keeper already had us hooked on name alone. The fresh seafood concept is the latest effort from Front Burner Restaurants (Ida Claire, Twin Peaks, Sixty Vines and the neighboring Mexican Sugar, among others) and recently opened in The Shops at Legacy. Witty names alone can't keep a restaurant afloat, so we set sail to Plano to see if there's more to this fish tale than a clever name. (That's the last of the wordplay. Promise.)
The Keeper offers a light but earthy vibe and a wide open dining room. A large bar sits front and center, and diners can enjoy a show next to the wall of windows that separates the kitchen from the rest of the space. There's also a sizable patio lit by warm globe lights that will surely be popular as the temps cool.
Menus are presented in a bound, iPad-like folio, and clicking on most items on the menu brings up a detailed description. We perused the cocktail menu and found a tiki-heavy list of drinks, from daiquiris to mai-tais. Our waitress informed us that all cocktails are made with fresh ingredients, with a focus on fresh fruits, and syrups, juices and mixers made in house. The Keeper's house-blended rum selections were intriguing. The Navy-strength old fashioned ($14) made with the house dark rum was a pleasant alternative to the usual bourbon old fashioned.
Our waitress suggested the crab cake ($15), which came with large chunks of crab blended with bits of sweet corn, seared, then served with a green goddess dressing. The fresh crab had us looking forward to the rest of the seafood menu. With fresh fish flown in daily, The Keeper had us covered. We tried the sable fish ($27), which was served with a chunky tomato broth and a blend of fresh grilled vegetables. The oily whitefish was the acme of freshness and perfectly grilled to order.
There's a solid selection of nonseafood dishes, including chicken, a waygu strip steak and pork belly ramen that looked amazing in photos. Just two items populate the dessert menu — the bubble waffle sundae with Sweet House ice cream, marshmallow fluff, butter rum sauce and caramelized pineapple, and coconut cream wontons with a chocolate ganache that, judging by the photo on the menu, will surely be dominating your Instagram feed in the near future.
Overall, the prices seem in line with most other seafood restaurants, especially considering the freshness of the seafood we sampled. The attention paid to the cocktail menu is also a welcome addition.
The Keeper, 5840 Legacy Circle, Plano.
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