Sneak Peek at GW Fins

The new restaurant GW Fins' officially opens tonight, but I was able to get a sneak peek dinner last night. Super lawyer Bill Diehl held court at one table while power couple Jim and Mary Lou Babb enjoyed their own quiet dinner. We also spotted PR whiz Ellison Clary and his wife Linda Gallehugh, who runs Teen Health Connection.

This is only the second location outside of New Orleans for the upscale seafood restaurant. We had the lobster dumplings (excellent and rich), two good salads, the grouper with lobster chunks and mashed potatoes (very good) and the smoked Hawaian Bigeye Tuna (also very good). We also tried the interesting mashed sweet potatoes with vanilla, bourbon, and bananas–very New Orleans. The inside was elegant but not knock-your-socks-off–although the bubble-inspired chandeliers are really cool. They completely reconfigured the old Palomino space (in the O'Dell building downtown at 9th and Tryon), moving the bar against the front windows, creating two dining rooms with lots of nooks and crannies (although I don't recommed the tables way in back near the noisy kitchen, unless they add some soundproofing).

The PR rep tells me that a good deal of the menu will change nightly, depending on what fresh catch is available. Entrees run in the $20s and $30s. We also enjoyed the wine list, which offers 70 by the glass, listed progressively from light-bodied to full and rich. Here's the restaurant's web site: . —R.T.