Seafood and Barbecue Under One Roof in Fort Collins, Colorado

Smokin Fins serves up generous portions of seafood, sushi, and barbecue
Smokin Fins

Ron Stern

A 24-hour marinade adds a flavorful kick to the restaurant's fried chicken.

Is it really possible to have three restaurants under one roof and do it all well? Judging from the online reviews, the answer is yes at this extension of the Lucky Fins brand. Tucked into a corner at the gateway entrance of the newly remodeled Foothills Fashion Mall, Smokin Fins offers palate-tempting dishes of seafood, sushi, and barbecue.

What started as the restaurant concept Lucky Fins in Meridian, Idaho, has now grown into six locations in multiple cities, including Boise; Littleton, Colorado; and Chandler, Arizona. The mini-chain offers fresh, local ingredients alongside affordable seafood as well as burgers and sandwiches. Smokin Fins added an industrial smoker to offer brisket, sausage, pork, and salmon. Using its proprietary rubs, the chefs create mouth-watering, tender meat that adds a wow factor to the experience.

The décor is clean and modern with brick and wood-lined walls and a large, full-service bar in the middle of the space. There is ample table and booth seating in a pleasant atmosphere overlooking the courtyard of the Foothills Fashion Mall.

Start with a libation such as the pineapple mule with Captain Morgan pineapple rum, pineapple juice, ginger beer, and mint ($9). The menu features quite a few starters but tread lightly with the entrees — they are large and almost enough for two.

General manager and chef Justin Morris pays attention to detail in his creations. The Key lime calamari, for instance ($11.99), is sourced from the Town Dock in Port Judith, Rhode Island. Using a small fleet, the company provides sustainable seafood recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and ensures that the highest quality production standards are followed.

For sushi, try the Mango Tango Roll ($13.99). No skimpy portions here as it is a meal in itself. This colorful concoction is chock-full of tempura shrimp and crab and topped with avocado, panko, mango, eel sauce, spicy aïoli, and a bit of heat from habanero masago.

One of the most popular seafood dishes is the lemon caper halibut ($24.99). Alaskan halibut is served over the signature risotto with a lemon-caper beurre blanc sauce and fresh Roma tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan cheese.

Of course, don’t leave without trying some of the smoked meats, which change on a daily and weekly basis. But one of the top-selling items is the kālua pig ($13.99). The meat is slow-smoked for 10 hours, blended with Dr Pepper bourbon sauce, and accompanied by loaded mashed potatoes and house-made pinto beans.

If sushi, seafood, or smoked meats aren’t your thing, then try the 24 Hour Nashville Chicken ($14.99). This local favorite features a golden-fried chicken breast marinated for 24 hours in a secret blend of buttermilk and spices, including one that adds a little kick. It is served with mashed potatoes and house beans.

If you still have room for dessert, then the bread pudding, topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream is a good choice ($6.99). Made on site with chocolate chips instead of raisins, this bread pudding has made fans of non-believers.

With all the tempting choices at Smokin Fins, one thing is certain: Guests won’t leave hungry. With great service, quality products, and attention to detail, Smokin Fins has upped the ante for excellent, affordable food in Fort Collins.

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