When I was younger my father would gather the whole family and go for hours to get to an “all you can eat” fish joint. They could be nice looking or run down shacks. The only common thread between the places he would choose were lots of fish, simple fresh water fish (perch or catfish), good cornbread, usually in the form of hush puppies, and a reasonable price.
One of the things I’ve never been able to successfully locate in the Atlanta area is a simple, reliable place like that. My father made it seem as if the South (or Michigan, for the few years we lived in the Upper Peninsula) was littered with these kinds of restaurants. After all, he could find them just about anywhere. When I’ve looked, it’s been hard to get fried catfish that was also not greasy. Dry fried catfish is a bit of a find these days.
The Blue Marlin is located on Pleasant Hill Road, a couple blocks east of the I-85 – Pleasant Hill Intersection. I can say that the catfish in Blue Marlin — in my experience — has been both well fried, well spiced, and dry. No, I haven’t tried the entire menu. I could care less about their lobster. I stick to deviled crabs, fried perch, and their salt and pepper catfish. Ok, I tried the flounder once, and it was good too. But mostly I go to this place to remind me of every hole in the wall my father would drag me to.
The hush puppies are good, good enough I’m asked to order extra when I take this food home. Service I’ve had here has generally been good, though with the staff turnover I’ve seen here, I can see why people have complained about the service in the past. To put a slightly different face on it, one of the best dining experiences I ever had came in my first visit here. The waitress was from New Orleans, gabby and excellent. Simply phenomenal. But, as I said, they have a high turnover and I can’t guarantee you’ll get a great waiter or waitress.