Rockfish Seafood & Grill serves popular fresh seafood dishes in McKinney

The island mahi ($20) sits on a bed of white rice and is served with sautéed broccoli and two large coconut-crusted shrimp. It is seasoned with volcano sauce and Thai chili sauce. (Renee Yan/Community Impact Journal)

Rockfish Seafood & Grill in McKinney has been around since 2003. McKinney was one of the last establishments to open for the company, which now has 10 restaurants in the Dallas and Houston areas.

“What hasn’t changed at all is food quality,” said Mark Maddock, the company’s longtime vice president of operations.

Seafood, as the restaurant’s name suggests, features prominently in many of Rockfish’s dishes. The menu includes salmon, shrimp, mahi, trout and more served in different cooking styles, Maddock said. But there are also several non-seafood products, such as pasta, barbecued ribs and steak.

“Rockfish was founded as a chef-led concept,” he said. “There are people who started these recipes originally, and most of these recipes are still in place at Rockfish.”

One such recipe is the restaurant’s signature okra, Maddock said.

“This recipe hasn’t changed in about 20 years,” he said. “He has a specific Louisiana roux that we use as a starting point. … After working here for 17 years, it’s something I still eat every day.

Rockfish also offers a full bar and dessert menu. One of the most popular desserts is bread pudding, Maddock said. It starts with French croissants and a baguette. Eggs, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla are added, and the end result resembles a dense cake drizzled with bourbon butter sauce.

Almost everything is cooked from scratch. The restaurant also promotes seasonal recipes showcasing the kitchen’s culinary creativity.

“We have a lot of regulars at Rockfish — a lot of people who come literally twice a week, three times a week,” he said. “So when we change our menu a bit or bring in new items, they get really excited.”

Cooking all these dishes from scratch can be a laborious process, but customers really appreciate the quality, he said.

“It’s the norm for someone to drop their fork, watch [me] and say, ‘This is amazing. It’s fantastic. How do you do that? That’s why I come here because I can’t replicate that at home,” Maddock said.

Dino S. Williams