One of 5 Points newest restaurants is Timoti’s Seafood Shak–which fills a culinary void in the neighborhood, that of fast casual seafood. Surviving in 5 Points means you have to be good and consistent. From what I’ve seen so far, they may well thrive. It’s helpful for Timoti’s that this is not their first location. The major kinks were probably worked out in their Amelia Island locale.
Design-wise, Timoti’s offers something more than the usual aesthetic. It’s clearly fast casual, but there’s an upscale feel nonetheless, probably because of the custom wood work, both on the ceiling and wall paneling, contrasting with the stainless steel of the counter. The walls also feature a moody black and white mural of a boat labeled Timoti’s. Still, there are paper towel rolls on each table, albeit well designed paper towel rolls, not the rickety, pitted and somewhat greasy rolls you would find in actual seafood shack. Timoti’s is pretty much a designer’s concept of what a shack might be like, if they were selling that shack to someone in Amelia Island. That’s not at all a bad thing.
They frequently boast that all their seafood is wild caught on printed material. How you feel about that will depend on how you feel about the sustainability of fish farms and wild catch methodology. This particular selling point is lost on me–I’m here to eat delicious seafood (which I got!), and I know that if a fish farm is well-run, the fish can be delicious, healthy and ecologically sound–or none of those things if it’s badly managed, and the same logic can be applied to wild caught fish, which, when done inefficiently, can cost us tremendously from an ecological standpoint, and isn’t always delicious. In this case though, their fish and seafood is excellent.
Here and there, on places like their website description, you’ll see the word “local” applied generally to their menu, but it looks like it may be something they are phasing out. I know that it’s tremendously difficult to source completely locally when it comes to seafood. (The definition of local according to the localvore movement is within 100 miles). There are a lot of reasons that sourcing seafood locally all the time is very difficult, from economic pressures to supply consistency problems–it’s part of the reason why you might go to, say, a local shrimp festival and find shrimp from the Indian Ocean. It’s actually less sustainable for us to go completely local when the supply outstrips the demand. If you absolutely must have local, you can go for the local catch in their basket selections. Pricing will vary, so it isn’t fixed on the menu.
Marketing aside, Timoti’s does execute their dishes quickly and with skill. This is a counter-order kind of place, so once you order and pay, you get a number and the staff will bring you your meal. The menu is nicely streamlined, and the options are very specific.
The sauce for the poke bowl simply makes the dish–savory and just a little sweet, it makes the rice underneath a delight, a soy ginger mix. There isn’t much tuna to their poke bowl, so we received instructions from the waiter to mix it up a bit so we wouldn’t eat everything on top. For the price, it’s not a terrible amount, and the sauce makes it all worthwhile.
The poke bowl isn’t completely typical of their menu though. You’ll find somewhat trendier items like the poke bowl and fish tacos along with traditional southern seafood baskets; fried, blackened, or grilled baskets with a side of hush puppy and slaw are the headliners for the menu. We can highly recommend the blackened shrimp. You can also enjoy with a local brew or a bit of wine, since they have a beer and wine license.
The bottom line on Timoti’s is this: quality seafood, cooked quickly in the nicest of shacks.