Last night we met some friends in Marathon for dinner. Annette’s has always been a favorite so we headed there for dinner and drinks. Annette’s has been around for years and years, and that is one of it’s charms. The ground level building located on the Gulf side of the Overseas Highway (US 1 North) has character, with dark wood paneling throughout covered with fishing pictures, you are instantly transported to Old Florida. But you could also count on the food; the menu was more like a book, with half of it being dedicated to desserts! But last night we saw that the menus were new and about half of the options that they used to have.
We were seated fairly quickly and we immediately ordered drink and some appetizers: Calamari, Coconut Shrimp, and Ciabatta Bread, all of which were brought out reasonable fast. After tasting the calamari everyone at the table agreed that it was completely tasteless and had it not been for the marinara which was decent, the dish would have been a total loss. The Coconut Shrimp was served with a pineapple rum sauce and it was delightfully yummy. And the Ciabatta bread was warm and tasty with just enough crunch.
I do not do salad bars, but typically my husband is okay with them. He decided to check it out, but after he got back from visiting it he wondered why he had even bothered. He basically came but with a plate of iceberg lettuce, one cherry tomato a bunch of chopped eggs all covered in ranch dressing. He said that these were the only things at the bar that did not look like they had been sitting there for the last week. So, the salad bar ended up being an epic fail.
For dinner I got the Lobster Bisque and the Bacon & Blue Salad. My husband and our friend Chris both ordered the Shrimp California Pasta, and our friend Mark had the Hogfish Picatta.
The Lobster Bisque was not the best I have ever had, but it was enjoyable enough and of a good, rich consistency. I would have liked for it to have had a few chunks of lobster and to have been finished off with a hint of sherry.
The Bacon and Blue Salad was served on a small salad plate with the salad brimming over the edges. The mixed greens and the cucumbers were fresh, although the tomatoes had seen better days. The bacon was not fresh, but imitation bacon bites which was disappointing to me and I probably would have opted for a different salad had I know that. Also, there was very little blue cheese on the salad which was surprising given the salads name. The dried cranberries and the vinaigrette dressing added a nice finishing touch and helped to mask the fake bacon flavor.
The Hogfish Picatta was delicious. Served with rice and drizzled with a lemon butter sauce, this delicate fish was cooked perfectly and Mark cleaned his plate entirely.
The Shrimp California Pasta was a huge disappointment. The large bowl of fettuccine pasta was covered in a light lemon-herb butter sauce and served with four shrimp, tomatoes, spinach, and artichokes. First of all, seeing only four shrimp in a dish like this was disturbing; Like with the salad, being that it was a shrimp pasta we were expecting at least two or three more. But in the end it did not matter because the entire dish was beyond bland and no amount of salt and pepper or grated parmesan cheese that we had on hand was able to dress it up so most of this dish was left untouched.
After our main meal I was determined to order dessert since that is one thing that Annette’s has been made famous for. I decided to go with the carrot cake and my husband ordered the cheesecake. And we got coffees all around. The coffee was fine; not too bitter and it was fresh, not burnt which is the most important feature to me.
The cheesecake was a normal sized slice of cake, and while the taste was good, although a little too sweet for our tastes, the consistency was soggy and quite off-putting.
The slice of carrot cake was big enough to feed a small country, and as they brought it to me several people at other tables even made comments to me that I must be hungry. I was a little surprised but not in a bad way. I did end up forcing Chris to share it with me though, and even between the two of us we did not put a dent in it. I have to say that this was one of the best carrot cakes that I have ever eaten. It was moist and flavorful and the cream cheese frosting was amazing; just sweet enough and not gritty at all.
Service was not bad for the area, but our main waitress, while friendly, seemed flustered the entire time. She made mistakes with drinks and with whom ordered what. But the strangest thing was that she was having a very difficult time reading us the specials from her notepad; thank God we did not ask her for an explanation or further description of the food because I am certain that she would not have been able to give one.
I have to say that this experience did not live up to all of the other experiences that I have had here in the past. That may have something do to with the owners’ daughter taking over the management; according to our waitress, the daughter went to culinary school and decided to change the menu a bit and while she kept some staples she also took a lot away, making only a few replacements. Or, hopefully, it was just an off-night.
Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West or any of the Florida Keys, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews.
To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.
Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge