Ocean Grill & Bar | Review

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

I love eating at Duval Square because it is a comfortable atmosphere with great restaurants and (drum roll) parking in Key West!  Ocean Grill & Bar recently opened after the owners of the New York Pasta Garden, also located in the square, bought the space and opened a seafood specific restaurant. With friends in town, four of us headed down to try out this new eatery on Friday night. To be safe, we did make reservations, always a good idea when dining in Key West.

When we arrived the restaurant was still a little quiet, so we were able to choose indoor or outdoor seating. Since my little Maltese, Indiana Bones, was not with us, we opted to eat inside. The decor is sleek and modern, and the acoustics were good so we did not have to shout at one another to be heard! Right off the bat, the hostess and the wait staff that we met were all very friendly and they were all very good looking too; it was like we walked into a photoshoot. I am pretty sure that if our waiter, Shawn, could make a pretty good living as a model if he got tired of doing what he is doing.

Wedge salad

Wedge salad

Once seated, we ordered drinks all around. The guys ordered manly cocktails while us girls each had a glass of wine. And these were not your average skimpy glass of wine. The glasses were filled to the top and by the middle of the meal we were both just a little tipsy. I think that Shawn said that they do a 16 ounce pour with all of their wine servings!

To start, we ordered the lobster bisque, the shrimp and grits, the calamari, and the wedge salad. I did not have a favorite out of these as they were all stand out dishes.

The lobster bisque had a hint of sherry mixed with the rich and creamy tomato and lobster soup, topped with poached lobster; it was simply mouthwatering. I have been dreaming about this bisque ever since!

Lobster, shrimp and scallops over pasta

Lobster, shrimp and scallops over pasta

The shrimp and grits was one of the best renditions of the dish that I have ever had; there were four large local shrimp grilled with a chili lime butter and served over cheese grits with a roasted corn butter sauce.

The calamari was something that I think even people that do not like calamari would enjoy. This dish was not at all chewy, and the chili honey garlic sauce that it was tossed with mingled sweet and spice perfectly.

The flavors of iceberg lettuce topped with bacon, onions, cherry tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese and a roasted garlic blue cheese dressing melded  together to make this simple wedge salad special.

After this we were all pretty full, but we decided to try a few other things on the menu. We followed up our amazing starters with a caprese salad, lobster, shrimp and scallop pasta, seafood risotto, and more shrimp and grits.

Seafood Risotto

Seafood Risotto

The fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, baby greens and basil with a balsamic reduction and olive oil made a delicious caprese salad.

The pasta dish was huge, and since we already feasted on so many appetizers around the table, we did have some left overs here. The pasta was prepared al dente and the seafood which included sautéed lobster, shrimp and sea scallops along with fresh baby spinach and sun dried tomatoes in a sherry tinged cream sauce and was very rich and very delicious.

The seafood risotto was also a very large portion, so we had leftovers here as well. The risotto was creamy and flavorful on its own. But served with perfectly sautéed lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic and topped with grated Parmesan cheese made this dish amazing.

Calamari

Calamari

I don’t even know what dessert options there were since we were ridiculously full after all of this. But I can tell you that we will be coming back again. There are some other dishes that I would love to try! Not to mention having a few of these other ones again. They also serve breakfast at Ocean Grill and Bar!

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West or the rest of the Florida Keys, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog.

And to see what is happening on Key West 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
Key West Concierge

Rooftop Cafe | Review

Snapper Special

Snapper Special

Our friends were recently visiting from out of town and we wanted to take them to dinner someplace quiet so that we could catch up with them without having to yell above the noise that is inherent to many downtown eateries. It had been a long time since I last ate at Rooftop Cafe, of which I had great memories. Located on Front Street in the heart of historic Key West, the atmosphere is “Keysy” yet elegant and fit the bill for what we were looking for.  The outdoor rooftop seating provides wonderful views of the downtown area (with this in mind, reservations are highly recommended for the daily brunch and dinner crowds).

The weather was perfect for outdoor dining, so we requested outside seating at a table overlooking Front Street.

Shrimp Basilico

Shrimp Basilico

After ordering drinks, we decided to try a few appetizers. We went with the pork belly, the calamari, and the shrimp and crab cake. I am not a fan of the fatty consistency typical to pork belly so I did not try this appetizer; our friends thought it was decent, although not outstanding. The calamari was also decent; it was not chewy but it was bland, only to be helped out by the accompanying dipping sauce. Unfortunately, the shrimp and crab cake was awful. It smelled and tasted very fishy and I was worried that I may get sick after eating a single bite.

Being disappointed with the appetizers, we were looking forward to our entrees.  I was torn between the scallops and the bouillabaisse; I went with our waitress’ recommendation of the scallops. In hindsight, I should have gone with the bouillabaisse as I had just eaten the best scallops of my life at Seven Fish a few days prior and I knew that they would be hard to

Scallops

Scallops

compare to.  While the scallops at Rooftop were okay, there were too many competing flavors which overpowered the delicate scallops. My husband ordered the shrimp basilico, a combination of shrimp, fresh basil, plum tomatoes, garlic and olive oil over linguini with parmesan. This was a really good dish. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and all of the flavors melded together. And our friends both ordered the snapper special.  I did not try the snapper, although it looked wonderful and they both enjoyed it.

We thought about trying their key lime pie which has been featured in Gourmet Magazine for dessert, but we decided to cap off the evening simply with coffee instead. They did make a good cup of coffee, and we enjoyed talking with our friends over our coffee.

Shrimp and Crab Cake

Shrimp and Crab Cake

The service at Rooftop was wonderful, as was the view and the entire atmosphere. But the food quality was really lacking in my opinion and not worth a final bill of nearly $300 with gratuity. I think that Rooftop is the perfect place to enjoy fine service, a  relaxed atmosphere, and a few drinks, but it will probably be a very long time before I eat here again.

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West or the rest of the Florida Keys, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews too; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.

And to see what is happening on Key West 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
Key West Concierge

Harbourview Cafe at the Pier House Resort & Caribbean Spa | Review

Delicious creamy conch chowder from the Harbourview Cafe located at the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa.

Delicious creamy conch chowder from the Harbourview Cafe located at the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa.

Sunday my husband and I had friends come into town, so we decided to take them downtown for lunch. We wanted someplace with a nice view and good food. My friend Lee works at the Pier House Resort and he has told me on numbers occasions that the food at the Harbourview Cafe is really good. I thought that it would be worth it to give the cafe a whirl, especially since I send a lot of our clients to stay at the Pier House. Even with the signs pointing the way throughout the property, walking through the resort to find the cafe was a little bit confusing. But it was beautifully landscaped and we were rewarded by a quiet spot next to the resort’s beach overlooking the Key West Harbor. It was a very picturesque setting. We opted to sit outside because the weather was amazing, but there is indoor seating available as well.

Our waiter’s name was Ash and he brought over menus for us to peruse. We all were brought water; then Jennifer ordered a glass of wine, the guys both ordered beers, and I ordered a rare Bloody Mary. When the drinks were brought out we then ordered our food. Everyone but me asked for the burger. I decided that I had to get something different for a better cross section of the menu so I went with their salad with charbroiled sea scallops. The guys also ordered a soup each; Nate ordered the special which was a pumpkin coconut curry and Steven ordered the creamy conch chowder.

A note about the Bloody Mary. I am by no means a connoisseur of these drinks, but I do enjoy them on occasion. This one was not bad. It had a consistency that was a little thin plus a lot of horseradish; I would have been really impressed with it if it had come with a shrimp on the side in addition to the olives as  that would have paired perfectly together. Of course that would also raise the price of the drink I am sure, but I think it would have been worth it.

An amazing salad with charbroiled scallops, dried fruit, and goat cheese crostini.

An amazing salad with charbroiled scallops, dried fruit, and goat cheese crostini.

Back to the food…

The soups were amazing and both guys devoured them, although Jen and I luckily both got a taste of our respective husbands’ soups before the bowls were clean. The burgers, served with fries, were big and they looked amazing. I did not taste them but Jenn, Nate, and Steven all raved about them, and they were so big that nobody entirely finished them either. My salad was gorgeous, piled with fresh greens, ripe tomatoes, dried fruit, and a really delicious basil vinaigrette. There were 4 scallops on top of the salad as well that were perfectly cooked. And there were also a couple of pieces of goat cheese crostini on the side. All together it was a perfect combination and a great choice for a light and delicious lunch.

Ash was quiet at first, but he was a good and attentive server. We asked him if the music could be lowered and he immediately complied which made it much easier for us to converse with each other. And we really enjoyed he view of the harbor and watching all of the beautiful tall ships sailing by as well as the parade of sleek Dream Catcher Charters boats going by as they picked up and dropped off clients at the Pier House dock.

The Harbourview Cafe Burger.

The Harbourview Cafe Burger.

I am very pleased to report that the Harbourview Cafe at the Pier House Resort is an awesome place for one to enjoy a delicious lunch with an amazing view. Breakfast and dinner are also served here. The dinner menu is very similar to the lunch menu. And  the breakfast menu looks amazing; I may have to make this our new breakfast spot!

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews too; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.

And to see what is happening on Key West 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
Key West Concierge