Thursday, November 5, 2009

Summerland Wharf

It's been a very long time coming but the old Fishcutters Restaurant has finally returned and is now called The Wharf, on Summerland Key:

Fishcutters was rather rough and ready restaurant in it's original incarnation. Fishing boats came by the canal and sold fish to the ice house that made them available to the public, raw on one side of the room or cooked on the other. There were a few tables and eventually they got a license to sell beer and wine. Then the owner wanted to sell the place so it got tarted up and it languished for a long while as the boom had passed and the place sat empty. After months of rehabilitation the place is back and we've eaten there twice. My wife pronounces it good. She spent the last several years continuing to lament Fishcutters disappearance almost every time we drove by and she has watched the construction work progress slowly. Then one day we got to have dinner there and she finally tasted her favorite BLT sandwich once again. BLT stands for Bacon Lobster and Tomato and it was quite well known in the Lower Keys. She pronounced it as good as ever.The new Wharf is clean bright and cheerful and seems to be supporting some metal artist as fish sculptures are everywhere. Meat is on the menu, which is focused on fish as one might expect. We went for Sunday brunch, a rare treat for us, because we wanted a chance to hang out with Robert and Dolly who live close by. Benedicts seemed to be the thing to order for brunch so we did. I had shrimp:

My wife and Dolly had lobster, complete with body parts:While Robert, the former commercial fisherman who only likes to eat seafood that he catches, contented himself with a ham and cheese omelette. He wasn't exactly sacrificing himself:
The food really was quite good. I am no expert on hollandaise sauce but the one they turn out at the Wharf was excellent spiced up we believed, with some key lime juice. They don't have an espresso machine at the wharf but the coffee suited me just fine, sweet and lots of it in huge mugs. I liked the attention to detail at the Wharf too, from the linen napkins to the full service bar.The owners also seem to be keen to join the 21st century in terms of technology. I found it odd that a two button toilet needed instructions but I guess the rest of the world caught on to this innovation first:The reduce water consumption button: We hung out for some considerable time talking and there was quite an ebb and flow of customers in the cheery restaurant. I expect this place will be popular in winter when the snowbirds and their deep pockets come back to the Keys and discover that this strategically placed restaurant is serving excellent fish right off the Highway on Summerland Key.We spent $58 plus tip for the four of us which seemed reasonable for the high quality meal. We are looking forward to returning, perhaps for some outdoor seating amongst the art work:
I've pulled my bicycle out of the shed as it's getting cool enough to suppose that swimming season will end with the next cold front. The Wharf is only a couple of miles from my house so a ride to sample an organic beer my be in the cards this winter.
I don't think you've lived if you haven't tried bacon lobster and tomato. I know a man who claims bacon is the perfect food, that it will improve the taste of anything. Perhaps he is right. It works for lobster.