Saltwater Cafe


1071 Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, FL

I’ve had a ‘hankering’ for a LOBSTER!  
(Yes, this SRQ-born native spent 20+ years in Tennessee). It was my birthday, and I was on a MISSION to go to a locally owned and run Seafood restaurant and satisfy my craving!   
Then, as often happens, I started vacillating (hey, I was entitled it was my birthday) and started dreaming about a Filet with Béarnaise!  I can have BOTH (I said to myself and to my husband who was paying for it)!  After careful research, we solicited the company of two friends and we made the southbound trip to the Saltwater Café in Nokomis.

My IMMEDIATE response was extremely positive.  They have a lovely outside dining area with tables & umbrellas and even a fountain!  Since it was one of those gorgeous Florida nights, we elected to dine ‘al fresco’.

We were graciously greeted and it was suggested that we choose the table where we would like to be seated. Now comfortably seated, the server took our drink order and handed us the menu(s).  Always, the Google researcher, I had previously studied their menu on-line and was poised with a multitude of questions!  A review I had read stated that there were 300 items on their menu so I wanted to get a head start so I wouldn’t be finally making my Dinner selection tomorrow morning at breakfast!

Despite my preparation, the menu definitely took some navigating!  My dining companions had NOT studied ahead and were quite overwhelmed!  One could say that the menu was so diversified and broad as to lack direction.  However, I reminded myself of that scene from the movie Five Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson, and decided to view it as ‘something for everybody’…………with substitutions not only available, but encouraged!!

Since it DID take a while to make our selections, we were REALLY looking for something to whet our appetites until dinner arrived.  We all had BIG smiles on our faces when the Hot Bread arrived presented appealingly on a plank with an artful knife-stab)!  OK………this is where I started to get nervous (NO, not because of the knife). …..the bread was accompanied by MARGARINE!!!

Yes, I confess to being a bit of a food ‘snob’, and as such, was just flabbergasted! Margarine, in my foodie world, is synonymous with MORTAL Sin to Catholics!  Since I AM a former Catholic, I guess I need to ‘confess’ right now!  I asked the server to go ask the Chef if he also COOKED with Margarine!! (Yes, I know awful of me and I am ASHAMED)!

So , mea culpa, let’s  ‘pass the margarine’  and get to the entrees!

All four entrees arrived in a timely fashion delivered by several attentive and delightful servers! 

My husband ordered the Prime Rib (one of their specials that evening).  It was an extremely generous portion and cooked perfectly to the ‘temp’ he had requested. ALL conversation from him promptly ceased as he attacked his meal with obvious pleasure. 

One of our dining companions had ordered the ‘Pork Wellington’!  We were both inquisitive as to what this Wellington Beef-Cousin would taste like!  It was well-presented  with a flaky puff pastry.  The pork was moist, tender and well-seasoned.  This was a good representation of the variety and creativity of their extensive menu.  The Wellington was accompanied by a vegetable medley that spoke very highly of the Chef’s comprehension of steaming.

Our other dining companion and I ended up ordering the EXACT same thing!  (yeah, I know……..what were the chances with 300 items on the MENU)?

I was like so EXCITED!  NOT only had I found a restaurant that was going to satisfy my ‘hankering’ for Lobster and my ‘craving’ for Filet Mignon, I  INDULGED myself by adding a Crabmeat Oscar Béarnaise to the Filet! (a mere $4.99 additional charge).

The meal was beautifully presented on a large white plate that allowed for each item to command the attention it deserved!  The filet was adorned with JUST the right quantity of “Oscar” so as to not overwhelm the main attraction.  The Béarnaise had JUST the right touch of lemon and tarragon and was delicious!  The filet was both seared and seasoned perfectly but could have been closer to the medium rare that I had requested. (Although I must say this is kind of a personal on-going battle with me.  Sometimes I order it medium rare followed by the statement ‘emphasis on the RARE’……I’ll remember next time).

I elected to taste my Potatoes Au Gratin next.  (Yes, I know I COULD have ordered the steamed vegetable medley………..but did I mention it was my Birthday)?? Served in its own separate dish, this was a harmonious, creamy union of potatoes & cheese.

The long anticipated lobster tail was NEXT to touch my fork!!  It, too, was well presented, fluffy and just ready to give up its shell to me!!!  I was also delighted to see that it was served with REAL drawn ‘BUTTER’!!!  HECK, not only was it REAL Butter, they gave me two (2) choices:  Drawn Butter or Drawn Butter with garlic!!
I SO wish I could tell you that the Lobster was as good as it looked!  I can only assume that it must have been a wee bit overcooked, because it was a little tough….TASTY….but tough unfortunately.  My dining companion’s lobster (I’m happy to report) was cooked perfectly!  (I know, because since it was my birthday, I traded with him)!!
SO…………..when it comes down to it……….would I go BACK to the Saltwater Café?
YES, I would!  After all, there are 297 items on their menu  I haven’t tried yet!  (However, I will be packing butter)!
                                                                Rating:  4 out of 5 Limes


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Leslie SRQ, Salwater Cafe

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