2017-06-15 / Key West Dining

Blackfin Bistro rolls out new summer happy hour

BY LAURA HACKWORTH
Florida Weekly Correspondent

For those of us who stick around to experience Key West in the (mostly) quieter summer months, many restaurants reward holdouts and off-season tourists by rolling out seasonal specials and deals to keep our bellies full while we struggle not to melt in the infernal heat. With its crazy good new happy hour menu, local favorite Blackfin Bistro, 918 Duval St., has decided that Christmas in July is coming early this year and its $7 small plate menu will have you believing that yes, Virginia, Santa Claus (or Santa Castellano, in this case) is very real. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week, Blackfin will be serving a palate-pleasing happy hour menu that will keep you coming back over and over again to try every one of the nine dishes.

Varying from light bites to comfort foods, the happy hour menu at Blackfin has something for everyone. The Andalusian gazpacho is silky smooth and, paired with a cold glass of white wine, will staunch the effusive perspiration emanating from your overheated brow. Also on the lighter side is the mixed summer green salad, dressed with a wonderful citrus vinaigrette and topped with tropical fruit. The smoked salmon plate, served with capers, red onion and cream cheese, will transport you to one-time bagel behemoth H&H Bagels in Midtown NYC, but without the carbs to weigh you down. If you’re in the mood for something more Mediterranean, go with the sautéed calamari. Unlike the calamari from your local spaghetti joint, Blackfin’s is sautéed and tender, not fried, and tossed in a garlic parsley butter. You’ll never order fried calamari again.

The goat cheese croquettes are literally one of my most favorite things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Crunchy on the outside, soft and light on the inside, and served with a red onion confit and honey drizzle, the croquettes hit every part of the palate. Sweet, salty, savory, tangy and with an umami burst from the onion confit, the entire plate will be gone before you can say “More croquettes, please!” The steamed mussels are almost too good to be true. Everyone knows the best part of a mussels dish is the broth and Blackfin’s garlic, white wine and chorizo broth is pretty much the nectar of the gods. Don’t get me wrong, the mussels are delicious, but I could survive off nothing more than that broth and a good crusty piece of bread.

The majority of the dishes on Blackfin’s happy hour menu are fan favorites from the dinner menu, but one in particular is a brand-new invention that is a comfort foodie’s dream. The hand-cut “Wagyu” truffle French fries are like a poutine, a fondue, and the most expensive hamburger you’ve ever had, had a threesome and birthed a mouth-wateringly delicious hybrid baby. Let’s start with the building blocks: Blackfin’s hand cut French fries are in the top five of French fries on the island. Add caramelized shallots, smoked gouda and a shallot marmalade and you’ll slide right into that food coma with a satisfied smile on your face.

In addition to the $7 small plates, Blackfin’s happy hour also features $5 glasses of wine. Pinot grigio, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet, and a refreshing rosé are all on offer and, at only $5 a glass, it’s even harder than usual to turn down that second glass of wine. When you’re dying to get out of the heat, Blackfin’s happy hour is like an oasis on Duval Street. ¦

Blackfin Bistro 918 Duval St. 305- 509- 7408 www.blackfinbistro.com

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