THE DISH: highlights from local menus

 

 

The Dish: Seared Foie Gras

The Place: Cafe Marquesa

The Price: $26

The Details: Talk about being lucky — my friend and I had a light, but inconsequential dinner at another restaurant, and I said I’d never been to the restaurant at the Marquesa, long considered one of the finest dining experiences in Key West.

We wandered in and they seated us.

This starter of foie gras was beautiful and nutty — everything you want from the appetizer. The apple butter served on the side made for a wonderful, slightly sweet, slightly spicy accompaniment.

Because we’d eaten elsewhere earlier, we split an order of the Seared Duck Breast.

It was served medium, as ordered, and was tender and earthy.

I’m so glad our earlier meal inspired us to aim for the best, and I’m so glad the Cafe Marquesa was able to accommodate us. ¦

 

 

— Scott Simmons, ssimmons@floridaweekly.com

The Dish: Seared Sea Scallops

The Place: Latitudes at Sunset Key. Ferry is at Slip 29 in the Margaritaville Resort Marina, 245 Front St., Key West. Reservations required. 855-995-9799 or www.sunsetkeycottages.com.

The Price: $40.

The Details: We had heard nothing but glowing reviews for Latitudes at Sunset Key.

And, I’m happy to report, we were not disappointed.

It was raining the Saturday evening we dined in Latitudes, but that didn’t dampen the experience. We rode the free ferry from Key West to the private island (your reservation time actually is your departure time), and enjoyed the Gulf of Mexico views.

Seafood rules the menu at Latitudes.

We started with the dainty lobster and crab cake ($21), beautifully presented with a watermelon radish salad, before moving on to the scallops.

The scallops were huge and perfectly seared, tasting of the sea, and were served with sautéed Swiss chard, fresh corn polenta and a bittersweet orange bourbon gastrique. I loved the contrast of the sweet notes of the corn with the slightly bitter citrus of the sauce.

My dining companion enjoyed his seared grouper ($44), served with turmeric, a beet-citrus sauce, mango chayote salad and a bit of lavash, or flatbread.

Our server knew the menu and made good wine recommendations, making Latitudes an object lesson in fine dining. ¦

— Scott Simmons, ssimmons@floridaweekly.com

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