New-Lee Opened Restaurants

Lee County diners enjoy fresh options in 2012

‘Tis the season. No not that jolly one.  I wish. The one that brings flurries of lily-skinned snowbirds and tourists to our fair Southwest Florida.

Preceding them like sun before the storm has been a burst of new or newly designed restaurants on the horizon of the Fort Myers-Sanibel Island area.

I’ve made my rounds to a few, and happily report a great dining forecast for season 2012.

Get Funky

For those flying in to RSW in time for dinner, skip the airport food (although there’s a new-concept Shula’s Steakhouse opening there this week), and get thee to Funky Fish (8911 Daniels Pkwy., 239-362-2042).

Macadamia-crusted yellowtail snapper at Funky Fish

Brought to us by one of the meatballs behind Two Meatballs in the Kitchen, practically next door, this one doesn’t totally foresake Italian; its signature dish it borrowed from Meatballs, namely seafood fra diavolo.

It doesn’t take a meatball to realize, however, that this place is about seafood. (I heard that “duh!”) Try the Funky Spicy Shrimp appetizer and macadamia-crusted yellowtail snapper.

With a ceiling sealife mural and 3-D glasses to make it pop, live music, and a lively bar – this may not be funky in the old-Florida sense of the word, but it certainly makes its own rules. Read more of this post

New Species of Mucky Duck

Captiva’s ultra-popular beach restaurant evolves.

Victor Mayeron was a well-loved fixture at the Mucky Duck on Captiva Island, and I missed him already when I was seated yesterday with no pranks, pratfalls, and wise-ass comments.

But alas, he has retired (and bought the entire staff iPad2’s I hear), selling out his interest to partner Andreas Bieri, who also own’s Captiva’s Green Flash restaurant.

Andreas has been busy! The sandy front yard now has pavers, which are spreading to the parking lot.

Frozen key lime pie.... mmmm!

As for the menu, you will still find classics such as the BBQ shrimp & bacon, fish & chips, crab cakes, and the famous frozen key lime pie. (Today frozen key lime pie on a stick is big in the Keys, but I think The Duck did it first.)

I was there for lunch, attended by the expert and smiling Alaina, a longtimer. (Almost all of the Duck’s employees rank as longtimers, a testimony to good management. And good tips.)

But back to the lunch menu, which had some newbies since my last nosh – grilled chicken burrito, salmon en croute, and the so-called Captiva sandwich, to name a few.

I bit at the mention of a seared ahi tuna Caesar as one of the day’s specials. The tuna did that proverbial melting in the mouth routine, and the salad was crispy and nicely dressed. And besides that, I actually felt rather saintly to have sidestepped the pub burger or crunchy grouper sandwich in favor of something relatively healthy.

Tuna Caesar special

Then, entirely unprovoked (I told Alaina I was done!), a piece of key lime pie arrived to my table. They hit my weak spot, telling me it was a bribe to get me to write something nice about the Duck. How could I not?

Final analysis: The Duck will always be The Duck, but the changes are for the good. They’re even open on Sundays now!