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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

SAILFISH MARINA RESTAURANT--Singer Island

In the beautiful Sailfish Marina Resort on Singer Island, Florida is the Sailfish Restaurant, right there on the dock overlooking the fleet moored at the marina. We had breakfast there with a friend on our first day on Singer Island, so we knew we wanted to return to watch the sunset and enjoy a leisurely dinner in this incredibly restful setting.

We took the free trolley from Palm Beach Shores Resort (see April, 2007) to the Marina to participate in the Thursday night "Sunset Celebration," a weekly arts & crafts and music extravaganza. It is a perfect night. (see March, 2007)

But let me get to the restaurant. This is a big, very Floridian venue. There's a huge bar and outside seating. All the front windows totally open, so even inside you're outside. The restaurant is big enough with tables accommodating groups from two to ten. Those bigger tables are shielded by lighted market umbrellas, a wonderful bring-the-outdoors-indoors touch. Even on a night like this when the docks are filled with people, the pagers given as you wait for your table have a range of two miles. We don’t hang around waiting, and our evening never misses a beat.

Rob and I are seated right in front of a window that had been opened so that it took us a few moments to realize there was no glass between us and the outside of the restaurant. We immediately become quiet observers. People-watching is so fun. Opposite us, two women are selling Himalayan Salt Candles and Soy Candles (no soot). The women promote the wax’s salubrious qualities, and couples stop to look and listen. They smell the various candle scents and then, invariably, the women pour the wax on the back of the man's hand. He rubs it in, nods his head, and he and his partner both smell his hand. Then they buy. Fascinating. The saleswomen did not pack up much at the end of the evening.

Boats come and go. One is a very long, sleek racer whose motors roar as it leaves. The driver revs the engine to get attention. The passengers make sure we know they’re going in that cool boat. The sight and sounds are so incongruous to the mood of the evening. But the boat is smashing!!!! We’re not the only people looking. Still we’re glad it quiets down when they leave.

You can imagine how interesting it is to sit there for dinner. It is relatively quiet, and while we are observers, we are also in a world of our own raised above and removed from the dock. Just perfect.

Speaking of perfect, dinner could not have been better. There are so many choices and specialties of the day, and had we been out fishing, the chef would have prepared our catch for us. That sounds like fun.

I cannot believe, however, that we could have done better with our own catch than what we had for dinner. We declined the soup, but I would have tried their clam chowder, and Rob would have gone for the Bahamian conch chowder. Choosing our entrees was difficult enough. One of several night's specials was sautéed swordfish.

Rob chooses Dolphin Florentine, pan seared dolphin topped with spinach, crab and swiss cheese gratinée. He chooses garlic mashed potatoes made with new red potatoes and the summer squash and zucchini combination. When the dish is presented, it is with a flourish. The plate is beautiful, a flower in the center and a banana fritter. The fish is absolutely perfect. Rob says that if he didn't know it was fish, he would think he had been served a very tender pork chop. Finally something that doesn't taste like chicken!!! Ha! Ha!

The squash is excellent! It has an extremely light sauce, and the vegetables are firm enough to demand a knife yet young enough to be served unpeeled. Lovely. The potatoes, too, are excellent—mashed but still chunky with just the right touch of garlic.

I am becoming much more adventurous in my choice of fish. I select "ABACO" Grouper. It is brought in daily, I choose to have it pan seared. It arrives with a golden brown crust from the searing but without any thing to dress it. It is extraordinary, tender, firm yet flaky. I squeeze on a bit of lemon juice. Pure, simple, and scrumptious! I, too, have the squash medley and the garlic mashed potatoes.

I know we should have a lovely white wine with this meal, but the docks and atmosphere make it a night for a good, chilled beer. It goes down just fine!

Here's another wonderful place, off the beaten path but well worth noting. I guarantee you will have a wonderful evening and a very special meal at the Sailfish Marina Restaurant.

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