As mentioned in my last post, I recently returned from a sunny family vacation in Naples, FL where the weather was absolutely gorgeous – sunny, breezy, beachy, beautiful. Greeting me upon my return to NYC was 30° weather and fierce winds (and me in flip-flops!). This made for a shocking jolt back into reality. (Sigh) Well, maybe I can talk about all of the delicious things we ate on vacation, until it’s time for my next one!
The whole trip was filled with meals chock full of decadent crustacean’s and shellfish swimming in broths of lemon, garlic, or white wine – sometimes all at once. The fish was so fresh, and hints of the tropical environment were peppered throughout everything.
On our last evening in Naples, my grandma took us to one of her favorite spots – Real Seafood Co. The atmosphere was refined – yet fun, the service was on-point, and the food was, well, let me show you…
The evening began, as all fine evenings do, with cocktails. I was feeling fruity, so I ordered a colorful Appletini.
We then welcomed a basket of toasty, buttered bread and began to peruse the menu…
Upon inspecting the menu, I was completely befuddled (hello, 4th grade vocab word) as to what I should order. Literally, everything sounded wonderful! I really don’t like getting the same dish as friends or family, because let’s face it, I’ll be tasting theirs as much my own, so when my brother and parents ordered the dishes I had been eyeing, it was easier for me to choose the ‘Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass’.
I chose well.
Not only was the presentation charming, the meal was excellent. I can confidently say that this sea bass, was the best I’ve ever had. Crispy and caramelized with miso glaze on the outside, while maintaining a flaky and delicate texture on the inside. Perfection. I’m not much for wasabi, so the green sauce surrounding the rim of the plate didn’t appeal to me much, however, the brown soy syrup was simply addicting.
The bok choi on the side was well done, but not overdone, and the rice was just white rice, but it went well with the sauces. My favorite side dish, which I sadly don’t have an image for, was the lobster smashed potatoes. The potatoes were mashed with their skins on, making for a rougher or smashed texture. I actually prefer this preparation much more than the traditional creamy, mashed version. Before serving, the smashed potatoes are mixed with a healthy ladle of lobster bisque, then chunks of lobster are stirred in. And that’s how Real Seafood Co. does mashed potatoes. To die for.
My meal also came with a salad which was served with a healthy hunk of blue cheese, toasted pecans, and a shallot vinaigrette. Quite tasty as well.
My little brother ordered the dish I was most inclined to get after my own, which was the ‘Chef’s Choice – Pan Seared Gulf Black Grouper’.
The grouper was cooked well and the sweet potato puree, roasted red pepper aioli, and balsamic reduction complimented the fish, and each other, perfectly.
My parents were apparently in a lobster-shell-cracking kind of mood (they both had to wear lobster bib’s with their dishes) and ordered meals that each came with that familiar red critter and lots of other goodies.
My Dad ordered the ‘New England Clam Bake’, which came with chorizo sausage, corn, potatoes, clams, and of course, a whole Maine lobster. It was messy, but worth it.
My Mom ordered the ‘Paella Valenciana’, which came with 1/2 a Maine lobster, and all the usual paella suspects – chorizo, shellfish, chicken, vegetables, and saffron scented rice. Her portion was HUGE, and we ended up taking half of it home, which is slightly uncharacteristic of my Mom and her appetite 😉
The meal ended with coffee and ‘Orange Panna Cotta’ for dessert, which was accompanied by raspberry and mango coulis.
The food was fresh and well prepared, the service was excellent, and the atmosphere was festive, yet polished. I’m so glad my wonderful host of a grandma introduced us to this Naples gem. We will definitely be returning on our next trip, and I encourage you to do the same!