More fantastic Fort Myers restaurants

We love eating out and trying new restaurants. Unfortunately, the dishwasher in our kitchen broke this past week and we’ve been forced to replace it. (In fact, we decided to splurge and replace all of the kitchen appliances in our new house simultaneously so they would match. That’s going to be a fun delivery.) Sans dishwasher, we have been eating out a ridiculous amount. To keep it interesting, we are only going to places we have not been yet. And, man, have we found some rockstar chefs.

Bluwave Lobster House (on the way out to Sanibel Island)

Remarkably, this restaurant opened last year, in what was probably the worst economic environment to begin a new hospitality business. Florida was the first state to open aggressively and stay open, however, and this restaurant has performed so well that (I am told) they are opening a second location in Miami soon. It is not difficult to see why they are so popular either. The interior is gorgeous and the menu is creative. In a region with more seafood restaurants than one can easily count, this place definitely stands out. (Reservations recommended, obviously.)

Appetizer of char-grilled octopus with smoked andouille sausage, fingerling potatoes, orange glaze, pickled onions.
Sea bass with tomato salsa and walnut pesto, served with leeks.
Lobster mac and cheese, prepared with a blend of three cheeses and truffle oil.
This is their fried fish platter. Yes, that is a deep-fried lobster tail. Served with some kind of delicious tropical slaw.

Saigon Paris Bistro (off Cleveland Avenue, which is the Tamiami Trail)

This has easily become one of my favorite restaurants in town. Although not particularly expensive, it is a bona fide fine dining experience. The restaurant’s menu is essentially two menus in one – you have a menu for French cuisine and a menu for Vietnamese cuisine. Both are executed extremely well.

We were having a bit of a sleepy day, and started off with Vietnamese coffee. This is superb – something you absolutely must try sometime. They put the coffee in this metal contraption that sits on top of a glass with condensed milk in it. Once the coffee stops dripping, you remove the contraption and stir the milk and coffee together. You can then either drink it hot or pour it over ice cubes.

I was musing over whether I could replicate this with espresso, and a friend from NYC told me you have to use proper Vietnamese coffee to achieve the same effect. She said there is something about the beans they use that gives the coffee the sweet flavor – it’s not the milk. Quite delicious.

This is a must-order: Scallops Marbella. Scallops baked in a rich shrimp and lobster sauce
with scallions, red peppers, mushrooms and wine. Sopping up that sauce with toast is an otherworldly experience.
Escargots prepared café-style in a light garlic butter sauce.
Steak Diane served tableside. Flambé tenderloin of beef, mushrooms, wine, shallots and demi-glace.

Elise had the duck cooked in Chambord and relished every bite.

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