Fresh Catch Bistro (Fresh Catch) is a restaurant on Fort Myers Beach. I called tonight to ask how long they had been around for this writing, but the employee who answered said she “didn’t know”. When I asked if there was anyone there who did, she said “not really” and hung up. Not a very good first impression if I had never been there, but fortunately for readers, I know better.
I had originally written about this restaurant almost two years ago. At the time, it was very good and part of a triumvirate of exceptional happy hours on Fort Myers Beach that included Matanzas on the Bay and Island View restaurant.
Looking at happy hours in Fort Myers Beach recently and what was offered, my dining companion and I could not help but notice Fresh Catch. After seeing a number of new Happy Hour Menu items, we felt compelled to go and take another peek.
Seating at the high tops at the bar provides very nice views of Fort Myers Beach.
Happy hour at Fresh Catch offers a number of small plates priced from $5-$9 and an impressive selection of wines and 12 different martinis for $5. The martini selection alone was enough to make a non-martini drinker like me happy.
Now for the food, some tried before and some new. We revisited a few of the happy hour items, the crab cakes, the Oysters Rockefeller and the escargot.
As I have said many times before, I hesitate to order crab cakes out as due to cost constraints, they are long on the cake and short on the crab. The crab cakes as before are ok. I would give them as before a 7/10. They were served with a citrus fennel slaw. Not the best crab cakes but not the worst.
The Oysters Rockefeller however were exceptional. Created at Antoine’s in New Orleans in the 19th century, they were named after the most wealth family in the U.S. at the time for their richness. Oysters and spinach swimming in Pernod and baked with Mozzarella cheese made me feel like the dish’s namesake, and this was probably the highlight of the meal.
We again revisited the escargot served with mushrooms and a take on classic bourguignonne sauce. The restaurant’s version of this sauce is made with chardonnay and a compound butter of parsley, butter, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper. This was served with Parmesan toast. As before, a very good dish.
We then moved onto the roasted pork belly which was not served on our previous visit. About a half pound of pork belly was topped with a sweet ginger rajili sauce and plated with a yucca fritter. It was not bad in light of other pork belly dishes I have had.
We also sampled the osso bucco happy hour portion. Osso bucco are braised lamb shanks traditionally placed over saffon rissoto and served with a braising liquid made from wine, chicken broth, herbs, tomatoes and aromatic vegetables. The happy hour version of this dish offered a mini pork shank, mashed potatoes and a porcini mushroom/cognac demi glace. It was different though not unpleasant from the original version, very good and a good value at $8 for a happy hour portion.
We finally finished with the roasted bone marrow. Longitudinally cut cow femurs are seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted, and served with Pernod garlic bread and citrus fennel slaw. I was happy to see this dish reappear in Southwest Florida. I was trying to make up for missing the restaurant, St. John, during a recent trip where this dish was created over 20 years ago in London by chef Fergus Henderson.
I thought this offering interesting and its original intent is supposed to be reminiscent of mopping meat juices up with bread, in this case marrow substituting for meat juices. I found the dish a bit overpowering in flavor, which is probably why the original calls for lamb bones. However, this marrow has a very interesting texture and though pronounced, an interesting flavor. If you have never had anything like this, I would recommend trying it. It really is a good accompaniment (as it’s meant to be) to toasts and the slaw served with it.
I found the happy hour at Fresh Catch again very good and a great value for the quality of food, service and location on Fort Myers Beach. Highly recommended.
That’s that for another post on Forks.
Fresh Catch Bistro
3040 Estero Blvd.
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
All major credit cards accepted; plenty of self-parking available at the restaurant; happy hour daily from 3:30-5PM