[Key Largo, Florida] Pilot House

In truth, we went to the Pilot House for the music, not the food. We had absolutely no great expectation about dinner, but both music and food proved to be fine. The restaurant/bar was participating in Key Largo’s Nashville singer/songwriter festival, so it seemed a great opportunity to satisfy two of our enthusiasm – country musuc and food.

It’s got a great location, right on the water at a small marina. And, when I say “on the water”, I mean that literally. I’ve been on glass bottomed boats before, but this os my first glass bottomed restaurant.

“Crab Rangoon” was a starter from the “specials” list and may not have been my best ever menu choice. An overly thick pastry enclosed a small amount of underseasoned crab, formed into bite-sized “pasties”. The saving grace was a Thai sweet chilli sauce which probably came straight out of the bottle. The other starter was a plate of bog standard fried onion rings and were just as you’d expect.

Skirt steak featured on both main courses. For one, it was sliced over a mixed salad that would have easily fed two ( or three, if not very hungry). For the other, it came as the steak, perfect at medium rare and packed with flavour and topped with pico de gallo. I’d read about pico de gallo on American websites but had never really known what it was and it was a bit disappointing to find it was only a pretty standard tomato based salsa, rather than something more exotic. Tasty enough though. There was a decent dollop of mashed spud as well which, thankfully were pretty much just potatoes mashed, rather than the sloppier versions restaurants often rpefer. This was actually a much more satisfying experience than the steak at Smith and Wollensky in Miami Beach – and at about a third of the cost.

Greed got the better of us and we ordered desserts. For one, apple “crumble” simply wasn’t. It was back to the overly thick pastry, which was folded round cooked apples in a sort of open tart affair. Chocolate lava cake (or chocolate fondant, as I’d better know it) was successful. A good sponge, oozing a bitter chocolate “lava”.

This was a fun evening, if not a high end gastro experience.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr