[Naples, Florida] USS Nemo

It may possibly be the naffest name for a restaurant that I’ve eaten in. And that, coupled with the knowledge that it’s decorated to give the impression that you’re in a submarine made me think I was going to have dinner in a big, blingy tourist trap of a place.

Well, in the event, it’s a modest shop front in a strip mall and the submarine effect isn’t done very well and is easily ignored. What cannot be ignored is that this a kitchen that knows its flavours and knows how to cook seafood.

There was an amuse bouche – a smoked seafood pate that went really well with the bread. There were East Asiany accompaniments – a carrot, cabbage and beansprout salad, a little seaweed and some sushi ginger. Then, as a starter, local Pine Island clams to start. They offer them done one of four ways – all Mediterranean based. My partner took them mariniere. A mixed ceviche was the other starter – seabass, shrimp and snapper with pineapple, red onion and lime juice. Everything finely diced to make a bowl full of flavour and as light and fresh as you’d like.

I followed that with tuna. Like the clams, they offer them in different presentations – a couple of European sounding ways, another South Asian and a fourth East Asian. It was the latter that most appealed – the fish was pan fried with a sesame topping and surrounded by leaves of pak choi and shitake. There was a really well balanced sweetish miso and soy sauce, a little pile of sushi ginger and a dab of wasabi to perk everything up. I liked the fact that they offer to cook the fish as you like it , rather than just offering the ubiquitous “just seared” that you get in the UK. That’ll be a really welcome “medium” then, please. The rice was a bit on the claggy side but, that aside, this was a lovely plate of food.

Across the table, a second choice order of halibut was getting a seeing to (the first order of seabass was “off the menu”). That came with a quinoa cake , green beans and a red pepper sauce. It was all pretty much bang-on, although there was an odd sweetness to the dish.

Desserts proved to have not been worth the calories – although full marks to them for offering cheese instead of dessert. We havent seen that elsewhere on this trip, not on the previous three visit a couple of years back. Both promised much but were simply not as good as the savoury courses. Vanilla ice cream with Pedro Ximenez sherry and fresh grapes sounded great but just tasted of generic alcohol, rather than the warm, fairly complex flavours expected. A trip of profiteroles promised three different ice cream fillings and three different sauces but the ice creams were all insipid and, with the exception of a dark chocolate one, the sauces were also a disappointment.

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Sounds better than anticipated Harter. If you swing by the Tampa Bay Area I’d be happy to meet you for a meal

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Between TBA and Sarasota there are a lot of good eats. And a few excellent cheese shops!

What are your favorite cheese shops?

Artisan Cheese Shop in Sarasota (thx veggo rip) and Mazzaro’s in St. Pete. There may be newer ones but I’m not there often enough to explore that much.

We went there for a light lunch after visiting Shelby Gardens this weekend. Ended up buying a Stilton and a blue to take to Lido where we were staying. I had a one day conference at the Ritz. I brought some chicken liver pate’ (ChefSteps) with me for nibbles in the room

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold