8/11/2014

Food Reviews in Florida Paradise: Wahoo's Bar & Grill

Travel-happy couple, Trey and Autumn Hollis, took a break from the daily grind of work, school (just completed earning Masters degrees, both), and raising three beautiful children to spend quality vacation time with extended family in the beautiful Florida Keys. In their own words, these two rock star representatives of the All-American Familia, share their culinary experiences enroute to paradise.


Florida Keys Vacation 2014 - Restaurant Review by Trey & Autumn Hollis. Reviews are based upon a 5 Patrick the Starfish Scale.

For the past four years, Autumn [my wife] and I have joined her dad's "Florida Key's Gang" for an annual sabbatical in Key Colony Beach, Florida. There's usually a group of about 4-6 couples and Dad's brother-in-law, Jim. We all pitch in and contribute to renting a house in Key Colony right on one of the many canals.



The adventure actually starts when we all meet at a gas station by the Florida Turnpike.  We grab snacks, drinks, and ice to hold us for the 3 hour drive to our own little Florida Caribbean paradise.  The drive is always a pleasant caravan and we always say, "Autobots roll out!" when we jump on that southbound turnpike entrance. 

Now, Dad has this tradition of stopping at Wendy's in Florida City which is where the turnpike ends and simply merges into US 1.  We stop there for a restroom break, and to stretch for the last bit of the drive into Floridian paradise.  Wendy's is much less crowded than ANY of the gas stations along that short US 1 strip before hitting the "Blue Wall."  Anyone who's driven to the Keys knows that they have arrived when they drive that 18 mile stretch next to the Blue Wall. 


When we get past the infamous Blue Wall, we cruise in that wonderful single lane, US 1 traffic until we hit our first restaurant of our week-long adventure.  Up until this year, we have always stopped at a little magnificent roadside joint in Key Largo called Mrs. Mac's Kitchen [Because we didn't stop there this year, we included an Honorable Mention review at the bottom].  This year, Dad proposed we try a new place, Wahoo's Bar & Grill.

Wahoo's Bar & Grill - http://wahoosbarandgrill.com




As you can tell by the pic, Wahoo's has an awesome view. However, our impression of the food was less than stellar. Autumn's order [First visit]: Creamy Smoked [Wahoo] Fish Dip The fish dip itself was well prepared. The texture of the fish was flaky, but it didn't have much of the smokiness that a great smoked fish dip general portrays. This may be due to the dip's heavy cream-cheese base [creaminess mentioned in the title - too much for this dish] and believe this may smolder some of the smoky profile. The appetizer was served with tri-color tortilla chips and fresh chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato, and raw jalapenos on a bed of iceberg lettuce.

Rating: 

Second Visit [Redemption] - Conch Chowder and Key Lime Pie for dessert Wahoo did a fabulous job with their conch chowder. The tomato based chowder was filled with tender chunks of conch and spices. For those who love conch, if it is not tenderized properly, it can be quite tough. But in Wahoo’s case, they knew exactly how to handle the much-loved ocean gem. With some tabasco hot sauce, this chowder is something to crave. I have to admit, I was shocked to see Key Lime Pie as an $8 dessert, especially for location. But what I received was far greater than I ever imagined. The size of the dish was enough to feed 6 people - seriously. This was not a single layer piece of pie. The pie slice was at least 3 inches tall, with a homemade buttery graham cracker crust, fresh whipped cream, and drizzled with key lime and raspberry sauce. It was beautifully presented and the creamy tartness of the dessert complimented the sweet whipped cream and raspberry sauce. Definitely a MUST-HAVE.

Rating:


for the Chowder & 5 Starfish for the Key Lime Pie [DO NOT EAT ALONE...YOU WILL NEED HELP!]



Second Visit - Trey’s order: Blackened Dolphin Sandwich
Dad decided we would stop at Wahoo’s for our return trip...so I figured I’d go with something safe this time.  The dolphin sandwich was pretty good.  Quite simply, it was a large portion of dolphin, and it was seasoned well.  My only dissatisfaction is that Wahoo’s only has Tabasco hot sauce.  I personally feel that restaurants should keep a couple different brands of hot sauce available for customers.  Other than that, Wahoo’s got a bit of redemption with our second time around.


Rating: …Need more hot sauce choices.
 




Keep up with Trey and Autumn Hollis on LinkedIn, and stay tuned for more reviews!