Monday, January 10, 2011

A Meal With a View: Louie's Backyard

The view from Louie's Backyard, from Dining Out Key West

Ever since I met Norman Van Aken, I've wanted to eat at the place where Floribbean cuisine was invented and the phrase was coined: Louie's Backyard in Key West.

To say that the place is beautiful would be an understatement. It's breathtaking, and one of the most beautiful spots on the island. The restaurant is a big, open Key West house and the patio extends into the crystal blue water, nary a wave, and a beach on the side populated by thrashing dogs in the surf and a few sunbathers looking (and finding) a quiet spot.

Cliff and I had lunch there last weekend, and, though my choice was something I could have easily made in my own kitchen, a flank steak salad with sunchokes and a chimichurri vinaigrette, it was divine, if only for the atmosphere.The lettuces were top notch, too, hand picked I'm sure, filled with arugula, dandelion greens, watercress, radicchio. It was a lovely salad.

Arrrgh, shiver me fritters...
But, oh, the mojitos. A tightly packed cup full of mint leaves muddled with lime and simple syrup, splashed with Bacardi Silver and soda - it looked like swamp water, which is exactly how a real mojito should appear. At $8, it was a great deal for a drink with a view.

Bearnaise Burger, topped with caramelized onions
The bearnaise burger was exceptional (though, as Cliff pointed out, a few points shy of the burger at The Ravenous Pig in Orlando). You see that conspicuous blob of creamy white on top? That's bearnaise butter, compounded with red wine vinegar, garlic and tarragon. I can't believe he ate all that butter in one sitting and lived to tell the tale, but he did. My darling has arteries of steel.

Flank steak salad  with sunchokes

Louie's Backyard is worth the visit, for certain, even if only for a drink and some conversation. I can't imagine how beautiful it is at sunset, and I hope I can make it back at some point while I'm here.


Pete Boland said...

I'm suddenly very hungry. Food looks fantastic.

Kelly said...

I love you, Holly. Your posts make me laugh, hungry and desire to be more sophisticated in my food choices. You're wonderful!