As part of the Flavors of Key West dinner, we chose a prix fixe menu at Banana Cafe, a French resto on Duval St. The dinner was lovely; I've heard the breakfast is superb. The actual food was, unfortunately, really saucy. I've heard it said many times that "a good sauce covers many sins." If that's the case, the Banana Cafe must be going straight to hell.
The amuse bouche (below), a cherry tomato stuffed with crab remoulade and a hollowed-out potato filled with soft cheese and topped with caviar was the only thing in the six courses not doused in overwhelming sauciness.
The peice de resistance of the dinner was a duck preparation (below), a "two-ways" including a confit and a seared (skinless, unfortunately) breast.
As you can see, there's a serious pool of mango demi-glace on the bottom of the plate. That's just too much. The leek fondue (at the bottom of the pile) was the best part. It's just too bad that sauce was there, so the delicate flavor of the leeks were completely overshadowed.
My housemate, KC Culver, a super-talented poet and lecturer at University of Miami (she's going to be famous one day), suggested we visit the new burrito place owned by the executive chef at Nine One Five, one of Key West's "best" restaurants. I can't vouch for this because I haven't eaten there, but plan to next time around.
|Well, hello, Salvador Dali. I didn't know you liked post-modern, surrealist burritos.|
|This is my medianoche sandwich, cinnamon bun and fantastic cafe con leche. If you've never had real cafe con leche with steamed milk and espresso, you haven't lived. When I left Key West, this was the first thing I started to crave almost immediately.|
|This little red hen really wanted my sandwich. Really.|
|Almond croissant made in-house. So crispy, buttery, fluffy inside, filled with marzipan. Truly delicious.|
|Laminated doughs rock so much, and Old Town Bakery does them right. This sticky bun was unbelievably delicious.|
|It's really a shame this restaurant sucks so bad. It's really pretty.|
My food (below) was equally disappointing. I have no idea what the chef was thinking when he put this one together. A seared tuna "steak" with TONS of gristle (seriously, look at how badly cut that is!) on top of a very strange leek risotto, next to some canned tuna abomination with another strange, indecipherable sauce, some over-blanched asparagus and....cornbread. If you need an example of a dish that is completely disjointed and uncomposed, this is is. What a total, overpriced disappointment. I was really unhappy to hand over $50 to this place. Don't go here.
|Weirdest dish EVER.|
I ate at some wonderful places in Key West and some really unbelievably disappointing places. Here are the ones to put on your list:
1220 1/2 Simonton St
Key West, FL 33040-3159
Old Town Bakery
930 Eaton Street
Key West, FL 33040-6957
5 Brothers Grocery
930 Southard Street
Key West, FL 33040-7176
900 Catherine Street
Key West, FL 33040
Here are the ones to skip. Just don't waste your time:
Banana Cafe (for dinner, I've heard that breakfast is great)