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Epicurean treasure found off Long Key! (long review)

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Epicurean treasure found off Long Key! (long review)

John | Jan 2, 2003 01:37 PM

New Year's greetings and salutations to my fellow FLA hounds!

My wife and I spent a couple of days in the Keys during the holidays and stumbled on to an unearthly delight just off Long Key. After several routine dining experiences and some inside info from a local waiter, my wife and I discovered the absolutely superb restaurant at the Lime Tree Bay Resort (1-800-723-4519, limetreebayresort.com). Note that this is a special occasion experience, as the price points can be a little daunting. Our a la carte dinner for four, including cocktails, a nice bottle of wine, liquers, and tip, came to $425. Clearly, not a place for the kids. But if you seek a once in a blue moon Keys dining experience, just spend it!

This little island has 20 or so bungalows all situated on the water and is something of a getaway for the romantically and, I stress, financially inclined! We called the number and made reservations for four; we were told to meet the private boat launch,(a beautiful old Cris Craft) which ferried us to the island. Captain actually escorted us to the waiting restaurant staff up high in the trees..overlooking the bay below...live pianist, upright bass and sax..warm breeze..outdoor fireplace...cool martinis..wow.

Food was nothing short of superb. Tuna tartare with grapefruit and ginger ice; pepper pot conch chowder that must have just jumped into the pot; giant sea scallops baked in lemon and lime marmalade; local bouillabaise; mini lobster souffle; excellent wine list; wonderful, wildly creative deserts, excellent coffee and liquers...a little dancing at the table between courses...and the best service I have had anywhere in Florida. Very knowledgable and LOW key.(Ha!)

And then from nowhere, the Captain appears and escorts us to the waiting boat...10 minutes back to shore...and reality! I accepted a bungalow brochure from the staff and discovered that the luxurious island suites start at about $550 a night! Yikes! Even this former Manhattanite was taken aback!

I am ranting somwehat, but I urge you to give it a try if you are in the area and want something particularly special and memorable!

Good eats, all!!

P.S. Also give Marker 88 in Long Key a whirl...it is very good and somewhat more reasonable in terms of price!

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