Saturday, July 25, 2015

Waltz In To Walt'z

The four of us waltzed in to Walt'z Fish Shak at the John's Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach, around five-ish this past Friday evening and we immediately claimed bar stools that put us close to the culinary action.

Sue, the high priestess of the bar and all else, dammit, poured the wine and beer to get our Key West inspired party started. She seemed to instinctively know what two regulars in our party, Sweet Polly and her super hero Underdawg, were craving - the home made fish spread with tonight's smoked mahi-mahi. "Make that a double, please Sue!"

That softball sized serving of perfectly smoked mahi with jalapeno rounds was a grand start to our John's Pass waltz at Walt'z. There was plenty of  lightly smoked fish folded together with mayo, minced red pepper, chopped onion and seasoning. That fish ball was served with Captain's Wafers, an appreciated improvement over the ubiquitous Saltines served at many establishments.

After polishing off two balls of fish, we four gourmands then proceeded to dive into other chalk board offerings. Walt, who was overseeing the operation, suggested that we try the Yellowedge Grouper, a special this evening.

The yellowedge grouper can be distinguished by its bright yellow eyes and fin margins, accounting for the common name ‘yellowedge’. This grouper is a lean, firm, white-fleshed fish with a meaty texture and large flake. Diners can request their grouper fried, blackened, or grilled. I chose grilled to not mask the flavor of this tasty denizen of the deep. Walt seemed to approve of my choice.

Included with my grouper was a zesty Beach Slaw with craisins and a sweet sour dressing, plus the requisite Island Peas and Rice. Both sides were good and made this a most filling plate of Key West style comestibles.

Other dishes presented to us included my bride's plate of Grouper Cakes served with a side of remoulade sauce.

The cakes were nice and crunchy on the outside, moist and grouper good on the inside. The fish to breading ratio had a perfect balance.

The bowl of rich and spicy Bahamian Conch Chowder was reminiscent of a bowl of Texas red and tingled the buds of taste in a pleasant manner.

This photo courtesy of Epicurean Perils of Sweet Polly
The Key West Pinks were no shrimps. These were some large and perfectly steamed shellfish, world renowned for their pink color and sweet taste.

One final delicacy was shared by this Fab Four of Food, the crispy fried Cracked Conch. These Bahamian morsels of goodness were surprisingly tender to the tooth with just the right amount of breading.

If you are craving pretension, go elsewhere. If you revel in the fresh, laid back flavors of the Florida Keys, then I highly recommend Walt'z Fish Shak.

Splitting the bill between two couples, our share for all food and adult beverages came to $77 and some change.

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Walt’z Fish Shak

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