On the Menu: Capture a special dining experience at Guy Harvey’s Island Grill

Guy Harvey's art jumps of the wall at a great waterside eatery.

Tom Williams/Special to the Eagle

Guy Harvey's art jumps of the wall at a great waterside eatery.

Guy Harvey's Island Grill

760 N. Collier Blvd., Marco

When Ernest Hemingway penned the “Old Man and the Sea,” the story that was told was about a solitary individual that did something unbelievable. As Spencer Tracy portrayed the old man alone on the water off Cuba, he brought a full range of emotions to the silver screen when he caught the largest marlin ever. The story became a literary classic, an inspiration for mariners and a motivation for everyone that heard the tale to capture a special experience.

When guests of Guy Harvey’s Island Grill savor a sunset on Smokehouse Bay or enjoy a work of art that brings life in the ocean table-side, an effect is created that is unique, surreal, and perhaps, unbelievable.

The atmosphere at Guy Harvey’s is a special recipe of equal portion: One part Caribbean, one part Old Town Key West, one part open ocean, with a finishing pinch of Polynesia added for perfection.

The floor tile in the open and airy horseshoe bar imitates an ocean that reaches a shore and becomes earth tones as Guy Harvey’s rambles indoors and out, rising and falling through split-levels, and rides like an old and comfortable ship that has seen a thousand storms.

With Independence Day just hours away, the culinary adventuress and I found Smokehouse Bay fading from orange into dusky darkness as Aura arrived, smiled, and greeted our table. Aura is from Russia and is as unique and special as any of Guy Harvey’s art.

We were joined by Mary Quinton and Mike Christoff. We had just left the First Thursday of the Month sponsored by the Marco Island Eagle and the Bayview Restaurant and Bar. The Esplanade, on any given summer night is like a present waiting to be opened, and with Guy Harvey’s only a short stroll away, a vacation day without going away, is available to everyone who has ever hoped to capture a special experience.

As icy beer mugs formed pearled dewdrops on the table, we settled beneath the stars as Aura helped with choosing appetizers and entrées.

“Oh, the smoked fish dip is very good,” Aura explained with an accent from a James Bond movie, “It really is very special!”

Aura was right! For $ 11.99, Guy Harvey’s Island Style Fish Dip is a wonderful accomplice to moonlight on Smokehouse Bay and with secret recipes, flat bread crackers, capers, celery, and lemon; this is one smoky treat that goes great with beer.

For her entrée, Vicki Lynn chose from the Mermaid’s Garden section the menu and opted for the fresh catch of the day which was sautéed white roughy. Vicki, with Aura’s seasoned advice, also added Creole-style rice and beans to accompany the fish.

My choice was the fresh char-grilled mahi mahi for $22.99 served with a Key lime aioli sauce — no this is not the dolphin that we all loved as Flipper — this is the bull-dolphin fish with no relation to one of our favorite mammals.

On the side, the mahi is served with fresh steamed veggies and a sultry and flavorful island rice. I believe there might be a touch of saffron hidden in the rice, but whatever secrets Chef Sam Hapstak has in the kitchen, the results he and his staff produce are outstanding.

Vicki Lynn adored her fresh catch of the day, the Creole-style rice and beans were a big hit, and as Mary and Mike tucked into another portion of mahi mahi and an order of jumbo shrimp sautéed with an island barbecue sauce, the evening under the stars was satiating and complete.

Guy Harvey’s Island Grill is open seven days for lunch and dinner. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. daily, and dinner until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, dinner is served waterside until the hour before midnight.

Daily restaurant specials and Guy Harvey’s art gallery information are available at 642-2248. A website is available at Guyharveysislandgrill.net.

Guy Harvey’s has a new summer special lunch menu with discounted prices, and during the summer at Guy Harvey’s, guests can now enjoy the value of one free appetizer from the Light Tackle menu when ordering two adult entrées. Happy hour is always celebrated at Guy Harvey’s every day with discounted prices on drafts, wine, domestic beer, and well drinks, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Located at 760 N. Collier Blvd. in the Venetian-style Esplanade, the Island Grill is not only a waterside restaurant but also an art galley for world-renowned maritime artist Guy Harvey. Harvey’s aquatic artwork is available for purchase as well as furniture from Indonesia and nautical and oceanic souvenirs from around the world.

Our compliments to general manager Bradley Norden, managers Danny Dawber and Mike Sweeny, Vera from Austria behind the bar, and our very special server Aura, who’s international accent, demeanor, and perky spirit only add a tasteful spice to the special experience that only be captured at Guy Harvey’s Island Grill and art Gallery.

The spirit of “The Old Man and the Sea” is indeed, alive and well at Guy Harvey’s!

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Tom Williams writing has been published in Amsco School Publications, he is a local sailboat captain and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort associate for 29 years. His debut adventure novel “Lost and Found” is under contract with Archebooks and is scheduled for release in the U.S. and the U.K. this September. Tom is available at Capttom@marcoislandtoday.com the website for Tom’s upcoming novel iswww.lostandfoundadventure.com.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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