945 N. Collier Blvd., Marco
Sometimes we all just need to get away. Everyone needs a break, a dream and a special place to go. On occasion, an ultimate vacation is captured in the minds eye, a perfect meal is conjured with exotic cuisine and as the sweet sounds of a familiar melody haunt the memory, an imagined destination can become almost as real as palm trees in the sunset.
Recently during a sailing outing, a group of travel agents was visiting southwest Florida. All of the travel experts loved Marco but when I asked what was the most asked after travel destination, the most popular place requested and the ultimate utopia for Americans to visit, all the travel agents started laughing.
“You never will believe it,” one of the travel agents answered with a snicker
“Is it Hawaii?” I asked.
“Is it Alaska?”
“What about the Caribbean?”
“Well I guess that’s close, but the place most folks call up and ask about doesn’t even exist.”
“No, it’s true, and a lot of travel agents agree, the most sought after tropical destination in recent years has been Cocomo. It’s just something about that Beach Boys song “Kokomo” and a lot of people don’t know it’s not even a real place.
“Well, it’s real on Marco,” was the only answer possible.
Cocomo’s, located at 945 N. Collier Blvd. on Marco Island, is as real and good as it gets when providing just what the doctor ordered when searching for a culinary holiday away from the norm.
With a menu that offers island favorites combined with exotic entrées with spices and cooking styles from around the world, Cocomo’s little island nation really has a flair for finding new items for the menu.
“Every summer we travel,” explained Cocomo’s owner Scott Gibbs. “We are always searching for something new for Cocomo’s. We never take another restaurant’s idea or recipe, but we always look for something new.
“Last summer Bonnie and I were down at Islamorada at one of our favorite places. We found an ahi tuna appetizer that we thought had potential and came home and went to work. After a few variations and several different dipping sauces, Bonnie said. ‘This is it!’ After that, the Cocomo’s ahi Tuna nachos was created, and became one of our new biggest hits on the menu!”
Scott was right. With Cocomo’s atmosphere pulsing right along with an unmistakable tropical rhythm, the culinary adventuress and I arrived for lunch and discovered that an international menu with fun and creative cuisine was just what the doctor ordered.
With banana trees, palm fronds, and enough wicker works to rival any scene from the South Seas, Cocomo’s with an indoor chickee hut could not have a better recipe for an easy-going fun-filled atmosphere.
With Bonnie’s help and Scott’s suggestion of the ahi tuna nachos, our Cocomo’s lunch experience was well underway.
Vicki Lynn chose the Cobb salad for $9.99, and was very pleased with her selection. “Fresh, crispy, and delightful,” were the official comments relating to this lunchtime classic. Cocomo’s Cobb salad is crispy romaine lettuce, smoky bacon, tomatoes, boiled egg halves, and blue cheese all tossed into a perfect summertime treat for the tropics.
When the sushi-quality seared tuna nachos arrived, I was more than impressed. For $13.99, this selection from the appetizer menu is unlike any nachos that comes to mind. First of all, consider that the ahi-sushi grade tuna is of a very high quality, and the traditional nacho chips are not chips at all but large crispy wontons that cradle seaweed salad, shaved ginger, and black sesame coated tuna seared to perfection. The Cocomo’s seared tuna nachos are served with an oriental garlic dipping sauce that sets off sides of wasabi mayo and Sriracha* hot sauce perfectly. This ahi appetizer could easily be an entrée and chopsticks are suggested for selecting perfectly bite-sized portions of this wonderful Asian-fusion fare. This inspired appetizer is a culinary holiday well worth the trip.
Our compliments to Chef Luis Sotelo and the entire Cocomo’s staff. The philosophy and credo of Cocomo’s is quite simply: “Get there fast and take it slow” and this motto could not be more appropriate for the clever international fare offered at Marco’s very own truly inspired eatery.
Another Cocomo’s favorite is the Mongolian beef for $15.99, which is thin slices of sirloin marinated in a soy vinaigrette then wok-seared with whole dried red chilies, green onions, hoisin and sriracha sauce and then topped with rice noodles.
- Hoisin sauce—a typical Chinese barbecue sauce is made from soybean paste, garlic, vinegar, and assorted chilies.
- Sriracha sauce—a favorite Asian hot sauce is named after the city Si Racha in Thailand and is made from ground sun-ripened chilies and garlic.
The Grouper Francaise for $16.99, also regularly tempts Cocomo’s patrons with fresh grouper dredged in seasoned flour, then dipped in egg wash, and sautéed with white wine, key lime, shallots, capers, and garnished with scallions.
Cocomo’s is open seven days for dinner, and open for lunch from 11:30 until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. A Web site is available for a tropical visit at cocomosgrill.com Reservations for 10 or more, lunch and dinner specials, and specialty entertainment information is available by calling 394-3600 Shyan’s corner is a great kids menu and game room with much more than the average entrées offered at many restaurants. Fettuccine Alfredo or marinara, chicken Caesar salad, and a Cocomo’s “kid’s steak” are just a few examples for children under 12.
With Cocomo’s offering over 80 lunch and dinner specials rotating over a six-week cycle, this spice of life variety just might be the prescription for a great getaway, the destination of choice, and just what the doctor ordered.
Tom Williams debut adventure/thriller novel “Lost and Found” has been released by Archebooks and is now available on Amazon. A Web site with reviews and storyline is available at www.lostandfoundadventure.com