Dining out: Konrad's a wunderbar experience

Monte Carlo Sea Bass with rice in a cream sauce.

Monte Carlo Sea Bass with rice in a cream sauce.

Konrad’s Seafood and Grille Room

599 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, 642-3332

Hours:Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. daily. Complimentary valet parking and taxi service.

Cuisine: Continental and Barvarian.

Atmosphere: Casual, neoclassical with a flair all its own.

Service: Attentive staff made dining experience a pleasure.

Beverages: Extensive wine list, beer, soda and full service bar.

Prices: Appetizers and soups, $6.49 to $9.99. Entrees, $16.99 to $29.99, includes a trip to the salad bar. Sunset specials, $13.99 to $16.99, from 5 to 6 p.m. There is also a children’s menu, $6.99 to $8.99.

Recommended dishes: Artichokes Alexis, lobster bisque, Monte Carlo sea bass and any of the Barvarian specialities.

Verdict: Wonderful food and service plus a fantastic salad bar. Perfect for two or a large gathering.

Konrad’s Seafood & Grille Room’s lobby opens into a spacious dining room with French doors leading to two smaller, more private dining rooms.

Hues of mauve and green accent the neoclassical dining rooms. There is also a cocktail lounge and patio dining where smoking is permitted.

After we were seated by the chef in one of the more secluded dining rooms, our waiter, George, pointed out the specials, took our drink order and left us to peruse the hefty menu. My friend, Joann, selected the Artichokes Alexis, and pointed out that the dish was named after Konrad’s daughter. I decided on soup rather than an appetizer, as the lobster bisque had caught my attention.

George brought us an assortment of warm bread — focaccia, an authentic German rye and something the restaurant calls spaetzle bread — served with a colorful dish of tomato, curry and chive and salted butters. He recommended trying the bright yellow curry butter on the spaetzle bread. Joann loved its slightly crunchy top and chewy center paired with the spicy butter.

Choosing entrees was not easy. There’s lots to pick from. Joann and I both wanted the rack of lamb and the Monte Carlo sea bass. I thought about ordering one of the Bavarian specialties such as weinerschnitzel or sauerbraten, but we decided on sharing the lamb and fish entrees so we would get a taste of both.

The appetizers arrived at our table. Artichokes Alexis, a threesome of baked petite artichoke hearts filled with spinach and feta cheese, basted in wine, butter and herbs and gratineed with Romano cheese, was incredible. Warm and creamy feta cheese complemented the tender artichokes.

The bowl of rosy lobster bisque was enough to share. Vintage sherry, cream and lobster essence was a mouthful of bliss.

There’s no salad on the menu, since Konrad’s offers an extensive salad bar with all entrees. Greens, pickled carrots and cucumbers, apple salad, potato salad and almost anything else you might want was there for the picking. A make-your-own Caesar salad, including anchovies and croutons, was my choice. Joann chose several of the salads to taste and was impressed with the variety.

George brought our entrees after clearing our salad plates. The Monte Carlo sea bass was striking. The golden pan-fried fish was served with a creamy light green pesto sauce on top, perched on a bed of rice ringed in a pink lobster cream sauce. Joann loved the how the different flavors worked with mild, flaky fish; nothing was too overpowering.

Three petite butterflied double lamb chops, lightly encrusted with Dijon mustard, rosemary, garlic and panko breadcrumbs, were cooked rare, just as I asked. They were presented beautifully with a melange of vegetables, including a broiled tomato, tender green beans, carrots and sauteed spinach. The fish was also served with the same assortment of veggies. I left the mint jelly alone. Who would want to hide the taste of this succulent meat?

Joann and I could not finish our dinners. George returned to our table bringing take-home containers and the dessert menus. We ordered the key lime pie, a Marco Sunset and two coffees.

As far as sunsets go, this dessert was the most beautiful one I had seen in a while. Clouds of sinful chocolate mousse hid a compote of blueberry and raspberries in a dark chocolate cup with accents of whipped cream.

The key lime pie was not your average condensed-milk variety. It was firm, but not too firm, and did not have the grainy texture of the sweetened milk. Both desserts were definitely worth saving room for.

We finished up our coffees, enjoying our time away from home and families. George packed up our leftovers, and after complimenting Konrad for the wonderful meal and George for the impeccable service, Joann and I headed out the door into the warm Marco night.

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