‘Watts for Dinner’: Sale e Pepe for beachside fine dining
From a small tortilla in Golden Gate, to dining beachside on Marco Island, great food can be found everywhere in Southwest Florida; and that’s why I love what I do.
This Saturday night found me at Sale e Pepe, inside the Marco Beach Ocean Resort. There was a wedding reception going on next to us, so we also had an unexpected floor show filled with speeches, music and celebration.
I started off with the Caprese salad ($16) – Florida heirloom tomatoes, DOP (protected designation of origin -- certification that ensures that products are locally grown and packaged) buffalo mozzarella and topped with an olive oil crisp.
This salad was a work of art; but featured too much cheese and not enough tomatoes for my taste. Noteworthy here: too much cheese is hardly a powerful complaint.
My partner in dine had the autunnale salad ($15) – mesclun greens, honeycrisp apple, gorgonzola dolce, walnuts and saba (an ancient Roman-times condiment, the result of cooking grape musts over fire; the main ingredient in traditional balsamic). Fresh, light and full of flavor.
For his main dish, he picked the Georges Bank halibut ($48) with “schiacciata” (a word typically used to describe Tuscan flatbread) potato, Chanterelle (a type of mushroom) cream and a lemongrass basil emulsion.
The fish was cooked to perfect, with a golden outer layer and tender inner layer and was accented perfectly with the emulsion and other compliments.
For my entrée, I chose the 12-ounce black angus ribeye ($50) and added an Anson Mills (see ansonmills.com, it’s far too complicated to get into here) polenta featuring Hen of the Woods mushrooms ($16); you know, the ones that grow at the base of trees.
The ribeye was cooked to perfection; the kind of taste that doesn’t have you looking for a steak sauce or ketchup. The mushrooms were the highlight of the polenta; which had a very natural flavor.
For dessert we shared a bonet ($12), a traditional Piedmont cake featuring Tahitian vanilla cremoso.
The name bonet, means hat, which you may have guessed. The dish is a cross between creme caramel, blancmange and chocolate pudding, and it has been prepared in Piedmont for centuries – the mould is supposed to resemble a cook’s hat.
The dessert was amazing and all the sweet surprises that surround the bonet will leave you wanting more.
Sale e Pepe, is the perfect spot for an evening of fine dining or to celebrate something special.
This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.
If you go
Sale e Pepe
- In the beach pavillion behind the Marco Beach Ocean Resort
- 480 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island
- 239- 393-1600