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We come prepared. Normally we wouldn’t have had the strength to forgo an appetizer – especially when the menu features tempura shrimp in a chili sauce, warm baked brie or duck pot stickers – but I had seen the dessert menu; so, I knew I needed to leave room for that.

There were other factors as well. As you might imagine, all entrees include a house salad – in this case they are prepared with a garlic roasted vinaigrette dressing. But for a small upcharge, you can also choose from their regular soup and salad menu; which we did.

It was a chilly night and I opted for the soup on the special’s board, a potato-leek and Parmesan delight. This sent my taste buds soaring. What a winning combo. Love getting back to my roots; but I had never considered this cheese as a topper.

My partner in dine started things out by upgrading to the roasted beets salad; featuring mandarin oranges, mixed greens, red onions, gorgonzola cheese and toasted almonds in a white mandarin vinaigrette. Excellent!  

For his main entrée, he chose the chicken phyllo ($24) chicken breast, spinach and Boursin cheese wrapped in crisp phyllo dough and baked to a golden brown and with garlic mashed potatoes in a chicken stock. I was amazed by the portion size and generous helping of cheese pouring out the sides. I feared my dessert might be in jeopardy! The dish received rave reviews.

For my main dish, I picked the meatloaf ($22). It was a layered masterpiece with a garlic mashed potato foundation, a hearty portion of meat featuring a tangy mushroom smoked tomato sauce and topped with green beans. The sauce was the star of this entrée; and I cleaned my plate.

Even though I shouldn’t have, I made room for dessert. We shared the whiskey bread pudding featuring raisins soaked in a Kentucky bourbon whiskey sauce and topped with vanilla-bean ice cream.

I had been thinking about this dish all night. When it comes to bread puddings, we’ve had our ups and downs. This one was a winner. Served warm, the sauce and ice cream nearly stole the show. I was in heaven; and happy I didn’t order it just for myself (because I would have eaten it all).

Verdi’s looks and feels like a high-end establishment. But the prices are refreshingly reasonable. And the surroundings are clean, modern and comfortable.

The restaurant has been in business since 1998 on Marco Island, and it’s easy to see why. Treat yourself to an amazing night out; you won’t be disappointed.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Capri Fish House when you’re in the mood for seafood

More: ‘Watt’s for Dinner’: CJ’s for equal parts sinful and healthy

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Verdi’s Bistro

  • 241 North Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-394-5533
  • verdisbistro.com
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