‘Watts for Dinner’: The Boulevard – rebirth of a restaurant

Will Watts

Our next food destination is The Boulevard, the upscale rebirth of the restaurant formerly known as Philly Grille on Marco Island. Gone, at least for now, are what I considered to be some of the best burgers on Marco Island and the popular Philly cheese steak sandwich. Today, we’ll be talking about some of the dishes that replaced these items.

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I started out ordering the soup de jour on this cold night, the pasta fagioli. Served with a flatbread wedge, which was chewy and amazing, the soup was a warming, comfort food delight. However, between the flatbread on the side, the pasta and northern beans inside, I sort of felt like it was a bit too much. But that’s much better than it being not enough.

My partner in dine started off on a more appetizing trek, ordering the roasted beet salad: roasted beets with onions, goat cheese and “farm fresh” greens with toasted pecans in a ginger citrus vinaigrette dressing.

This was obviously the highlight of his meal. In addition to being a beautiful dish, the goat cheese took the form of two tempura-like balls that sat atop the dish. This dish comes highly recommended.

Also, on the appetizer side (what can I say, we were hungry) we ordered the coconut shrimp. Crispy butterfly shrimp with a sweet, savory and thick soy dipping sauce.  

For his main entrée, he ordered the chicken Portofino, chicken breast sautéed with “fresh” tomatoes, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers served over spaghetti.

Another beautiful and plentiful presentation, the only complaint was that the flavor of this dish is a bit muted. That occurrence is more common on Marco Island than not, as I feel some restaurants do go a little more gingerly on some of their dishes due to the needs of their clientele. And if that is the case, who came blame them?

My main dish was the shrimp and scallops pesto: sautéed shrimp and scallops in a cream pesto sauce served over pappardelle pasta, a very large, very broad and flat noodle that was perfect for this sauce. Typically, pesto dishes can be a bit overwhelming; and often cream is abused and completely removes the flavor of a signature ingredient. Not here. This was a perfect blend of cream and pesto.

Both the scallops and the shrimp were high quality, large and plentiful. If this dish exists anywhere else on the island, I highly doubt it could be better than this one.

For dessert, we picked the limoncello cake. Once again, the presentation was well done. While among desserts and even among limoncello cakes this would not rank as the best, but it was a unique and delicious twist on the dessert; light and fluffy with an enchanting smell and taste.

This is a great effort to move this restaurant up the chain and it should be applauded. But I will miss the hamburgers.    

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If you go

The Boulevard

  • 1000 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-394-2221
  • theboulevardmarco.com