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‘Watts for Dinner’: The Oyster Society delights in difficult times

Will Watts
Correspondent

Yes, restaurants are operating at half capacity now. And some have switched to take-out only. But on this Sunday night before the restrictions set in place, the restaurant had a full house. And even though the pandemic was likely on everyone’s mind, you couldn’t tell. Even in difficult times, Islanders and their guests know how to celebrate life.

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And where better to celebrate than The Oyster Society? Normally I forego mentioning the drinks, but considering the times, let’s talk about the spirits too. I had the ‘House Pineapple Daquiri’ featuring Bacardi and Appleton infused rum, lime juice, vanilla pineapple cordial and Angostura bitters. Served in a golden goblet with a dried pineapple floating on top and plenty of crushed ice, this was the perfect start to the evening.

My partner in dine had the ‘Social Crusta’ featuring Camus cognac, Solerno blood orange liqueur, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon juice and Champagne. A great way to add a little sparkle to your evening, both literally and figuratively.

For my starter, I picked the ‘Islander Roll’ ($16) from the sushi bar. As the menu says, this is the “better Cali” and takes a traditional California roll as its inspiration. This one features blue crab, cucumber, sesame seeds and tobiko. Large and fresh were the first two words that come to mind. And the cucumber added a nice crunch. Served with fresh ginger and soy, this was an amazing start to my dining adventure.

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Speaking of starters, my dining companion picked the ‘Local Farmers’ Salad’ ($14), featuring honey and spice roasted vegetables (carrots, baby radish, butternut squash, parsnip and pickled mushrooms) along with sweet heat pecans, watercress and pecan oil. This dish is a beauty to behold. A work of art. It could use a little extra oil, an issue that was quickly remedied. We both also enjoyed the Creole seafood soup. Amazing flavors         

For his main dish, he picked the seared diver scallops ($36), featuring mascarpone cheese stuffed ravioli, English peas, pea tendrils, a red beet puree and a vanilla bean beurre blanc. The scallops sat atop the ravioli and the entire dish was a perfect and subtle blend of flavors. My compliments to the chef.

I had the roasted chicken ($29), featuring skin-on chicken, crispy herb baby potatoes, honey cardamom carrots and a rosemary chicken jus. Let me just say, the vegetables all by themselves would have made a marvelous meal. And the tendered, juicy chicken underneath the seared skin just added to the experience. I left with a full belly and leftovers.

My previous visit was just over a year ago, on Jan. 11, 2019.

During that visit I started with a Cesar salad featuring baby Romaine lettuce, brioche croutons, a parmesan crisp and light, creamy, garlicky house dressing. I politely declined the anchovies. My partner in dine picked the beets salad, featuring fresh greens and gorgonzola cheese. So good!   

For my main entrée, I selected the grilled Key West shrimp, which featured large wild shrimp (huge!), red pepper curry sauce and saffron-chorizo rice with grilled asparagus. Amazing!

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The sauce was smoky and delicious; and was the perfect complement to my cooked-to-perfection grilled shrimp. The rice was so good, I could see it starring as the main attraction and not just the side. The saffron and chorizo make beautiful music together; both tasty and subtle as to not overpower the shrimp. The grilled goodness carried over into the asparagus, which was sporting some charring yet still was crunchy – what an accomplishment!

For his main entrée, my partner in dine picked the eight-ounce Chilean sea bass (deep water Artic); which rested on a bed of beans and was surrounded by a wide array of tasty sauces. He had never had fish and beans paired together before and found the coupling exciting and delicious.      

For dessert, I had the “one toasted coconut,” featuring rum cake, coconut mascarpone rum cream, toasted coconut and a lemon mango glaze. It was the perfect end to a beautiful meal. Although it could have used a tad more rum (just saying).

My dining companion had the chocolate and Nutella semifreddo; chocolate ganache-graham cracker crust, frozen chocolate-Nutella mousse, Frangelico crème with a wild berry coulis. I would say heavenly; but that seems wrong for something this sinfully delicious. One of Marco Island’s best desserts.

The Oyster Society, a great atmosphere, amazing food and an experience to remember. Two top notch meals in back to back visits.

And remember, social distancing is important. But it’s also important to support local businesses as long as we can. Stay safe. Here’s to many happy meals ahead.

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

If you go

The Oyster Society

  • 599 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-394-3474
  • Theoystersociety.com