‘Watts for Dinner’: Club dining – drinks and a nosh poolside

Will Watts

It was nearly two years ago that we first ventured off island (just barely) for a new dining experience, at least for us. It was Hammock Bay Grill, located in the JW Marriott Marco Island’s country club and golf course inside Hammock Bay on Mainsail Drive.

So, we decided to check in on them once more. And that’s also our next dining destination.

So, your first thought might be, isn’t this only for members. And the answer is no. Everyone’s welcome. But this is not a commercial establishment, in the sense that the grill does not actively solicit customers.

We started with frozen drinks – what’s better for eating poolside. I had the pina colada, my dining companion had the mango.

For an appetizer, we picked the grouper fingers basket, which yes, is an entrée. But we don’t live by the rules, and yes, they do have typical appetizers.

The fingers are super delicious, lightly fried in a panko crust. I highly recommend this dish. And one of the perks of it being an entrée, we had fries to share. Also, great! Especially dipped in the tartar for the fish.

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For my entrée, I got the Par Three, which is tuna salad, egg salad and chicken salad on a bed of greens with tringles of naan. The tuna salad was my absolute favorite, followed by the egg – which I mostly mixed into the tuna. Yum! The chicken salad was solid, I just never have liked it as much.

My partner in dine had the shrimp wrap with cole slaw. It’s a spinach wrap with bacon, lettuce, tomato and fried shrimp. It also had a bit of a spicy kick in the way of a dressing. Very tasty, for the some who like it hot; but not for those who sweat when the heat is on. Hat tip Power Station.

Back to our January 2020 visit, we sampled the quarterback sliders; four mini-Angus burgers with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and crispy battered fries. We were also provided with house-made potato chips and house-made onion dip.

Spoiler! The tiny burgers stole the show. Amazing! The buns were super soft and fresh; the meat was high end and very lean. A perfect dish for the game. The fries and chips only added to my joy. And we dipped both in the thick and creamy dip.

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For my entrée, and from the main menu, under “hand helds,” I picked the classic club; thinly sliced turkey breast, applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato and citrus mayo, on three slices of thick white toasted bread (quartered) and served with a pickle wedge.

Ok, the best classic club I’ve ever had come from the Ritz in New York (same company as the Marriott). This is my second favorite and the SpeakEasy on Marco Island has my third favorite.

This sandwich was huge and delicious. And yes, I had to back half of it up for lunch the next day.

This entrée come with your choice of side: fries, chips or pasta salad. Since I tried the first two already, I selected the pasta salad. Very light mix (even though there’s nothing light about pasta).

My partner in dine selected “The Californian,” blackened chicken with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and – wait for it – a fried egg – served on a naan. Huge! Fresh! Amazing! What a unique sandwich!

For his side, he picked fries, and two our amazement, it was thick-cut steak fries; just like mom used to make. Any meal from the same restaurant with two kinds of fries is a winner in my book.

While Hammock Grill may not be commercial, it is definitely appealing and worth a try. Go out of your way. You won’t be sorry.  Happy eating!

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If you go

Hammock Bay Grill