Fort Myers restaurant reviews: It's not you, Silver King Ocean Brasserie, it's me (and my anxiety)

Our critic waited (and waited) to eat at the new Silver King Ocean Brasserie in downtown Fort Myers. She had a delightful meal and was almost able to enjoy it.

Annabelle Tometich
Fort Myers News-Press

When Silver King Ocean Brasserie opened in November, I waited. 

As I waited, the pandemic surged, through the winter holidays and into the new year. So, I waited some more.

The flagship restaurant of the new Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers looked stunning, as did its classic-yet-modern menu. It's not that I didn't want to go. It's that I wanted to go when I could experience it properly, when I could sit inside this luxurious dining room without my overactive brain ruining things. 

As coronavirus cases decreased and vaccinations increased, I made a reservation — and then I let my mind race, and then I canceled it. I waited for my mother and my in-laws to get their shots, for my family and close friends with preexisting conditions. I waited for everyone dear to me and high risk to be double-dosed with vaccines. 

A view of the dining room at the new Silver King Ocean Brasserie, the signature restaurant of the Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers.

As my mind swirled at a slightly less frantic pace, I pulled the trigger. I snagged a Silver King table for dinner. I cleared my (already clear) schedule for the 10 days leading up to it. I washed my best mask and dusted off a dress from the back of my closet. 


I hear some of you groaning: People have been eating in restaurants in this state since May 2020! What are you so scared of?

MORE FROM JLB:Are starred restaurant reviews done? In the COVID age, it's a definite maybe

Chef de Cuisine Matthew Mohler oversees the kitchen at Silver King Ocean Brasserie in the Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers.

I'm not scared for myself. I'm relatively young and relatively fit (for a food critic). I tested positive for COVID in July and was beyond grateful to have experienced a mild case: some grogginess, some fatigue but otherwise fine. I'm even more grateful to have learned of my case early, before I could spread it to anyone else. 

Because that is what I'm scared of: It's not me, it's you. 

The mere thought I could be the reason someone ends up in a hospital paralyzes me. If I let that thought linger, if that hypothetical hospitalization becomes a hypothetical death, because I couldn't bear ordering takeout again — that's when my anxious mind swirls into a category 5 hurricane: Did you wash your hands? How many people are in this room? Is this table 6 feet from that table? Should you wash your hands again?

It's impossible to relax in a hurricane. We're Floridians. We know. 

But, in my nice dress and best mask, with my vaccinated loved ones, perhaps a few antibodies still kicking around my system, and my 10 days of quasi-quarantine — I went to Silver King.

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I sat on a cushy banquette overlooking the open kitchen. I watched chef de cuisine Matthew Mohler craft plates with the precision (and mask) of a surgeon. I drank a delightfully fizzy cocktail from a thinly stemmed flute. I ate equally delightful food.

Silver King's current menu reflects the notions of spring — an elsewhere spring, not quite a Florida one — better than almost any I've seen locally: through grassy fiddlehead ferns and tiny onions and English peas. It's divided into a classic section (East Coast oysters, NY Strip) and a modern one (yellowfin with uni, braised venison with charred eggplant and huckleberry). 

Halibut served over black rice with bacon, fiddlehead ferns and onions ($39) from Silver King Ocean Brasserie.

I enjoyed every bite I ate, from the cubes of bacon under my seared halibut, to a simple plate of fresh pasta with a rich Bolognese; to a salad of baby kale, preserved figs, orange segments and shaved daikon finished with wisps of jamon Iberico; to "conch beignets" that were really just conch fritters (though I am a sucker for a conch fritter). 

Our dessert made me even more joyful. The so-called "camp fire s'mores" came as hunks of fudge-y chocolate cake set amid crumbled Graham crackers and fat dollops of marshmallow fluff, torched till crisp and gooey. A glass cloche covered the plate till our server lifted it, releasing soft plumes of wood smoke; smoke that lent each ingredient that essential campy touch.

For $15, I ate like a 10-year-old, minus the sticky mess. That's a lot for s'mores but nothing at all to be transported to your childhood for a few bites. 

This feat of transportation isn't always so effective at Silver King mid-pandemic. I came hoping to relax, which, to an extent, I did. The masked staff helped. The well-spaced tables did, too. Silver King did all it could do and did it well. Were I a less-anxious person, were this a different 2021, were the pandemic over, I think I would have enjoyed this beautiful restaurant even more. 

As it were, I waited and waited and waited to go to Silver King.  I'll wait a little longer before returning. It's not you, Silver King, it's me.

*Our starred restaurant reviews are on hiatus until the world figures out a new, post-pandemic normal. 

Jean Le Boeuf is the brand under which our restaurant critics have written for more than 40 years. This article came from staff writer Annabelle Tometich. Follow our critics at or @JeanLeBoeuf on Twitter and Instagram; email Connect with this reporter:; @abellewrites (Instagram)

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A dessert of deconstructed "camp-fire s'mores" ($15) came cloaked in wood smoke from Silver King Ocean Brasserie.

The Silver King Ocean Brasserie

Luminary Hotel; 2200 Edwards Drive, Fort Myers

Price: $$$$$

Call: 239-314-3855

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, closed Sundays and Mondays

Etc.: Full bar, masked staff, outdoor seating available, reservations encouraged

Sample menu


Snow crab soup, $12

Duck egg, English peas & caviar, $14

Yellowfin & uni, $20


Roasted purple cauliflower, $22

Swordfish, $32

Prime NY strip, uni butter, $52

What the symbols mean

$ - Average entree is under $10

$$ - $10-$15

$$$ - $15-$20

$$$$ - $20-$25

$$$$$ - $25 and up