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Jan 3, 2007 01:57 AM

Anyone dine in Key West last week?

I generally don't do a lot of "fine dining" when in kw (I go down there to visit my family almost every month and usually wind up at 5 Brothers, The Deli or 915 more than anywhere else). However, this past week, I had some extended family in town, so there were several dinners. I know that the Christmas/New Year time is generally regarded as one of the worst times to dine out down there, but honestly I was a little surprised at how bad some of it was.

I hadn't been to Michael's in over year. I generally recommend it, however this time around, several meat entrees (namely filet and lamb) were very overcooked, as were ALL of the chocolate volcanoes. They barely had anything molten going on inside. It was kind of sad. The salads were weak as well, with two caesars looking completely different from one another and a mediterranean salad being drowned in dressing. I swear the crabcake has gotten smaller as well.

I went to Hot Tin Roof for the first time, so I can't really say if it's changed at all. The smoked conch chowder was very good. My grouper was a bit overcooked and dry, but the artichoke/bacon mashed potatoes were excellent. I found the complimentary flashlight key chains a bit ridiculous, however. The dining room is dark, perhaps a little too dark for some to easily read the menu. It seems obvious that the solution is to turn up the lights a bit rather than furnishing every single customer with their own little flashlight that they can then do morse code with throughout the evening.

By far, the most disappointing of all was the new years eve dinner at Antonia's. I've only eaten there once since the restaurant has changed ownership and that time, just a few months ago, was excellent. The $85 per person NYE menu (antipasti, small plate, entree, dessert), however, was an embarrassment. None of the staff could confidently, let alone accurately, answer our questions about the menu. Perhaps the best example was when one waiter replied to the question, "What's the tourchon of oxtail and foie gras?" with "I believe the tourchon is a certain part of the oxtail." It went on like that throughout the meal. The lobster entree was perhaps the worst--half (yes, only half) of a Maine lobster tail stuffed with scallops and cream-- bland (aside from the funky tasting scallops) and overcooked.

7 Fish was by far the best meal of the week. All of the dishes and service were as good as ever. Lunches at Sarabeths were also consistently good.

Did anyone else have similar experiences? Have Michael's and Antonia's been slipping for a while? I hope not.

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  1. Funny Nick, I was down there too last week but it was for a wedding.
    I have always liked Antonia's but I have had a couple of bad meals there since it sold but I seemed to be the minority so I still recommend it but maybe things are really slipping there.
    I have never had a good meal at Hot Tin Roof and we tried 3 times! The last time was on someone elses dime.
    Michaels is just sad. I hope that was just an off night........a really off night. I would write Mel or Michael a note and tell them what happened. I use to dine there a few times a month for a few years and I could count on one hand how many times my steak was overcooked.
    I did have breakfast at Sarabeths last week and it was good. I didn't get a chance to eat at 7 Fish but I have never had a bad meal there.
    I did eat at a new place that the chef from 7 Fish, Steve, has a hand in. I think its called Twisted Dish and it up on Southard where the Meteor was. Steve did the menu. My guest had Fish Tacos and I had a steak sandwich and both were great!

    1. Been going to the Keys for 10 years. Have eaten at Antonia's every year - it's wonderful.
      7 Fish is a very neat, neighborhood place, hard to find, but has a charming, eclectic menu.
      Mangoes was always great, try the mushroom martinis (no you don't drink them), Bob Flay actually filmed a show there 2 years ago. but I understand it's under new ownership since last year, so who knows.
      I understand La Te Da has good food and is very "entertainig".
      Great Pina Coladas at the Mexican place at Sunset Pier.
      Venice Jo

      1. Mangoes sold and it has changed for the worse. Very, very sad.
        La Te Da also has new ownership in the restaurant.