Bay House Restaurant North Naples
The Bay House restaurant, in North Naples, has a new chef and wonderful food. The setting has always been beautiful-a warm, old Florida atmosphere overlooking the Cocohatchee River. However, the menu had been old fashioned and uninviting. With the arrival of a new chef and more interesting menu, MsRev and I decided to give it a go with some friends.
The menu has some Southern, mostly seafood, and tilted towards the low country cuisine of Charleston and Savannah.
Crispy fried oysters with Cajun remoulade were ethereal. They serve some of the best mussels I’ve had down here. They don’t use the ubiquitious New Zealand green-lipped and taste more like mussels we ate in Italy last fall. Crushed olive Caesar was quite tasty, an interesting twist on the usual Caesar. The beet carpaccio was a bit bland. If soft shelled crab is offered as a special appetizer, order it. Even the hot out of the oven buns were delicious.
The shrimp and grits entree is to do die for. It’s better than any we’ve had in the low country itself. Other entrees we thoroughly enjoyed were the oven roasted black grouper, seared jumbo sea scallops, and roasted sea bass with artichoke and shrimp fritters.
They serve a respectable key lime pie and crème brulee. Chocolate cake was a bit heavy and doughy.
Prices are moderate, with all seafood entrees under $30 (unfortunately, that’s moderate for Naples nowadays).
I've always loved this restaurant for the setting, and when I went back recently with my dad as we've done in the past, I really loved the food. I actually quite liked the beet carpaccio, and the sea scallops were cooked perfectly. They weren't dishes I would normally order, but I did and I loved them. They were actually on the summer tasting menu! Great deal. It pays to hang out in Naples in the summer, I tell you. Now I wish I could go back and try the shrimp and grits (hopefully it'll be there the next time I'm home!).
The NewsMess is just that on food writing lately. A mess of sloppiness and incompetence. I think their reviewer reads other's reviews to know what to rave about. Sad.
To destroy any further credibility, read their Wednesday's "The year's 10 best restaurants make dining great" .
If you can't get it on line, their "Year's 10 Best" list includes Angelinas and Bonefish Grill, (I like both, that's fine) Then Eastside Firepit City Grill" at Gulf Coast Town Center, overpriced Trilogy in Naples, Artistic Deli, Holiday Inn's Cafe 2431, Cirella's Italian Bistro, Crave, Crust, Il Pomodoro, and Rain Sushi Bar. Huh?
No mention of Sea Salt, IM Tapas, M Waterfront, Escargot 41, Eurasia, H2's, A Table Apart, Thistle Lodge, fun Yabo's, deparated Cru, or a dozen others ANYONE would rank ahead of some of their "top ten" for the year 2008. "Sloppy Ten" I call it, -for sloppy journalism in claiming, in a headline no less, that these are the Top in Collier and Lee Counties,- and laziness in not trying to pick out the "(somewhat) generally accepted" outstanding, or creative places, for inclusion in such a "Top Ten" list.
We, collectively, could have come up with far, far better list. "Jean LePouf" used to be a very sharp critc a few years ago, now the current one is an inexperienced seemingly 20-something who needs 10 years of diing out before she has a palate to discuss dining with any credibility. Is she the editor's daughter? There is a blogger with the same newspaper about 10 years old, who has a more discerning palate, and even knows the best kept restrooms in town! Two good reasons why one should just ignore the current Jean Le Boeuf, and let her first get good at reviewing restrooms before letting her even think of handling restaurants.
I learned to trust Karen Feldman's reviews in the upstart newspaper, the Florida-Weekly.com. I ignored the Naples Daily News' gaggle of food writers for the most part, since competent critic Linda Gordon passed away over a year ago. Chiara is the only one I'll read. Maybe Fort Myers' current Jean Le Pouf came from the NDN flock of failed food writers?
That's why I started my food blog for my friends, and learned about Chowhound. When you can no longer trust the newspaper food writers, someone with taste and ability to write hopefully will fill the void. Let me know when such a person comes to those other two 'mainstream" newspapers.
While I enjoy Crust, Wyld's Cafe, it's sister restaurant, has better food and more sophisticated cooking. Bonefish is good but I don't believe a chain restaurant should be on that list. At least they picked Angelina's for best Italian. The readers of the Reno Gazette have chose Olive Garden as best Italian in Reno the last few years.