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May 17, 2009 04:51 AM

M Waterfront Grill Venetian Village Naples

A shoe hunt landed me in Naples and I decided to have lunch at M Waterfront Grill. I had written disparagingly about this location when it was Maxwell's but wanted to give it a try in its new incarnation.

You wouldn't think a Monday, after season, would be busy, especially these days but walking into the restaurant, it was a sea of women, think dressed up, think big hats, (not a red or purple one in sight, thankfully). Tables of 2 women, 4 women, 8 women, 20 women, etc. etc. I thought I was having thursday lunch at La Cote Basque (NYC) in the 80's!!!

Table for one was available and I was given a seat by the window with a nice view of the water and the room, even though I was hatless and shamelessly wearing flip flops. I was able to see the latest in cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation, Helen Kaminsky hats, whoever the latest shoe designer is (gee, Sex in the City no longer keeps us up to date). The woman sitting across from me could not move anything on her face but her lips. It was fascinating.

I ordered a glass of chardonnay. Columbia Crest Two Vines, which was light and very nice, a good house wine, $8 per glass. You can buy the bottle at Publix for $5.99 as of last week. Now that is stepping on the price a little too much but who cares, I am highly entertained so far and I am very happy to get some decent bread (a rarity right now as that is a way for restaurants to cut costs) and tapenade (actually made authentically with anchovies and capers).

I opt for the lobster roll and fries which is extra. The FF were supposed to have truffle oil drizzle but none that I could see, but who cares, I am still mesmerized by the clientele, the water view, a tiny buzz from the wine and that tapenade.

All fades with the first bite of the lobster roll. It is perfect in every way. I believe the lobster was butter poached ala Thomas Keller of French Laundry. It is succulent and decadent and there is nothing but huge lobster chunks on a butter grilled bun. At $26, it really isn't a bad price but I'll save myself the $4 for the fries next time. That lobster roll is calling my name again, a week later, will I succumb?

M Waterfront Grille has transformed itself, I hope it continues to evolve and improve. It is a nice addition to the Venetian Village. BTW, what happened to all the good shops? Many are gone, but the lobster remains. LMF

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  1. LMF,

    M Waterfront Grille has really made welcome improvements in design, decor, and most importantly food, on more than just the butter poached lobster, by putting Chef Roland at the helm-Cru's loss. I used to bring a group of 35-40 there for dinner, several times a year, when it was known as Maxwell's, and it soon became not worth going back to, at any price. Now, revitalized, I'll bring my group back this summer, for another chance.

    Funny LMF, you never struck me as "that type of woman" to go hatless-What is the world coming to? Next I'll hear you turn off your cell phone in movie theaters.

    You must be from "out of town" to not admire that woman's immutably sculpted face. Naples must have Botox in the water supply of select zip codes; such fashionably drawn faces in those over 60 yo is becoming the norm-do men like that look? Do women like that look? Who needs to smile, anyhow, when such a face looks like it's facing a perpetual windstorm, with its eyebrows arched as if someone goosed the woman? Centuries from now, archeologists will excavate Naples cemeteries, and be perplexed by the mysterious pointy paired silicone filled disks -clearly they were some highly valued object of 21st century worship!

    (BTW, some servers dread the red/purple hat crowd, they are know to order separate checks for 25 people, and are um, less than ideal tippers)

    On the other side of Park Shore, Venetian Village's Miramare has brought life to the former site of Marie Michelle's, with outdoor dining and popularly priced Italian food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

      I'll have to try Miramare the next trip down. I had lunch at Marie Michelle's a year ago and it was packed but had a very staid menu. It was fine with me, sort of like Bleu Provence, if they did lunch.

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      1. LMF,

        I'm glad you had an enjoyable experience. I wrote a favorable review last fall, but haven't been able to return. This is the former chef from Cru when it was the best restaurant around.

        Landsdowne St., a pub on 41 in Bonita Springs also has an excellent lobster roll. Mostly large chunks of lobster, very little mayo or filler. I believe it's $22. They serve it with homemade potato chips. Landsdowne has a Boston theme and is named for the street bordering Fenway Park.