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Oct 21, 2009 02:04 PM

Let down in Lee: Ted's at Coconut Pointe and Cantina Laredo at The Bell Tower

Two days, two disappointments and surprised at both.
Dinner at Cantina Laredo was dismal. I have always had good luck here and liked the atmosphere in the bar area for dinner. Hot tortilla chips and excellent salsas, perfect top shelf margaritas and my favorite: Chile Rellenos picadillo.

Not so this week, the chips tasted as if the oil was way overdue for changing. A very off flavor. The margarita was not as good as usual: I don't think they were using fresh squeezed juice. The real disappointment was the Chile Rellenos. Soggy poblano with ground beef filling that was tasteless. Usually it has golden currants, toasted almonds and beef and pork filling. It was a pale imitation of one of their signature dishes. Restaurant was less than 1/2 full but that is pretty good these days at Bell Tower. I mentioned it a friend and their experience had been similar. My husband's Prixe Fixe dinner was horrible and unidentifiable and inexplicably cold except for the sizzling plate.

Next day, while shopping at Coconut Point, I planned to have lunch at The Grape. I walked in, saw no one behind the bar, only two ladies smoking with glasses of wine outside and not one person eating at 12:45 on Tuesday afternoon. I decided on Ted's which has apparently decided to emulate Arby's or somesuch with a dreadful pulled "chicken" sandwich. Buffalo burger sounded too heavy to me. Fries were good as always. Even their pickles they make on site were soggy.

A pickup with season is desparately needed. I hope that this is just the last limp through the off season and not a true decline in quality. LMF

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  1. LMF,

    That's the second underwhelming experience at Cantina I've heard in 3 months.

    I've had two lunches at the Grape, one decent, over a year ago, one ok. I won't go back.

    Ted's Buffalo burgers are on the dry side, and need some 20% fat to compete with a good burger. That defeats the purpose, as buffalo is supposed to be less fartty, and thus less tasty. I'll stick with beef, especially "Kobe beef" from Jimmy P's in Naples, slappd on my home grill, with caramelized onions placed in the center..

    I had dinner at new Bravo at the Mercato, and had a very good experience. Pretty interior, with faux Corinthian "ruins". Not open a week, and they have their act together. Better run chains are kicking butt.

    I wonder if Ted's in Naples will flop as Kona and Ruth's Chris did. Coastland Mall is a tough market.

    Chardonnay is closed, no answer on their phone..

    1. Cantina Laredo was good when they first openend up here in Palm Beach Gardens. But it seemed their food quality went down hill quickly afterwards.

      Is this Ted's Montana Grill you are talking about? They usually maintain a high level of quality from my experience.

      5 Replies
      1. re: freakerdude

        Cantine Laredo is a small Texas-based chain. Seems like quailty control when Texas come in to start up the business, but then tends to slip in general when the locals take over.

        1. re: freakerdude

          Yes, it was Ted's Montana Grill. I was surprised at how poor it was this time.

          1. re: freakerdude

            Freakerdude when was the last time you were at Cantina in Palm Beach Gardens? We have been going there since it opened. I had one bad experience and the manager fixed it quickly. The food is obviously fresh and LMF the ritas here are definately fresh squeezed and strong. I know Michael and he seems to expect perfection. Next time you go, talk to him and let him know where you heard this. He will make sure all is well. LMF I hope the management is as good where you are.

            1. re: Kid texas

              The Cantina in Fort Myers is 7 years old at least (their first outside of Texas) and has been very good until this year. I've been three times this summer and each visit has been poorer than the previous one.

              People will probably give them another chance as we have few alternatives here.

              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                I will tell Michael. I am sure he will tell someone in Fort Myers. I have never tried the Chile Relleno Picadillo, but will next time I am there and let you know if PBG is good.

          2. What a shame. I learned to make good guacamole there. It seems to be an issue here in Lee county. Whenever we get a good chef, or a good restaurant it gets dumbed down to lowest (tourist) common denominator. I remember when Leapin' Lizard here in Cape Coral had outlandishly good food for a Key West style bar, and now, it is just bar food. If it wasn't for good Cuban pastiles I would say all hope was lost.

            1. Tried Ted's at Coastland (Naples) and it was awful. have had good bison burgers in the past, just don't expect it there. and i was a bit surprised because i saw one in Park City and figured it had to be somewhat decent to compete in the ski town.

              the Grape is so mediocre that i can't even begin to describe its failings. out of maybe 25 wines i saw 2 that i wanted to order (one was Mer Soleil).

              anyone have any opinions on the other places at Coconut Point ?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Zeits

                Poor Grape. I liked it when it first opened. It must do a business late at night because I never see anyone there. When I was still doing model homes, I shopped for incidentals at Coconut Point everyway, so I knew the restaurants there quite well. I last ate there over a year ago and it was ok only. They try to have "off beat wines", not too many seem interesting. I did get excited and bought my first Torrontes there and have been a big fan ever since.

                Lately, I've only been to Tony Saccos, which to me was totally forgettable. Big whoop on coal fired pizza. I've started to make my own here at the house on the gas grill. I had a lovely lunch on day at The Grand Cafe or whatever the old Bice is called. They seem to do the best of the restaurants at lunch. All summer, there were fairly good crowds. For dinner in the area, we have tended to go to Angelinas.

              2. LMF: ditto your evaluation of Catina Laredo. Our last two or three visits were equally dissapointing. We have loved this place for awhile but I think we have written it off.
                We live in North FL and have always tried to eat here on every visit to the area, but I think we have written it off. Food quality, taste, service have all gone away.

                1 Reply
                1. re: yayajac

                  See my reply to Freakerdude. I hope the managers where you are as good as they are here. I have been to the one in Jacksonville and it is just as good as Palm Bach Gardens.