Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Breakfast with Roosters: Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West

A Restaurant Review

Behind the shuttered blue building on Petronia Street in the heart of old Key West, lies Blue Heaven Restaurant.  Street appeal doesn't earn an A plus, but the food sure does.

According to their website, “On September 19, 1992 Suanne the artist and Richard the writer cooked and served black beans, rice, and fish to their first lunch customers on the painted picnic tables under the tropical almond tree in the outdoor dining area

One and a half years later Richard lured his brother Dan down from his chef's position at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, N.C. A formally educated chef, who started in the restaurant business at age 14, Dan wasted no time taking over dinner at the Key West restaurants. The fish plate turned into Black Grouper seared with dried herbs and served with a key lime honey glaze and a warm cucumber and red onion salad.

Journalist Charles Kuralt said Dan's scallop sauce "would make cardboard taste good." 
So, the funky place grew to legendary fame and remains quintessential Keys.

My husband and I entered through the gate and passed an outdoor shower with a sign reading, “Showers- $1.00, To Watch- $2.00.” We heard roosters crowing and a saw chickens scurrying among the tables. Definitely the free-range type. It was too early in the day for anyone to appear on the primitive wooden stage, whose proscenium was a row of blue bottles, but the scene held an electric and eclectic air.

Coffee was brought promptly, an extraordinarily good mug with a hint of vanilla. Our waitress offered the house specialty, the BLT Benedict- crispy bacon, chunks of Florida lobster and tomato served on an English muffin with a poached egg.  I couldn’t refuse. All of this came topped with Key Lime inspired hollandaise.  WOW. 

I proclaim the combination of bacon and lobster outstanding.  Florida spiny lobster is a bit chewier than the Maine variety, but still buttery and sweet.  Florida lobsters have no claws so all the meat comes from the tail.

I noticed another posted sign which boasted,” serving heaven on a fork and sin in a glass.” At this hour I skipped the alcohol, but truly my eggs were transcendent.  I ate way more than I should, as did Jay with his bacon, lobster and cheese omelet.

After all that food, we didn’t need or eat any lunch, instead we just toured the island until Happy Hour.  While breakfast ran around $30 per person, the cost was worthy of the feast.  I’ll give Blue Heaven four stars. Be sure to come early for breakfast and make reservations for dinner. 
Website: www.blueheavenkw.com


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