Sometimes being a single diner in a world of couples and families can be a little daunting. Especially when you walk into any Joe's Crab Shack (Orlando), a seafood restaurant that also specializes in recognizing special events - like birthdays, anniversaries, bad hairdos. The music is always good and the wait staff always shows you a good time. This was just another typical Wednesday night at a Joe's Crab Shack - 99% families, couples and groups of twenty-somethings, and 1% single lady, me.
This evening I didn't feel like sitting with the masses, so I headed to the bar. It was deserted this time of night, mid-week, so I knew I'd be comfortable. At least I'd be away from most of the raucous noise of the general dining room. Julie was tending bar and serving dinner. She recommended the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and I agreed. The slight taste of butter was delightful after a day's work, and the wine shone with a greenish, straw-colored hue in the crab shack light. The barely-there lemony flavor and the creamy finish combined for an experience as smooth as liquid yogurt. The chill was perfect and the finish was toasted oak with a nutty kick. Solid, steady, you always know what you're going to get with a Kendall Jackson wine.
Julie allowed me time to enjoy the chardonnay and review the menu. I was all set to order, but then she launched into tonight's specials. One in particular sounded interesting - the Snapper Pontchartrain. A beautiful, gulf-grown Red Snapper covered up in mushrooms and grilled shrimp is how she described it. I had to try it! As Julie said, "how often do you see Snapper Pontchartrain on the menu?"
The Snapper was spicy and blackened, made salty from the Gulf's saltwater and tasted devine! It was perfectly cooked, with the crispy skin and edges giving way to the sweet hot red meat inside. The Pontchartrain sauce was a complex complement to the Snapper and simply grilled shrimp. It featured an amazing blend of spices, garlic, cream, mushrooms, chardonnay and salt.
But you have to leave room for the dirty rice! That's what you use to sop up the extra Pontchartrain sauce! When you run out of rice, use the broccoli.