The restaurant is located behind the fish market in
By Liza Morrow
sun staff writer
Wish my date last night was this interesting,"
Jane Green said, slumping on the table in mock frustration.
It was girls night out at The Star Fish Co., a gritty
seafood shack in Cortez, and the subject at hand was not
this 42-year-old attorneys love life (though that
would come), but crab cakes with flavors so soulfully
deep that she was savoring each bite.
Seafood restaurants have proliferated on our Gulf coast
for years but there arent many perched on a dock
with their very own fish market attached. If you want
to be sure your fish is fresh, just check out the sparkling
display case in the adjacent shop or ask the fisherman,
who is bringing it off his boat and through the back door,
when he sits down next to you to order lunch and a cold
one. Diners looking for an outside dining and drinking
spot with a funky old Florida style and really good food
will find it all at this place.
Star Fish is definitely for those who want the pleasure
of fresh seafood. Never mind fancy sauces, creative flourishes,
snazzy service or china, as each order comes in a paper
box from AP Bell Wholesale Fish Market down the block.
Diners sit at picnic tables and orders are delivered by
a cook in an apron asking "Who ordered the blackened
Janes crab cakes elicited a "Wow!" response
from each one of us that tried it at my table. The crispy,
chubby discs were hot and crispy at the edges and tasted
as fresh as the sea within. Two pieces, as big as the
top tier of a wedding cake are served with two choices
from the side dish selections of cole slaw, cheese grits,
French fries or hush puppies. The cakes could not have
been better and at $7.95 for one or 11.95 for two it is
a remarkable value. Line cook Jim Gowett calls this dish,
"A pure crab cake, not three bites crab and 5 bites
green pepper, onions and celery. Served with a creamy
Dijon sauce, the same sauce we serve with crab claws,
it is a no-brainer. You can buy all the ingredients in
the market and well tell you how to make them. Easy.
But for those that dont want to be bothered we also
sell the crab cakes pre-made in the market for less than
5 bucks each. Make it yourself and youll get more
than double the amount at the same price."
When friends come for dinner we tend to cook what we know.
There is no sense attempting fresh river eel napoleons
when crab cakes and cole slaw have proven to be crowd
pleasers. Seafood is a near perfect food. High in protein,
low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals it fits the
bill for many health-conscious diners who also savor its
delicious flavors. It is the food that signifies youth,
beauty and health and it is hard to think of fish as anything
other than wholesome. Red meat consumption is down and
seafood demand is spiraling off the charts. When we cook
a filet mignon, we know we am succumbing to nothing more
than luxury. When we cook seafood, we feel like the benefactor
of good things, no matter how much butter and cream it
is cooked in or served with! And cook you must. At this
time of year, when the air is as humid as a downed cumulous
cloud and the barbeque smokes before you even light the
coals a quick sauté is the most we want to muster.