Feast on fish at Blue Marlin
Adam Ellis | submitted
Adam Ellis offers fresh seafood dishes
and fine wine at the Blue Marlin.
If you like your seafood fresh, your dining experience casual and your wine interesting and obscure, there's a new place in Bradenton Beach that could fill the bill.
In November, Adam Ellis opened the Blue Marlin Grill in the heart of historic Bridge Street. You'll know the Blue Marlin by the vibrant blue color of this historic 1920s cottage, and once inside you will feel like you're in a seafood house in coastal Maine.
Ellis and his staff restored the cottage, which has been in his wife Marianne Norman-Ellis' family for 20 years. In keeping with the feel of an intimate coastal restaurant, they retained the original wainscoting and wood flooring and cleverly built tables and benches from recycled dock wood. The walls and ceilings are painted pale blue and white with nautical artwork, black and white photos, oars and ships lanterns scattered around. Ellis' staff is made up of friends who also happen to be artists, so the original artwork in the restaurant is also for sale.
There is a lovely curved bar, also hand built, and an outside deck they call The Trap Yard. The décor is deliberately understated so as not to take away from the food, which focuses on daily fresh fish brought in directly from the Cortez fishing fleet.
Adam Ellis has worked in restaurants on the Island and also in town for many years. He has experience in commercial fishing and understands how the fishing industry and seafood restaurants need to work hand in hand. He buys his fish daily in Cortez, which not only provides his restaurant with the freshest possible fish, but also gives him the ability to offer daily specials with that day's catch.
Although the focus of the menu at the Blue Marlin Grill is fish, it also offers a steak sandwich, which is so much more than a sandwich, short ribs and roasted chicken. The fish dishes include grouper and snapper blackened or sautéed, shrimp and grits, garlic shrimp, Stone Crab Mac & Cheese, fresh oysters and, of course, the daily specials. They offer Cortez chowder and tater soup, salads, starters like Cortez smoked mullet spread, shrimp egg rolls, shrimp cocktail gazpacho, and side dishes. There is something on the menu for everyone at every price point. Don't leave without tasting the Guinness chocolate cake, Abuela's flan or grilled pineapple ring and other dessert specials for Valentine's Day. Starting in February Ellis plans on opening at 1 p.m. with a few lighter additions to the existing menu.
Ellis is proud of his wine list, which is always changing and mostly includes Spanish and California wines from small vineyards like Lola, all available by the glass. Beer is on tap, as well as bottles and cans.
On Friday and Saturday nights there is entertainment in the courtyard with a different live band weekly, so check out the entertainment schedule on Blue Marlin's web-site. The deck is a great place to listen to local bands after a delicious dinner.
Someone once told Adam Ellis that if you're going to start a restaurant make it a place you'll like because you'll always be there. The casual coastal feel of the Blue Marlin Grill is a restaurant that you're also guaranteed to like.
Blue Marlin Grill
121 Bridge Street
Monday through Saturday:
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Starting in February:
1 p.m. to 10 p.m.