Nancy and I have spent a fair amount of time on the east coast of Florida at the Marriott Vacation Club properties on Singer Island, the island north of Palm Beach — the poor section of Palm Beach, I like to call it. It’s funny that I haven’t posted on more restaurants in the area. (I have posted reviews of a few places I strongly recommend that are a little farther south, Havana in West Palm Beach, Calypso in Pompano Beach, and Little Havana in Deerfield Beach.) It’s especially odd because there are a lot of good restaurants there, including the first one we ever tried, the excellent Captain Charlie’s Reef Grill.
On our latest trip, Nancy and I stayed with our good friends, Joyce Deroy and Willie King.
I had forgotten about Captain Charlie’s because it can seem to be impossible to get a table, at least in season — it’s very popular. But we were ahead of the season and it was a rainy day, so why not? We showed up a little on the late side, and were seated almost immediately.
Captain Charlie’s is in a strip mall. It’s divided into two sections separated by the kitchen and the bar. Our seats had a good view of the kitchen and full access to the bar.
Nice photograph, eh? When you sit down at Captain Charlie’s they give you a dish of cole slaw. It was very good cole slaw, fresh and nicely dressed with mayonnaise and celery seed. Nancy, the family cole slaw genius, gave it a big thumbs up. Indeed, it was so good that Willie asked our waiter, the excellent Warren, for another serving. Then we ordered food.
Joyce ordered the “Rocktopus”, a combination of shrimp and grilled octopus.
Joyce was overwhelmed. “The best meal I’ve had since I’ve been here.” (She and Willie had been in Florida for a few days before Nancy and I arrived.)
Willie ordered the fried oysters, as he often does when he doesn’t order calamari.
“Excellent!” was the verdict. The oysters weren’t at all overcooked, not at all greasy.
Nancy knows that when you’re in Florida, you order the grouper, blackened in this case.
Nancy was very pleased. The grouper was moist, tender, and nicely spicy, very well cooked.
I started out with an appetizer of grilled shishito peppers for the table.
Delicious. I heard once that every 10th shishito pepper is hot. I don’t recall any every having been hot, and no one else at the table started gulping water. They were just flavorful, a nice start to a meal.
I usually order the grouper, but this time I ordered the triple tail snapper, in part because I couldn’t remember ever having had triple tail.
That’s a lot of fish, and it was very good fish. And it was very fresh fish, expertly cooked. It bears noting that Nancy had a pretty thick filet, and my tripletail was several thin pieces. A lot of places would over- or under-cook one or the other. Both Nancy’s and mine came out just right.
As you can see, the plates came with black beans and rice and mixed vegetables. Both were okay, nothing to write home about — unlike the seafood.
Captain Charlie’s is a great place to eat. The wood panelling adds warmth, and while there’s a constant buzz, it never gets loud. You can converse easily. And it’s a very friendly place. The service was just right. Our waiter, Warren, was attentive in a very relaxed way, able to anticipate us. And Captain Charlie’s is easy on the budget. What more could you want? If you’re in the area, head to Captain Charlie’s Reef Grill.
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