Salute! on the beach has one of the best restaurant settings anywhere. It is located in Key West on Higgs beach, with a small path separating the restaurant from the sand, volleyball net and water. I suppose technically it is on the Atlantic side, but it is at about the Southernmost point in the continental US, and where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet.
Salute! has a pretty basic menu, with nightly fish specials. I started with the caprese salad, which can be had wither with or without avocado. I ordered it with, but only if the avocado is ripe. I didn’t want another Out Of the Blue debacle. The salad came with beautifully ripe tomatoes, luscious avocado, loads of mozzarella and a good balsamic glaze. It also had a chiffonade of basil – not just giant leaves stuck on the plate. I actually got some basil in each bite without even trying.When the waiter came to clear the plates he asked us to keep our silverware, a habit I find a bit annoying. Just bring another one. When I am home I have a separate salad fork and dinner fork, I’d like the same in a restaurant. While I am at it, I will also mention that while they charge a reasonable $15 for corkage, their wine glasses are crap. I’m just saying…
I tried ordering the vegetable lasagna, but they were out of it, so I had the spaghetti carbonara, sans pancetta, with sauteed yellowtail on top (pictured above). It came as ordered. the carbonara was a rich, creamy and very buttery (in a good way) pasta, topped with yellowtail that was perfectly cooked and not even a tiny bit greasy, which was helpful as I had a plate full of buttery pasta, too.
We also had the grouper special, which was done with a cilantro burre blanc. The fish was outstanding. The mashed potatoes on the side were, at best, nondescript. The broccoli rabe served on the side was hideously bitter – so much so that it distracted from the rest of the dish.
Overall, good food in a beautiful setting. I look forward to eating here often (just not the broccoli rabe).