Camille’s, Key West

I really hate going to Camille’s for brunch. The food is fine, but the wait is usually absurd and the service in the morning stinks. They just need more staff on Sunday mornings. The other thing about Camille’s is the decor. It is a little diner-ish, somewhat dirty feeling (that may have just been the crumbs on my seat) and it badly needs a makeover. Despite these issues, we went there for dinner this past weekend. (Look for photos next week.)

I had been told that Camille’s is wine friendly and when I called to ask about the corkage policy, I was told it is $7. Combined with the buy-one-get-one offer from the Woman’s Club Restaurant Card and the fact that it is extremely close to my house, we decided to try out the dinner menu. I am glad we did.

We had about a 10 minute wait, as we arrived with no reservation. Just after us a couple walked in with a reservation and were promptly seated. I know I should always reserve in season, but sometimes I just don’t decide where I want to go until the very last minute.

In typical Key West fashion, our server looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place why I knew her. Fortunately for me, I married Rain Man. He chimed in with “She used to live next door to us.” Well, she didn’t recognize us either, until I told her why we look so familiar. She brought us over some wine glasses and we heard all about her new home.

I am glad that Camille’s is corkage friendly, because their wine list really sucks. It is filled with inexpensive, run of the mill wines. On the other hand, the menu is filled with extraordinary sounding dishes. It is one of those menus – everything is described in detail, and the details are wonderful. We started with the artichoke dip, which is usually a cheesy, gooey, yet delicious mess. Not here.  Here the dip, served with toast points, is full of artichoke, some peppers, spinach and the all-important capers. They add a briny flavor and a whole new level of yum. Turns out, they also sell the artichoke dip in Fausto’s, for the nights you are entertaining but don’t feel like fussing. I had to really restrain myself from picking up the bowl and licking it clean. (I used a toast point, instead).

It was nearly impossible to decide on a main course. FKGuy went for the yellowtail topped with a creamy, jalapeno sauce, while I opted for the grouper. I really liked how the swordfish was prepared, but am not a huge fan or swordfish, so I had that preparation, done with grouper. The fish was topped with a sherry, buttery sauce and a balsamic reduction. It also came with “fun rice”.  There is also “fancy rice” on the menu and I am still wondering what the difference is between the two.

Both entrees were cooked perfectly, were large, but not absurd and most importantly, left me saying things like “mmmmmmmmmmmm…hmmmmmmmhmmmmm….” (That was me talking with my mouth full. What I meant is “Ohmygosh, this is so good. I can’t stop eating it. Why have we never been here for dinner before?”)

I usually am so full by the time dessert rolls around that I have to pass. Yet I had spent about an hour and a half listening to the homemade cheesecakes be described in detail to other tables, that I had been drooling over the white chocolate Godiva liqueur version and needed to order a slice. Amazing. Not too sweet. The cheesecake really tasted like Godiva liqueur and it was outstanding. I may need to go back right now to get some more cheesecake.

Camille’s is located at 1202 Simonton Street, at Catherine. Have you been? What do you think?




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