The first time FKGuy and I visited Key West, in 1996, we stayed at The Pier House. Perched at the end of Duval Street, overlooking the water, with lush gardens and a beautiful pool, we loved it. Alas, we never went back. Recently, we enjoyed dinner at One Duval.
Summer in Key West means many things. Some of the highlights include fantastic restaurant deals for locals and visitors alike. One Duval offers a locals deal all year, from 5 – 7 PM. (I’ve learned to enjoy an early dinner when it comes at a hefty discount.) The $20 menu includes a choice of two courses, either appetizer, and entrée, or entrée and dessert.
Appetizers: Spinach salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts, or creamy conch chowder.
Entrées: Pan seared yellow tail with a potato cake, sautéed spinach, and citrus butter; seared ahi tuna with udon noodles and baby bok choy; chicken piccata; or a 12-ounce pork chop with cilantro rice and plantains.
There are desserts, too. Either chocolate mousse cake or guava and mango cheesecake.
We opted to sit outside on the deck, overlooking the water and shielded from the direct sun. Even on a sweltering day, sitting outside was a comfortable choice. The impressive view doesn’t hurt. On the evening that we dined, the restaurant was quite slow, yet our service was attentive and friendly.
I am a lover of all things carb. Yes, I know I shouldn’t eat them, and I could probably lose weight if I would just give up the bread and pasta. But that would mean giving up bread and pasta, and that is not any fun at all. The bread basket at One Duval is served with perfectly soft butter (which may have more to do with the fact that it is 400 degrees outside than anything else), along with chili oil, and balsamic and oil. In the interest of sharing the full experience with you, I tried them all. While the chili oil is spicy and delicious, I am always a sucker for the perfectly melty butter and made sure that none went to waste.
For dinner, I started with the spinach salad, followed by the yellow tail, while FKGuy chose the chowder and tuna. I am not a fan of fruity dressings on my salad, so I opted for oil and vinegar rather than the raspberry vinaigrette. The fresh spinach, creamy goat cheese, walnuts, and raspberries make an excellent salad. FKGuy’s chowder was creamy, flavorful, and full of conch. Both dishes are winners.
Pan seared yellow tail, when done properly, is excellent. This was no exception. Served with a citrus beurre blanc, crispy potato cake, and sautéed spinach, it is the kind of dish I could eat every day and never tire of. The tuna, seared and served chilled over cold noodles, was superb. I would not hesitate to order either dish again.
Bottom line: One Duval is certainly worth a visit, and while their regular menu is reasonably priced, the two-course $20 deal can’t be beaten.