Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant

We went to Cape Coral today to buy a car. That's another story, but on the way home, we decided to happen through Sarasota and find the Trader Joes. We knew it was on Tamiami Trail, but not exactly where. In looking, I spied a place with a thatched roof tiki bar and a lot full of cars. The sign outside said 'Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant." I had already had it in my head we were having seafood for dinner, having visited Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda and walking through the seafood restaurant when we weren't hungry. If the others weren't interested, I'd be lobbying for this place for dinner-thankfully, there was no arguing. Once we'd settled into a hotel and made the maiden visit to TJ's (we'll be back), we were hungry enough for dinner.

We pulled into the lot at 8:30 on a Sunday, the bar outside full of people, the restaurant not nearly as busy. When we walked in, a hostess asked if we were there for dinner, then a server suggested we pick whatever seat we wanted. To the left was a long display case full of fresh seafood. Too bad we didn't have a cooler or plans to head directly home.
The menu is two sides of seafood options, with alternatives for those who don't care for fish or shellfish. Chef's taste buds are off due to a cold, he went with chicken tenders and pouted that he was missing out.

While we looked at the menu, a server dropped down a small container of their smoked mullet salad, which was slightly smoky and generally had a light flavor. This little taster just proved what the menu stated "we catch what we sell." Granted, they cant do that with everything, but Mullet is a local fish, and it was good.

In our nearly 9 years in Florida, I had yet to visit a place where Stone crabs were anything but a special. You really have to be further south from where we live, and my opinion was that I'd try them where they were a regular item on a menu. Walt's had them, I ordered them and unfortunately, the last 4 were ordered by someone just before me.

As a consolation, I was offered a Snow Crab cluster for the price of the Stone crabs, and I was happy with that alternative. I had skipped it originally, because I didn't know if I'd eat it all. (I ended up with a little help.)

The meat came out easily, as opposed to breaking apart in past efforts. Ed was amazed at the way that leg after leg, I was getting one whole piece at a time. I expressed the opinion that this happens easier with fresh crabs. He agreed. This was served with drawn butter and a lemon wedge, but it probably would be just fine without either.

Ed opted for one of our favorites, clam strips. They were good, crispy and chewy with a briny taste. He says the fries were good, too.

The beers on tap were better than average, and Ed opted for two Guinness from the bar. They were NOT cheap at 6 bucks each, but the rest of the meal was definitely worth it. Next time, we'll see about a pitcher of something else.

Yes, next time. We have to head back to Sarasota to pick up our car, and I think this time, we'll have the cooler-and more food at Walt's. Walt's Fish Market Wholesale on Urbanspoon


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