Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Crow's Nest: A Venice Waterfront Landmark





A Venice waterfront landmark since 1976 with views overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, The Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant is one of the area restaurants that has been attracting a steady clientele since it opened 40 years ago. Originally a small seafood spot on the second floor of the Tarpon Centre Marina, The Crow's Nest serves a casual menu of local seafood and traditional Florida favourites, such as Seafood Bisque, Jumbo Crab Meat Cakes, Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, fresh Florida Stone Crab, Seafood Pot Pie and the ever popular Florida Grouper Sandwich plus a selection of salads, burgers, cheese and charcuterie, with a relaxed casual Floriddean atmosphere and reasonable prices that's hard to beat.



The Crow's Nest has been attracting a steady clientele since it opened 40 years ago

The woody interior of the Crow's Nest with view over the intercostal

Originally known as "Horse & Chaise," homesteaders settled into the region in the 1860s and renamed it Venice in due to the number of canals that meander through its town centre

Iced Tea

Thick and creamy New England Clam Chowder

Fresh Florida Red Grouper Sandwich with frites

Seafood Pot Pie with wild Florida shrimp, fresh fish, salmon, and sea scallops with peas, onions, parsley and potatoes in a béchamel sauce, topped with puff pastry












Crow's Nest Roasted Squash, Apple & Onion Soup
Serves 8-10
Recipe courtesy of The Crow’s Nest 

2 medium Spanish onions
2 butternut squash
4 Granny Smith apples 
8 tbsp cold butter 
1/2 cup brandy
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock 
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup Half & Half cream
Fresh chives, minced for garnish


Wrap the onions, skin and all, in aluminum foil and roast at 400°F for 1 hour. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and lay flat side down on oiled parchment paper. Roast at 400°F for about 45 minutes or until soft. Peel, core, and dice the apples. Sauté in 2 tablespoons of butter in large pot until soft, then add the brandy and cook for 1 minute. Scoop out the flesh of the squash and add it to the pot. Peel the onions, chop coarsely, and add to the pot. Add enough stock to cover by about 1-inch and simmer for 30 minutes.

Purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender, and while the soup is blending, cube the remaining 6 tablespoons of cold butter and add them piece by piece until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine the gorgonzola and cream by blending in a food processor until smooth. Drizzle this Gorgonzola Crema over the soup and garnish with fresh minced chives.






The Crow’s Nest Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of The Crow’s Nest

3 lbs jumbo lump crabmeat
1 fl oz Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp ground Coleman’s mustard
2 tbsp minced Italian parsley
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
10 oz cracker meal
1/2 fl oz lemon juice

Mustard Crème Fraiche:
1 cup crème fraiche
1/2 cups Creole mustard
1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning


For the sauce, mix everything together, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. For the crab cakes, mix everything except crab and cracker meal in a large bowl. Gently fold in the crab, being careful not to break up the lumps, then mix in the cracker meal until the mixture is combined and just holds together. Using your hands, form the crab mixture into 4-ounce cakes, and sauté in heavy pan over medium heat with some olive oil and butter until they are nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve warm with bowl of mustard crème fraiche on the side.