By Brittany Llorente
JENSEN BEACH -- With the wind blowing through, the sea salt aroma in the air and the soft call of gulls in the background, it feels like paradise.
Then, a smiling face and drinks brought to the table brings you back to the moment.
Conchy Joe's Seafood has successfully captured the essence of the Florida lifestyle in their décor, atmosphere and delightful dishes that are not only wonderful to look at, but an absolute pleasure to devour.
The fresh catch fish list of grouper, mahi-mahi, salmon, Chilean sea bass, wahoo, hog snapper and sword fish is less than 36-hours off the boat.
Though the fresh fish can be a little more pricy, the experience and freshness are well worth the additional cost.
"I'm very proud of the fact that we don't have frozen fish," said Fritz Ayers, manager of Conchy Joes. "We are the exception to the rule and make a niche for ourselves that we have fresh fish. We do very high volumes of fresh fish. It sells, and everything that we can get fresh we do, because it will always be a better experience."
My companion and I started our dinner with Cangrejo Con Queso, Maryland blue crab pieces mixed with lightly seasoned creamy cheese sauce. The accompanying crispy tri-colored corn chips made this an instant favorite for the crab lover in me.
As a recommendation from several people, the Conchy's Conch Chowder was the next dish.
This dish is a legend in itself.
Served since 1979, this dish has won over the hearts of customers with its generous mixture of conch and spices. Served with a side of sherry, the soup is more than a dish, it's an experience.
I tried it without the sherry first and honestly didn't think it could get any better. I was very wrong. Somehow, the sherry added a whole other side to the soup that had my spoon soon scraping the bottom of the bowl.
My companion had the New England clam chowder. The creamy potatoes mixed with large pieces of clams was finished quickly and described as 'delicious.'
During the love-affair with our soups, we were delivered an assortment of breads. Banana bread, cornbread and dinner rolls arrived warm and topped with butter, a wonderful addition.
When our entrees arrived, I wasn't sure if I had any room left, but I found a way.
The coconut fried shrimp was simply amazing, with perfectly crunchy coconut batter over large shrimp. The accompanying sauce was tangy with house pineapple coconut mango chutney.
My companion had the crunchy grouper; a lightly fried, corn-flake breaded, large grouper filet served with Conchy's famous tartar sauce.
For dessert, the Key lime pie was the perfect ending to the meal, with the graham cracker crust paired with a smooth textured filling.
As I looked out on the water and the bridge, finishing my glass of sweet tea, I recalled what it said on the back of the menu: True old Florida hospitality cannot be copied or mass produced.
A statement has never been so true and is the reason why Conchy Joe's is unique and a go-to for every resident or tourist searching for that restaurant that embodies the Florida lifestyle.
Conchy Joe's Seafood is located at 3945 N.E. Indian River Drive in Jensen Beach.
Their hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner.
For more information, call (772) 334-1130 or visit www.conchyjoes.com.