By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- For more than 40 years, Chef Ty Newman has been delighting palates around the world. Luckily for those who live close to Fort Pierce, his newest restaurant, Coyote Grill and Seafood Eatery, is easily accessible and full of reasons to sit down for an incredible meal.
Nestled just inside the Road Runner Travel Resort on St. Lucie Boulevard, the quaint restaurant is surrounded by nature. The quiet atmosphere, which includes trees, trails and a pond, makes visitors feel as if they've escaped to the countryside. The picturesque locale is accentuated by the small eatery, nestled next to a country store and surrounded by a large deck.
The menu includes items such as soup and salads to chicken wings and pizza. But, if you want to try something a little more daring, Chef Newman or the other chef on staff, Michel Faugue, will prepare calamari, their version of shrimp on the Barbie, specials on live lobster, prime rib, paella, Boston scrod and Chef Newman's claim to fame; the Fokie.
My companion and I visited Coyote Grill on a quiet Saturday evening. The sun was setting and everything around seemed just a little more laid back than usual. Chef Newman greeted us as we walked in and was incredibly attentive.
"I've been doing this a long time," he said. "I've owned 21 restaurants all over the country and worked at restaurants all over the world. I've also worked every position in the restaurant business, from bus boy to captain to maître d' to owner. I think that type of experience is important. I know as head chef I want to prepare the best tasting food and I know as owner, I want a chef who takes pride in his work."
It's easy to tell that he takes pride in every dish that he prepares.
Chef Newman brought out an appetizer of shrimp on the Barbie, a healthy serving of grilled shrimp over yellow rice topped with Bam Bam sauce, a combination of mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and sriracha sauce. The large shrimp were full of flavor and had to be cut into bite size pieces. Flavor was added to the yellow rice by diced vegetables that added a wonderful crunch.
My companion and I were also served chicken wings with gold rush sauce, which has just the right amount of sweet heat.
"I started making Fokies about years and years ago and they were a hit as soon as I started selling them," Chef Newman said as he described his signature dish. "I prepare the dough fresh every day. It's prepared with basil, roasted garlic and grilled onion. I grill it and then add all of the ingredients of the sandwich and top it with Bam Bam sauce."
Because I had to know what all the fuss was about, my companion and I tried the sandwich... And, we can assure you that it really has been dubbed appropriately, 'The best sandwich on the planet.' The Focaccia bread is absolutely delightful and is bursting with flavor. Our sandwich was full of roast beef, ham, turkey, American, Swiss and provolone cheeses, fresh spinach, tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, and the tangy Bam Bam sauce. The sandwich can also be served with tuna salad or chicken salad. The amazing sandwich is served with a side of coleslaw for only $6.95.
Although we were getting full, he insisted we try some of the fried belly clams, shrimp and tilapia that that are featured on the entrée menu. The seafood is dipped in flour, milk seasoned with paprika, and yellow corn flour. The result is a light coating that doesn't weigh down the seafood with grease.
There is a perfect ratio of coating to seafood, leaving the delicious seafood flavor intact, yet coated with a delightful crunch.
The menu also offers sweet treats, including Peach Melba, a serving of ice cream, topped with peaches and a sauce made of black and red raspberries.
It was difficult to pick one meal that outdid the others. They were all perfection on a plate. If you've never had the pleasure of an evening at Coyote Grill, make time in your week to do so.
Also, look out for Chef Newman at the Farmer's Market in Fort Pierce. He'll be there making his famous Fokies for everyone to enjoy.
There is live music on the deck at Coyote Grill on Friday and Saturday evenings until 8 p.m. and happy hour every evening.
Coyote Grill and Seafood Eatery is located inside the Road Runner Travel Resort, 5500 St. Lucie Blvd. in Fort Pierce. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call (772) 465-0202.
Editor's note: Due to an error, the 'Fokies' sandwich was originally misspelled. The above review has been updated. We regret the error.