Manatee Island Restaurant and Grill boasts delicious food and gorgeous scenery
By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- The newest addition to Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce may seem familiar to some.
In the space formerly occupied by Mangrove Matties, restaurateurs Michael Politano and Paul Gonella have turned the once abandoned building into one of the hottest spots overlooking the Fort Pierce Inlet.
With a casual, beach vibe flowing throughout the restaurant, it's hard to miss the genuine Key West feel. This dining spot is, after all, minutes from the ocean. However, after browsing the expansive menu, the elegant, upscale flare is evident.
Diners have quite a large selection of incredible appetizers, soups and salads to start their meal. My guest and I were fortunate enough to have Mr. Politano suggest the baked portabella mushroom and crispy pork dumplings as appetizers.
The baked portabella was stuffed with a broccoli and bleu cheese mixture that was the perfect match to the caramelized onions that covered the juicy mushroom. The balsamic drizzle that topped the appetizer was perfect and added an incredible flavor to this top-notch starter.
The dumplings were fried to perfection, light to taste and were accompanied by delightful dipping sauces. Both the mango chutney and ginger plum sauces were perfectly paired with the tasty dumplings.
For dinner, my dining companion chose the shrimp and crab scampi. The large portion was full of juicy shrimp and crab, braised spinach, tomatoes and angel hair pasta. The freshness of the ingredients was evident with each incredible bite.
For my entrée I chose the grilled ribeye. The steak was flawless. It was topped with blue cheese and a whiskey peppercorn sauce and served with fresh, sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes.
As my guest and I were enjoying the ambiance, the sounds of musicians filling the air and the sights of the gorgeous inlet, Mr. Politano sent over a piece of the most delicious key lime pie I've ever tasted.
The homemade pie was served with a raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream. It was the perfect end to the perfect meal at the perfect location.
Mr. Politano and Mr. Gonella are no strangers to the Treasure Coast. They've owned and operated Manatee Island Bar and Grill at the end of the Manatee Pocket in Port Salerno since January of 2010.
The second location overlooking on Hutchinson Island has been open for a few months, as by the looks of the full dining area, outside bar and patio, residents are welcoming them with open arms.
The Fort Pierce location's address is 1640 Seaway Drive. They can be reached at (772) 242-6460. The Stuart location's address is 4817 S.E. Dixie Highway. The restaurants have live music, full bars and early bird specials.
For more information, visit www.manateeislandbarandgrill.com.