If there’s any idea what culinary treats SW Florida has in store for them during Naples Restaurant Week– it’s was seen and sampled at the “First Bite” Menu Release Party at Mercedes-Benz of Bonita Springs, the Title Sponsor and host of a fabulous kick-off event.
Naples Restaurant Week (NRW) is the brainchild of The Food Idea Group Inc. It is a semi-annual promotion that celebrates the best dining at an affordable price. The Spring Edition will be held from June 1 through June 14 with three-course prix fixe menus starting at $25. The goal of NRW is to encourage increased traffic to the local participating restaurants and to celebrate the wide array of cuisine available here in Southwest Florida.
This year, the Gold Sponsors are Greg Norman, The Upbeat K9 and ES Photography. The charity partner is The Humane Society of Naples, working diligently to change the lives of orphaned pets in the Southwest Florida community. The mission of The Humane Society Naples is to shelter animals in times of need, locate life-long homes and promote responsible pet ownership through education, legislation and sterilization.
The First Bite Party was very well attended with large numbers of locals committing to an evening of food, fun and philanthropy. Father Al and the Jazz Congregation struck up the beat amidst the array of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the showroom. Tables were filled with extraordinary bites of food and spirits that lined the perimeter of not one, but two floors in this grand facility.
Capital Grille offered Dry Aged New York Strip with White Truffle Mac N’ Cheese. A wonderful smell that lingered in the air! Sea Salt had the most divine Lamb Meatballs. Their menu draws from the earth and sea where one could easily find some lovely baked striped bass and ahi tuna poke. BaySide Seafood Grill and Bar offered spoons of Pepper Encrusted Ahi Tuna with Wasabi and Soy Sauce. This is also available on their $35 prix fixe NRW menu. Fish Crazy sent the crowd into a frenzy with their spicy and succulent Louisiana-Style Shrimp Creole on top of Grits with Mushrooms and Carmelized Onion. Watch for their Baked Onion Encrusted Red Grouper smothered in a lemon beurre blanc sauce as an entree choice in June on their prix fixe NRW menu!
Sakura had outrageous Ahi Tuna rubbed with sesame oil, sitting pretty on a bed of ice, for the guests to enjoy. I know they will win SW Florida over with their Blackened Hawaiian Grouper and Blue Crab Poppers – both on their NRW prix fixe menu. Campiello Ristorante & Bar intrigued me over with the most delicious Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Candied Pine Nuts. This is too on their NRW menu as is Bucatini Alls Amatriciana and Grilled Octopus. Millennial Brewing Company and Bury Me Brewing had choice brews. The rum cocktail at Latitude 26 was grand. They used Alligator Bay Rum, from the Punta Gorda distillery, mixed with passion fruit.
Guests were handed ballots on which to vote for their favorite “bite” of the evening. My selection was from Cavo Lounge, dubbed as Naples finest Gastrolounge; a chic and sophisticated atmosphere with a unique dining flair and elegant lounge. They served the most magnificent cohesive bite of the evening…Tuna Tartare with Peruvian pepper sauce and spicy mayo on a homemade pita round topped with scallion. I am looking forward to tasting their $25 NRW menu with my pre-planned selection of Korean Steak Tacos for starters, Burrata & Crab Ravioli for entree and Banana and Chocolate Bread Pudding.
Be a part of a two-week prestigious community event and enjoy all the great food Naples has to offer and help to support the vision of The Humane Society Naples to create a community where 100% of all adoptable animals find loving homes. View all the participating restaurants and their prix fixe menus at:www.NaplesRestaurantWeek.comor email: Info@FoodIdeaGroup.com.
© 2017 Naples Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.