Hot Dish: July 15, 2009
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene.
Popular Two Brothers Relocates to Naples
Two Brothers Baci Italian Restaurant is one of the best in Southwest Florida. Formerly known as AA Two Brothers Pizzeria & Italian Cuisine, it was named a Gulfshore Life Best of the Gulfshore Best-Kept Secret in 2008 before relocating from Bay Crossings in Bonita Springs and tweaking its name.
Two Brothers specializes in fresh Brooklyn-style cuisine—even the sauces are made on the spot. This is a warm, friendly neighborhood treasure, with brothers Bob and Sal Lanzieri always on site.
Two Brothers Baci Italian Restaurant owners Bob and Sal Lanzieri
The food is very, very good! My favorites are the zuppa di pesce ($24) with lots of fresh, tender shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari in a white sauce that demands to be sopped up with fresh bread. Specials include the wonderful toasted raviolis in a basil-cream sauce, one of the best chicken marsalas you’ll ever have, and baked ziti with home-style meatballs.
The restaurant offers nightly dancing and live entertainment, including local favorites Daniel and Sharon as “Heart to Heart,” a karaoke night, Laurie Saunders, and Lynn Carroll (formerly at Gabriello’s).
Two Brothers Baci nightly live entertainment
Two Brothers Baci Italian Restaurant and Bar, 975 Imperial Golf Course Blvd., Naples (north of Immokalee Road off U.S. 41), 597-4800.
Taste Wines from Around the World
Naples’ The Capital Grille is the place for wine aficionados to be this summer. The restaurant is offering great wine samplings, hand-selected by Master Sommelier George Miliotes. Beginning this week and running through Aug. 2are wines from Spain and Argentina. From Aug. 3 to Aug. 23 will be tastings of wine from South Africa and Napa Valley.
For $10 plus lunch and $25 plus dinner, each tasting introduces 11 to 12 selections, all highly rated by wine critic Robert Parker and Wine Spectator magazine. This is well worth attending. The price is right! Taste good pours of highly rated wines (some ’91s) you might otherwise hesitate to first order as a bottle. The Capital Grille, 9005 Mercato Drive, Naples, 254-0640.
Boys and Their Toys...
I stopped by Sur La Table in Naples and tried out the S-curved Shun paring knife on an apple and a home-grown tomato. I bought it on the spot, and put it to work at home. It’s “oh so sharp,” and the doubly curved stainless steel blade makes it easier to pare, core and slice than my other paring knives.
Sur la Table's Shun paring knife
Sur la Table’s ceramic paring knives are even sharper, keeping their edge hundreds of cuts longer than surgical steel scalpels! A sharp knife is much safer than a dull one.
Sur la Table has in-store summer classes, and several at nearby Whole Foods. Last week at Whole Foods, Sur la table’s Laura Potter and Whole Foods’ Denise Petersen gave quite an informative free demonstration on knife use and safety. The next knife class is 6 p.m. Thursday. Call stores for separate or combined cooking class schedules. Most are free, and just a few have a mere $5 fee to cover pricier treats.Whole Foods Market, 552-5100; Sur La Table, 598-3586.
Comings and Goings...
KC American Bistro opened just down from Bha! Bha! A Persian Bistro in Naples. Executive Chef Keith Casey offers roasted medjool dates with blue cheese, dry-cured ham and balsamic syrup for $8, grilled angus filet with eggplant “butter,” gorgonzola polenta, baby Portobello demi glace and grilled asparagus for $29, and a Cape Cod “deconstructed” pot pie with lobster, lump crab, shrimp and bay scallops for $28. This is creativity that’s priced below the magic $30 ceiling. KC American Bistro, 885 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 566-2371.
The Dixie Moon Cafe & Country Buffet on Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs has closed after 11 years. I enjoyed the original rustic spot in a 1920’s gas station.
The former Dixie Moon Cafe
A year ago, owner Tim Robinson moved it to a larger location by Terry Street and added an $8.99 all-you-can-eat buffet, but even that bargain price could not keep it in the black. Many savored the homemade Southern cooking—fried chicken, fried smelts—and took home extra peach cobbler. This will be missed by many.
Bonita Spring’s Crust closed months ago. A sign sent customers to its older sister restaurant, Wylds, which has since closed, as well. Wylds plans to reopen for the season.
Let’s broaden our dining choices together. Post your hints and experiences of great Southwest Florida restaurants below, as a comment, or email email@example.com.