November 1, 2014

Appetite

A Surprise Favorite

Enjoying the boats and dishes at this elegant seafood restaurant.

Tom and i visited a secret hotel the other night. We drove through many a twisting Cape Coral road to find The Resort at Marina Village at Tarpon Point Marina, beginning to doubt its existence until we saw it: a small collection of sparkling towers situated on the water.

“What is this place?” I asked the smiling valet. “Is it a hotel?”

“Not exactly,” he said, and then drove away. We looked around us. Not another human in sight, not even in the gleaming lobby. We followed a footpath to our destination—the elegant seafood restaurant Marker 92—and caught a glimpse of a pristine marina.

“Boats!” I cried. Think of the joy that dogs feel when they get to go for a ride in the car, and you’ve got me around boats. I love boating so much, I once married a Coast Guard lieutenant. It didn’t last, but my feelings about boats remain untarnished (un-barnacled? In-tacked?).

We found the restaurant bustling, with steel drum music drifting in from the marina. To deepen the upscale island vacation feeling that was brewing inside us, our server, Maureen, brought me a very rummy piña colada ($7.25), and a Ketel One martini ($9.25) for Tom. 

Named for its Intracoastal Waterway location, Marker 92 was designed to feel like a yacht. “You see these lacquered, inlaid wooden tables on boats,” I informed Tom, my landlubber husband, who eyed me over his menu.

“No, we can’t sell all of our belongings and live on a big boat,” he said. 

“Who said anything about that?” I asked. But Tom was right, being far better attuned to me than the Coast guardsman ever was. I decided to wait until dessert to broach the subject afresh.

Marker 92 gives you just enough options to satisfy captain and crew alike: starters, salads, soups, pasta, fresh seafood, meats and poultry, signature sides, sushi and pizza.

Tom and I ordered three appetizers: the aptly named dynamite shrimp ($12), with Thai mango-jicama salad; the fried oysters ($10); and the mozzarella and tomato salad ($12). We savored the large, succulent dynamite shrimp, a lighter interpretation of tempura shrimp. 

We ordered the prime rib ($24), which had us at “hello,” but asked Maureen to help us choose a daily catch.

“People really like the dorade [$24],” she suggested. I ordered the fish to see what all the fuss was about, but Tom’s prime rib won the entrée shoot-out. 

We didn’t leave much room for dessert, but we decided to soldier on with the crème brûlée and the mango and raspberry parfait (both $7). There, our fortunes were reversed. I licked my parfait glass clean, but Tom found the cassis sauce crisscrossing the brûlée overly tart. A manager offered to replace it, but Tom declined. On his behalf, I enjoyed a free glass of port. Delicious. 

Our secret hotel turned out to be a condominium resort (developed by Grosse Pointe, managed by Sunstream) with suites that can be owned or rented. I expected the rates to be exorbitant, but most hovered in the $100 to $200 nightly range.

We left a trail of (waterproof) crumbs so we’ll be able to find our way back. I’m hoping by boat.

Marker 92 Waterfront Bar & Bistro, The Resort at Marina Village, 5961 Silver King Blvd., Cape Coral; (239) 541-5600, www.marker92.com. Breakfast daily from 7–11 a.m. Lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner daily from 5–10 p.m. Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations recommended. Valet and free parking. Credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible.