Broaden Your (Grilling) Horizons in Southwest Florida
Restaurants that are firing up the parilla, robata and more
Southwest Florida has a surprisingly diverse array of restaurants that are offering a worldwide sampling of different grilling techniques.
South America: At Argentine Martin Fierro in Naples and El Gaucho Inca (a Fort Myers mainstay about to open a location in Naples), asado (barbecue) is done on a massive parilla where the long rack can be raised or lowered over a bed of coals to get long, slow cookery of any meat. While similar in preparation, Brazil’s churrasco calls for skewering meat on long swords. At Rodizio Grill in Estero, waiters carry the various cuts to your table until you fold your napkin in surrender. martinfierro.com, elgauchoinca.com, rodiziogrill.com/coconutpoint
Korea: DIY tabletop grilling is heating up in Fort Myers at Koreana and in Naples at Zen Asian BBQ. It’s hard not to get swept up placing the paper-thin slices of marinated short ribs down to sizzle over a lace-like metal dome—and then seconds later scooping them up with complements like kimchee and bean sprouts. koreanafortmyers.com, eatatzen.com
Japan: In the blink of an eye, robata went from “Say what?” to nearing sous vide’s widespread embrace by chefs. Skewers loaded with meat or seafood are grilled at a snail’s pace over hot coals, locking in the flavor. Zen (see above) is doing it. Blanc in Fort Myers is, too, with tasty results on prawns and lamb lollipops. While not a full-on open-fire grill, hibachi cannot be overlooked. Check out masters building onion volcanoes and searing lobster tails at Fujiyama, DaRuMa and Maguro. blancentertainment.com, naplesfujiyama.com, darumarestaurant.com, magurosushinaples.com
Levant: Kebabs of charred lamb, beef and chicken served over a bed of fluffy pilaf are the staples at the new Moura Bistro in Naples, as well as the perennial favorite Kabab Village in Fort Myers. Figs Grille, a Mediterranean fusion fine-dining venue, elevates the humble dish, its take with patties of ground lamb and beef interwoven with grilled veggies. mourabistro.com, mykababvillage.com, figsgrille.com
Germany: You’ll be hard-pressed to find an authentic schwenker (a circular grill plate suspended over an open fire) here, but plenty of places can be depended on for wursts (brats, curry and others), like Naples’ Black Forest, Bonita’s Stephan’s German Bistro and Fort Myers’ Austrian-German Restaurant. This month, too, take advantage of Cape Coral’s Oktoberfest. blackforestnaples.com, i-like-stephans.com, ag-restaurant.com, capecoraloktoberfest.com