By Chance Parker
If you are relatively new to the Keys, you may never have heard of Key West Harbour; I certainly hadn’t. The private club on Stock Island has many devoted members, but the large, tasteful restaurant on the second floor of the clubhouse is open to the public. I suggest you load up the car, call a cab, or bike it on over to Key West Harbour as soon as you can to sample Chef Clive’s cuisine, and mull over the prospects of private beach-club membership.
Our view of said private beach and marina was breathtaking, setting the scene for an inspired dining experience. Chef Clive started us off with his Jamaican ceviche, mahi-mahi on the day of our visit. Many of Clive’s dishes have a strong Jamaican influence, and this colorful, flavorful selection was no exception. The spicy citrus vinaigrette was well balanced, the fish was light and firm, and the crunchy Parmesan crostini proved to be the perfect mode of delivery.
We next moved on to the small plates section of the menu, which is extensive. (Please note: most of these little delights are half-off daily during happy hour.) We sampled the medallion of Filet Mignon, the lobster pasta, and the Mussels Jamaica. The filet was precisely cooked and paired classically with asparagus, scalloped potatoes, and a rich burgundy au jus. The noodle, in the lobster pasta, was a buttery and decadent grilled angel hair. It provided the perfect bed on which to rest our pan-seared, half-Maine lobster tail. And the Mussels Jamaica were as beautiful as they were delicious, wading in a robust mackerel sauce, with understated complexity, and balanced acidity. Clive says this recipe has been passed down in his family “for generations.” It is no mystery why one would want to keep this island treasure safely buried.
In lieu of dessert, we ended our dinner with a raspberry white chocolate martini, one of a sizeable selection of chocolate martinis the club offers. The visit truly just got better and better. Like any country club worth its salt, Sunday brunch is said to be amazing, for any Mother-related holidays in the near future, but no excuses are needed to make the trip. The next time you find yourself with a moment to spare on Stock Island, meander over to Key West Harbour, and check out the club.
Key West Harbour
6000 Peninsular Ave., Key West
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily with happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
CORRECTION: In the May 6 paper, a restaurant review of Key West Harbour contained incorrect information. The restaurant is not open to the public, however first-time guests can apply for a two-week pass. After the trial period, guests can purchase a membership or a day pass to use the facilities.