First things first. When chef Nunzio Scordo took the helm as executive chef at The Perry Hotel’s three restaurants, his top priority was to make sure a place called the Salty Oyster actually served raw oysters.
Scordo has taken a broader look at all three menus and is making significant improvements at Salty Oyster, Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen and Sloppy Joe’s Dockside.
But this isn’t another case of some chef coming to the Keys from a northern city and deciding what will work best on island menus and plates.
Scordo is hugely familiar with the Florida Keys.
“I had lived here in the early 2000s and actually opened Hot Tin Roof at Ocean Key Resort,” said the Youngstown, Ohio native, who also owned, and eventually sold, three successful restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“I wanted to come back to Key West, and my friend, Troy Talpas, is general manager of The Perry,” Scordo said. “I’d been a frequent customer and guest at The Perry, and Troy and I had discussed me coming on board a few times. I wasn’t a hotel chef, but I knew that if I was ever to be a hotel chef, then this is where I’d want to do it. I love this property, its historic character and rustic feel. My first priority was to get raw oysters on the menu at the Salty Oyster. It’s tough with staffing shortages because shucking them is so labor intensive, but we’ve made it happen.”
Salty Oyster also features New England-style seafood rolls on a buttery split bun and jam packed with Maine lobster, shrimp or crabmeat. There’s also a new island tuna poke bowl and a whole new menu and direction are coming to Sloppy Joe’s Dockside, which, like Salty Oyster, overlooks the charter boats and yachts at the attached marina.
“We’ve made changes to Matt’s dinner menu, but are sticking with a Southern coastal theme there. I also want to replace some items with rotating seasonal items,” Scordo said. “In the Keys, we often lose sight of the farms and fresh, local produce that’s available pretty close by. I have a friend with a farm in Loxahatchee who grows amazing stuff.”
Scordo has been a chef for the past 30 years.
“It’s all I’ve ever done and I’m thrilled to be back in Key West and at a place like The Perry Hotel.”