Yeah, I knew the title would grab you. Trust me, it really could be the best dinner I have had in quite some time. I am talking about Aqua on Blackburn Point Road in Osprey. In the Bellagio building at the marina, which formerly housed an Italian restaurant, Aqua is well worth the trip no matter what direction you are coming from.
I am somewhat put off by a server that comes to the table and announces EVERYTHING on the menu is wonderful. I tend to be immediately suspicious- yeah right, the chowder is going to be as good as the appetizer and dessert will seal the deal? Well, he could not have been more correct. Aqua hit a home run- I mean a grand slam. From start to finish, this team delivered, flavor, freshness and classic culinary preparation.
I figured when I ordered the Aqua Grille signature seafood chowder I would certainly prove the server overstated, being the New Englander I am, but what can I say other than it has a classic, light, creamy base with fresh white fish and a delicate balance of potatoes and onion. Now for the entrées- crispy roasted half duck with whipped sweet potatoes, port wine and sun-dried Bing cherry glaze, which thankfully was served on the side of the dish as to not make the crispy duck soggy. Again- out of the park with this dish; crisp yet incredibly moist inside. If I had to find one criticism it would be that the whipped sweet potatoes, (a perfect accompaniment) were only lukewarm.
The second entrée, a special of the evening, was pesto-crusted swordfish with tomato coulis served with risotto drizzled with truffle oil was incredibly moist. Considering just that morning the person in front of me at the farmer’s market had snagged the last piece of swordfish from the fish guy, my craving was fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams.
Executive chef Matthew Passalacqua with "mom on duty" Midge McCarthy and her son and owner Michael Fiscina.