Fish Tale Grill, by Merrick Seafood, took no time in establishing itself as a popular South Cape lunch spot.
Now, judging from both its extraordinary and unique dinner menu and the immediate buzz, its new dinner hours are sure to make diners looking for fresh local seafood with "an international flair" more than happy.
Merrick's Seafood has been part of the Cape Coral community family since 1991. Known to locals as the place to buy the freshest seafood, there was a demand for the same quality of food to be offered in a restaurant - after all this is the Cape, a peninsula nestled between some of the best grounds for the finest fish in the country, if not the world.
Owners Kerry and Patrick Kreig credit their incredible staff, who are like family, for their success. Pictured are Reny Fuentes, David Andrew, Coral Pratillo, Christy Murray, Ricky Reinoso, Keifer Joedicker and Marc Cardoso.
Bringing more than 30 years of restaurant experience from Atlanta, greater New York and Manhattan working in high-end restaurants, owner Kerry Krieg says she has been very lucky to have great mentors in the restaurants at which she has worked. Co-owner and Kerry's husband, Patrick Krieg, has spent his life in the business on the retail, wholesale and restaurant end.
Kerry and her husband bought Merrick's Seafood from her parents four years ago and put into place their plans to take it to the next level and expand. Kerry has always been in the seafood business - her dream has always been to open up a seafood restaurant and taking this seafood market over gave her the opportunity to expand a restaurant next door to fulfill her dream. According to Kerry, "Cape Coral asked for it and Merrick's listened," and Fish Tale Grill became a reality.
Kerry is proud of their hands' on approach to run a successful business. "There is no middleman in our restaurant -we have four fish cutters who come in every morning and cut our fish for the market and our restaurant. People don't realize that we are more than just a little fish market. We have a huge warehouse in back with lobster tanks and where fresh fish is prepared for distribution to 250 local restaurants that we supply with fresh fish and do a tremendous amount of volume so we have access and are assured the freshest seafood. All fish are brought in whole and cut in the kitchen. From their knives to your plate - it doesn't get fresher than that. "
At a Glance
Where: 1229 SE 47th Terrace, Cape Coral
When: Monday through Saturday
Lunch: 11a.m. 4 p.m.
Dinner: 4 9 p.m.
For more info: (239) 257-3167
Facebook: Fish Tale Grill By Merrick Seafood
Dining is available outside on the deck under an umbrella with misters or inside the restaurant with a funky, modern, out of the box theme. The bar is built of glass that is lit with blue lights and the windows have been filled in with panels of flowing water so you feel like you are in the deep blue sea. Happy blues fill the space and the dining area has comfortable seating for those who want privacy or to be in the middle of everything. While you are waiting for your entree, stroll through the door to the incredible fish market and think about trying some great seafood at home.
Kerry credits her family and the staff with the success. "We are all family. In addition to my husband and me, my brother-in-law, my sister, and my uncle all work here. My mother and father come in one day a week to work so a family member is always in the restaurant. Our staff becomes our family and it is so wonderful to have such a great team that works so well together."
The separate lunch and dinner menus each offer unique fare, enticing diners to come for lunch and dinner so as to sample offerings from each.
The new dinner menu makes your mouth water just reading it. In addition to a raw bar and soups, there are 11 appetizer choices. Kerry says the Duo-of-Tartare (fresh ahi tuna tartar and salmon tartar tossed with sesame oil, soy, scallions and ginger served with tri-color chips) and the spicy lobster spring roll (fresh lobster meat in a wonton wrapper fried with Fish Tale's own spicy sauce and served with wakamee salad and somen noodles) are very popular choices. The very impressive Fish Tale Tower Platter (four shrimp cocktail, six local oysters on the half shell, six clams on the half shell, one and a quarter pound lobster chilled and served with Dijon mustard, minute sauce, cocktail and horseradish) will surely bring a wow to your table.
Dinner salads are filling with Kerry saying the Seafood Cobb (jumbo shrimp, sea scallops, lump crabmeat, salmon gravlax, avocado, hard-boiled egg, red onion and tomato over baby greens with bleu cheese dressing) and Tuna Nicoise (fresh ahi tuna over baby greens, red onion, hard-boiled egg, new potatoes, haricot verts, tomato and anchovies with mango chardonnay vinaigrette) are the most requested dinner salads.
You have three different entree choices for dinner. You can go by land, by sea or pasta.
By land, you can choose among four entrees. The Pork Shank Osso Bucco (slow braised pork shank served with red skin mashed potato and vegetable of the day) and Mixed Grill (petite filet mignon, shrimp and scallops in a chimichurri sauce over watercress salad served with yucca fries and vegetable of the day) are top choices.
By sea, there are 11 options. Try the butter fish (miso marinated black cod in a coconut lemongrass sauce with orzo pasta and edamame salad) or scallops with caviar (pan seared in a delicate lemon basil sauce topped with tobiko caviar served with red skin mashed potato and vegetable of the day).
The three pasta courses consist of lobster ravioli (served in a creamy sherry lobster sauced with diced asparagus), linguini with homemade meatballs (served with homemade marinara sauce) or the very popular lobster and shrimp mac n cheese (fresh lobster meat and gulf shrimp tossed in Fish Tale's rich, creamy seafood sauce).
Kerry says the desserts are homemade and changed daily. Check Facebook for the daily specials but favorites have been tiramisu, red pudding, homemade Italian cheesecake and creme brulee.
According to Kerry, "The response has been overwhelming in our dinner menu as it has been with our lunch. With the newly expanded dining room and bar, we went from a small area with four tables into the expansive space next door to include standard seating. Check out our new beer and wine bar offering a full selection of your favorite beer and wine."
For those looking for a mid-day indulgence, the unique lunch menu offers appetizers, four raw bar items and three homemade soups. Choose a fresh seafood ceviche (citrus marinated shrimp and snapper, cilantro, red onions, cucumbers and tomatoes served with tri-color tortilla chips), shrimp cocktail, or a dozen gulf fresh oysters on the half shell. It would be hard to choose among the three homemade soups offered (lobster bisque, seafood chowder, or Manhattan clam chowder.
Lunch baskets, all served with your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings and coleslaw or orzo salad, are popular. Try the fried seafood platter (grouper, shrimp and scallops) or New England fish and chips.
For a lighter appetite, try one of eight sandwiches, all served with your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, coleslaw or orzo salad. Seafood lovers can have a lobster roll, fried oyster sandwich or crab cake sandwich, while landlubbers can have a marinated steak sandwich, chicken cordon bleu or Tuscan chicken.
In the salad category, there are five choices to which you can add grilled chicken, steak, grilled shrimp, salmon or blackened group if you desire. Seafood Cobb (jumbo shrimp, sea scallops, lump crab meat, avocado, hard-boiled egg, red onion and tomato over baby greens with bleu cheese dressing) and Ginger Tuna Salad (seared ahi tuna ginger teriyaki crusted, served over baby greens with red onions, tomato and wonton noodles with sesame ginger dressing).
Entrees are a hard choice because they all look and sound delicious. Pistachio Crusted Salmon (served with rice pilaf and steamed asparagus with a citrus beur-blanc) and Crab stuffed fresh grouper (served over rice pilaf with vegetable and lemon butter sauce) are nice choices that will keep you going until dinner.
Originally open only for the lunches above, happy customers started asking for dinner. Kerry uses the Fish Tale mantra "Cape Coral asked for it and Fish Tale Grill listened" and, on Oct. 19, Fish Tale Grill opened for dinner - and added the new, separate menu.
"We took the same fresh seafood and have added lovely dinner and appetizer entrees like lobster and shrimp mac and cheese, Maine lobster dinners, miso marinated tuna, twin lobster tails, scallops and caviar and wanted to explore more options and have expanded the food offerings from the basic lunch fare. "
Fish Tale Grill is a warm and comfortable place to come to.
"We are really excited to do something outside the box and have something different in Cape Coral," Kerry said. "While the emphasis is on food, we make the effort to make the dishes beautiful appealing to your eyes before you take the first bite. We love sharing our food and designed the restaurant to be a fun place. We have working for years toward this goal and it is exceeding our expectations. Seafood is part of my blood and I am so excited to share it with Cape Coral -from the full tables and response we have received, Cape Coral is happy that we have opened."