By: Dan I. Cook
Last weekend while visiting Stuart Florida, we stayed in a bed and breakfast which is a five minute walk to a restaurant called Sailor’s Return. It’s positioned next to an overpass called the Roosevelt Bridge facing the Sunset Bay Marina & Anchorage.
Sitting in Sailor’s Return and looking out over the marina reminds me of old Fort Lauderdale. When I mean old, I mean the early 70’s Bahia Mar before it became the mega-boat-show-Bahia-Mar. However, inside the restaurant is a present day utopia. Well-appointed with some eye catching artwork and a cool looking waterfall outside.
We went on a Friday afternoon, and not one seat was available at the bar. My wife and I walked outside, and same story. No seats. Instead of getting pissed, I realized this was a great sign that as tourists we have found a good place.
I leaned on the the side rail while my wife sat on the one open chair. “Hey this a great way to lose weight by standing,” I thought to myself. The server came right over and took our drink orders and told us about the happy hour specials. I’m not going to sit here and break them down for you, just show up because they have some great deals. We had a few drinks and BAM! Two seats opened up at the bar. We sat down and started talking with a nice couple who retired from New Jersey. Our server then told us she was from Coconut Creek and we started chit-chatting about Broward County. You can see where I’m going with this; everyone is super friendly. I watched as other folks were getting their food and I told my bride that we had to come back to eat. But since we had to attend a retirement party, we paid our tab and left.
We decided to take my in-laws to Sailor’s Return for lunch. They were happy to meet us because they have only been there once for their anniversary a couple of years ago. They felt it was expensive but they loved the food. We ordered smoked fish dip and sailor’s bread, which is described as fresh chopped tomato, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil, melted fontina and gorgonzola cheeses served over bread. Basically bruschetta on steroids.
Now the fish dip is made by a local joint called Mrs. Peters. It is served all around Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce. It’s a local favorite. I’m not a big fan of this dip because it too fine and has too much mayo for my taste. Many restaurants and bars serve food that is not made in-house. Desserts are a great example of what I’m talking about. But, fish dip? It’s not hard to make this from scratch because I’ve done it and I’m not a chef. Shit, I’m looking right at the water. You can’t get some damn fresh kingfish and smoke that shit up mix it with a little mayo, some dill relish and some seasonings? That advice goes to all the restaurants that are serving this Mrs. Peters Dip. By the way, Mrs Peter’s Dip is not bad at all, I think this restaurant can make their own.
The sailor’s bread was tasty and original. I’m a big fan of layering flavors without adding lots of salt. This was a great example of taking simple components and making magic.
For the main courses we had, a Mahi sandwich, blackened Mahi tacos, a chicken salad sandwich and a chicken sandwich. I had the tacos and the pieces of Mahi were plentiful and the sauce that was drizzled on top cooled down the blacken seasonings and added a flavor zing to the whole dish. It had a thousand island taste that was thinned out into more of a creamy sauce. Everyone else loved their selections.
Top notch. Our server was Rich and he was so polite as the day is long. I was joking with him as he continued to say, “It’s my pleasure.” I couldn’t help but think of Chick-Fil-A. The employees there always say that, and I often marveled on how polite they are. I told Rich that, and he knew exactly what I was talking about. We had a good chuckle. I was so impressed with him, that I spoke with the manager Michael to give Rich kudos for a job well done.
You must come here if you visit Stuart. Shoot, if I lived here I would be a regular. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Coral Springs and it would make a great weekend getaway. Plus, downtown Stuart has some funky shops and cool restaurants right on the water.
At Sailor’s Return, I didn’t see price as an issue because they had a nice summertime menu It had some decent selections with a set price and the drink specials were spot on. Remember to tell Rich and Michael that Dan and Coral Springs Talk sent you and Stay Hungry!
Stuart, FL 34994
Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 1am
Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 12am