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Pensacola Beach's Swanky New Spot
We noticed a trend when we doled out letters for our A-Z Eat Guide feature story to IN staff and freelancers. It seemed all of us had found something on The Grand Marlin's menu that we had never tried. It's new, it's different, and we all jumped to make the menu options a part of our Eat Guide editorial contribution. We figure those who haven't checked it out are curious too, so we figured we'd give all of our readers a few more details.
One Friday, my wife and I were lucky enough to score a night out without the kids, and we wanted to experience The Grand Marlin.
Upon entering the establishment, which can be accessed by taking a staircase up to the main deck overlooking Santa Rosa Sound, I was instantly impressed with the layout and design of the place.
Putting a modern twist on the classic waterfront restaurant style, The Grand Marlin has a huge outside bar for those who wish to eat outside or for those who might be waiting for an open table in the main dining room.
The wife and I first hit the North Drop Bar for a drink to begin the evening. We opted to chill out on one of the booths, which are real leather plush seats that you become a part of as soon as you sit down. The tables are solid wood and the decor is spectacular. This place could easily be a hot spot on Rodeo Drive. But enough about the interior design. We're really here to find out about the food, right?
Our server was a nice -- albeit green -- young man who greeted us with a smiling face, unlike some of the surly serving staff I have encountered around town.
After our waiter gave us the quick background of the restaurant, he informed us that they print their menus every day to ensure that all the food is of the freshest quality and that you will always be able to order exactly what you want every time. That impressed me very much, because I absolutely hate when you go somewhere to eat and they are out of everything.
To begin, we ordered the garlic sauteed blue crab claws and crispy lobster fingers. The crab claws, which were tossed in a butter cream sauce with garlic, were simply mouthwatering. They didn't last more than two minutes once they hit the table. The lobster fingers were just as magnificent. Golden fried lobster tails, served with a vanilla infused honey mustard for dipping -- also delicious dipped in the crab claw sauce -- were going to be a tough order to beat, but we still had an entree to go.
For my main course, I had a succulent 8oz. filet cooked to a perfect rare that melted in my mouth. It would have been a crime to add steak sauce to such a fine piece of meat. The classic pairing of whipped potatoes and seasonal veggies accompanied the dish, making for a complete and wholly satisfying meal.
I can definitely see a longstanding run on Pensacola Beach for this place. Overall, date night at The Grand Marlin was a memorable one. I fully intend on returning -- probably more than once.
THE GRAND MARLIN
400 Pensacola Beach Blvd.
Bubbs' Recommendation: Crispy Lobster Fingers with Vanilla Infused Honey Mustard