The New Fico Sea

New Fico Key West Seafood

In certain strange ways, restaurant reviewing is not unlike extreme adventure sports, so it seemed thrilling but not unexpected that the iffiest entrée -- one that, to be frank, we'd ordered for laughs -- turned out to be the most successful. Breaded dolphin in Kellogg's, anyone? Really, trust me on this. The fine-crushed breakfast-cereal crust fried up crisp but nearly greaseless; the impeccably fresh mahi-mahi inside was delightfully moist and meaty; and a blessedly tart, not at all cloying, complement of honey-whole grain mustard sauce that would have made a soggy mess of a normal flour coating could not compromise this crust's crunch.

Mmm, mmm good -- now if only that shell was easier to crack
Steve Satterwhite
Mmm, mmm good -- now if only that shell was easier to crack

Location Info

Map

Fico Key West Seafood Restaurant

1248 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant >

Region: South Beach

Details

305-534-0065, open daily 11:30 a.m. to midnight (till 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday)
1248 Washington Ave, Miami Beach

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Oddly the most screwed-up entrée of all was the simplest: boiled stone crabs, which at Fico are offered only in season, which it still is. Fresh, not frozen, equals foolproof, right? Not if the claws are served warm. As every Miamian has known since Joe Weiss (the Joe of Joe's Stone Crab) first discovered the secret sometime around 1920, the meat of this particular crab, so firm yet tender and supersweet when chilled, is invariably a stringy, dry disappointment hot out of the pot, as our order of jumbos (the largest of the three sizes Fico's sells) was. The stony shells, which Damon Runyon once described as "harder than a landlord's heart," were only partially cracked; the entire third joint of each claw hadn't been whacked, meaning, since Fico hadn't provided tabletop tactical nuclear devices, the crabmeat inside these armored segments was inaccessible. A pound of medium claws ordered as take-out on our next visit did come cold. They also came totally uncracked. The good news: The seven mediums looked as large as our five previous jumbos (stone-crab sizing is not legally regulated), making them, at only $9.95 per pound, a fantastic deal, even figuring in the cost of the dynamite.

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