BEST CONCH FRITTER - 2005
305-666-5979 People can respectfully disagree about what the best thing is about Captain's Tavern. There are those who insist that the experience of Bill (the captain) and Audrey Bowers, who've helmed ship for more than 30 years, is what makes this beloved family fish house sail smoothly. (The paneled walls, padded captain's chairs, and faux-nautical kitsch would probably not top most folks' lists, but it is sort of neat in an anti-South Beach way.) Enophiles tend to focus on the wine selection of more than 600 labels, while those who just like to drink good wine at an affordable price point out the absurdly low markup on bottles. The long-time bartender and professional old-school waitstaff would certainly win votes as the Tavern's top draw, as would the serious selection of fresh, fabulous-but-not-frilly seafood that splashes across a five-page menu: fried shrimp, Portuguese fish stew, oysters in rosemary-perfumed cream sauce, yellowtail grilled Jamaican-style -- all fantastic, really, so as we've said, we can disagree with all the unfortunate, ill-informed, and misguided patrons who don't know that the very best thing about Captain's Tavern is the conch fritter -- or fritters, because you get six glorious globes for $8.95. The secret to the Captain's rendition is properly tenderizing the conch before chopping and mixing it with flour, eggs, green onions, celery, red peppers, and a savory thyme-tinged blend of spices. Top your sandwich off with the hottest thing about Captain's Tavern: Audrey's homemade Scotch bonnet pepper sauce. If you dare.