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Fish sandwich review: Star Fish Co.

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Star Fish grouper with beer

The grouper sandwich ($12.95) with a Budweiser draft ($1.41) at Star Fish Company in Cortez, Fla. COURTESY PHOTO / KRISTIN TATANGELO

Grouper Sandwich, $12.95
Star Fish Company
12306 46th Ave W., Cortez
794-1243
starfishcompany.com.

Star Fish from water

Star Fish Company STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

The Star Fish Company, nestled along north Sarasota Bay in the Old Florida village of Cortez, bills its grouper sandwich as “none fresher!” It’s the rare example of utter truth in advertising.

The dockside restaurant gets its seafood from sister business A.P. Bell Fish Company next door. It’s a fish packing and distribution business that has supplied ocean delights to restaurants around the world since 1940.

I ask the always friendly and informative Ruthie Killoran, who not only takes all the orders but also bartends, about the merits of today’s grouper sandwich.

“The long-shore fishermen have been going right into the Gulf to get them,” she says while motioning to the commercial fleet a mere few feet away. “It’s a tough call, but I like my grouper sandwich best blackened.”

Star Fish commerical fleet

View of commercial fleet from Star Fish Co. COURTESY PHOTO / KRISTIN TATANGELO

You can have your grouper fried, grilled, blackened or sautéed but I smartly take Ruthie’s advice. The large piece of fish is cooked perfectly, a moist filet cleverly blackened as to accentuate rather than overpower the grouper.

I use my plastic knife to spread a thin layer of Star Fish’s homemade tarter-sauce – it’s delicious – across the kaiser roll, which also supports iceberg lettuce, tomato and white onions. Next, it’s bite after bite of seafood nirvana served, like all the dishes at Star Fish, in a cardboard container.

Star Fish grouper 1

The grouper sandwich at Star Fish Co. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

The grouper sandwich comes with a generous serving of flavorsome fries but the homemade sides of coleslaw, cheese grits and hush puppies are each well worth the $1.41 extra.

This, by the way, happens to be the exact same price of a draft beer and bottles are only $2.35. Ruthie serves priced-to-move wine, too.

In addition to the astoundingly fresh, expertly prepared seafood – my amazing wife Kristin is partial to the sautéed shrimp – and yummy sides, Star Fish Company offers wonderful vistas.

Star Fish shrimp highliner light

Shrimp Highliner Light at Star Fish Co. COURTESY PHOTO / KRISTIN TATANGELO

There are mangrove islands, swooping pelicans, soaring egrets and the old net camp that looks like a shed on stilts in the middle of the water. Jewfish Key, Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach plus the actual boats that bring back the catch you’re eating are also part of the spectacular view.

Just remember to bring cash – that’s all Star Fish accepts – and don’t forget to tip Ruthie.

Star Fish view 1

The view from our seat at the bar of the Star Fish Company in Cortez, Fla. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Tell us your favorite fish sandwich!





 

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Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: November 15, 2013
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