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Grouper Picatta LAURA TICHY / FLORIDA WEEKLYGrouper Picatta LAURA TICHY / FLORIDA WEEKLY

Grouper Picatta LAURA TICHY / FLORIDA WEEKLY

The court: Grouper straight from the boat and homemade desserts

The place: Fish Tale Grill by Merrick Seafood, 1229 SE 47th Terrace, Cape Coral; 239-257-3167; bestseafoodcapecoral.com

The details: A few years ago, while researching a commercial fishing article for the Florida Weekly at a fish house dock in Matlacha, I saw a local restaurant’s refrigerated truck backing up to the dock as a fishing crew unloaded their fresh catch. Impressed that a restaurant would go to the trouble of picking up the commercial fishing boat when it arrived at the dock rather than simply buying the fish from the wholesale fish store later, I jotted down the name of the restaurant and called it a place I wanted to try one day. The restaurant was Fish Tale Grill by Merrick Seafood in downtown Cape Coral.

This dedication to freshness is evident in the Grouper Piccata ($34). The grilled fish is treated in a way that enhances its flavor rather than overpowering it. The fillet is served over garlicky mashed potatoes and a very fresh mix of green beans, carrots and broccoli, and topped with artichoke hearts marinated in lemon and wine and a simple but elegant butter sauce. A generous sprinkling of capers and an edible flower garnish the plate of this delicately flavored dish.

It’s hard to choose between the homemade desserts at Fish Tale. Since fish is a light meal, why not try two? The Key Lime Pie ($7) is a real thing, made with real Key Lime juice, which is more tart than the typical store-bought lime juice. It has the right pale gold color that Key Lime Pie should have and the right balance of sweet and tart. The generously portioned Crème Brulee ($9) features a deep pot of lightly whipped, creamy vanilla custard that isn’t intensely vanilla or too sweet, but has a rich, egg-forward flavor profile. The burnt-sugar-brown crust provides a satisfying crunch when you crack the top of the crème brulee. ¦

Laura Tichy, [email protected]