“Fisherman Charley,” a wooden fisherman statue in a yellow rain slicker and hat, stands guard in front of Charley’s Boathouse Grill, where chefs have prepared steaks and seafood for more than four decades. The kitchen wet-ages Angus beef for four to six weeks before hand-cutting each steak, which is measured by ounces and seared to taste. Seafood such as locally caught grouper also fills the menu alongside snow crabs, teriyaki chicken breasts, and house-baked breads.
For special events, patrons sup on some of the most popular menu items inside a converted boathouse. Up to 70 people can also gather at the “hideaway,” which has back-bay views of Estero Bay, making it perfect for actually seeing the harbor seals you dressed in tuxedos.
No one's ever told the hibachi chefs at Kumo Japanese Steak House & Sushi not to play with their food, and that's a good thing. As diners cluster around the hot grill at the center of their tables, the chefs put on a show, flipping morsels of meat and seafood into the air and onto plates with the same kind of dexterity a surgeon demonstrates while playing Operation. The sushi chefs are equally skilled, turning out beautiful rolls inspired by freshly caught local fish. Diners enjoy these dishes at tables made from glistening granite and set atop glittering floor tiles and beneath modern, geometric lights.
Petes pleases palates with a menu of Italian pasta, pizza, and meat plates. Meals kick off with antipasto Della Nonna, which invites dining parties to share bites of fresh buffalo mozzarella, olives, and artichoke hearts drizzled—like Italian princes—in balsamic vinaigrette ($8.99). In the kitchen, potato dumplings sauté in the gnocchi's homemade meat sauce ($14.99), and fresh lasagna sheets seal in layers of ricotta and ground beef ($13.99). Meanwhile, hands cast off forks to peel pieces from a stromboli calzone ($10.99) and rearrange slices from a 16-inch pepperoni-and-sausage deluxe pizza into cubist self portraits ($16.99).
Chip's Sanibel Steakhouse quells the longings of beef buffs and seafood savants with its menu of appetite whetters and hunger-pang decimators. Begin the gustatory proceedings with a round of appetizers, including Oysters Rockefeller ($8/four) and beef carpaccio with microgreens, parmesan cheese, capers, and an oregano vinaigrette ($12). The elegant eatery’s hit parade of classic cuts—including filet mignon ($33 for 7 oz.), rib eye ($24 for 12 oz.), New York strip ($32 for 12 oz.), Porterhouse ($36 for 22 oz.), and a 14-ounce Kobe steak when available ($45)—are aged in house and flash-seared at 1700 degrees to prevent rogue juices from escaping. Dress up steaks with creamy Maytag blue cheese butter ($2), piquant red-wine demi-glaze ($1), or a decadent monocle and top hat combo.
When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.
Behind their teppanyaki grilling stations, chefs at Kumo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi flip lobster tails, filet mignon, and shrimp through the air as diners look on. A short distance away from the hibachi flames, chefs at the sushi bar craft fresh hand rolls based on local catches, such as the cape coral maki with salmon, tuna, and avocado, and the Top of the World roll with yellowtail, scallion, and cucumber. Staffers pour hot and cold sake and imported beer for patrons to quaff when not digging into a noodle bowl. The dining area?s decor teems with Asian accents such as bamboo shoots, a zen-garden-inspired rock wall, and a zen-garden-inspired ball pit.