Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McMulvei's Reef an Eclectic Journey

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McMulvei's Reef an Eclectic Journey

Article excerpt

McMulvei's Reef opened in December where Compton's was for years, on the beach in Vilano Beach. It's got a great view, elevated over the dunes. The seagrapes below and the ocean beyond are visible from most tables.

Plants hang from baskets overhead, the tablecloths are off-white.

It's a big place, seating about 250 if you count the upstairs room. It wasn't crowded late on a recent Sunday afternoon. No more than half a dozen tables occupied at any time.

McMulvei's advertises creative cuisine. To be honest, I didn't think the menu was particularly unusual or creative, but it's not your average fried shrimp place either. And the food was generally very good.

Seven appetizers are on the menu, including Portabello Pizza ($7.95), Szechuan Calamari ($6.95) and Maryland Crabcake topped with roasted red pepper buerre blanc ($8.95).

Caribbean Scallops ($9.50) were superb. Six large sea scallops were seared in what the menu said was a Caribbean jerk spice, but looked and tasted slightly blackened. The mandarin orange aioli wasn't bad, but the scallops were perfect by themselves.

The Louisiana Gator ($8.95) was less successful. I thought the small pieces of fried gator tail were bland, despite the buttery garlic sauce. There were those at the table who disagreed, and it went quickly.

Meals come with a good salad of mixed greens and finely grated cheese. The ginger vinaigrette is worth trying. A basket of plain rolls also came, but the second one, topped with onions, was better.

The entree menu isn't large, but includes one or two of everything: Asiago Pasta with sauteed shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, asiago cream sauce over tri-colored farfelle ($17.95), Capon Breast (pan-seared chicken breast) finished with wild mushroom Marsala sauce ($15.95) and a 12-ounce Ribeye ($20.95).

The chef usually has four or five nightly specials.

One of those, Blackened Prime Rib Sandwich, was the cheapest thing on the menu at $10.95. A large sandwich came au jus, on thick, crusty bread, accompanied by crisp steamed vegetables. It brought no complaints at all.

My Jambalaya ($17.95) wasn't a large bowl, but neither was it filled with rice. …

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