Bar & Grill owners Stephanie and Peter Copeland have extensive restaurant experience, including opening their Turtle Shack Café in Flagler Beach, Florida, in 2001. In 2005, they moved to the Seattle area to be closer to family. There, they opened Doc’s Hideaway Grill, which was “applauded for its extremely friendly service and excellent food.” The Copelands moved back to Florida earlier this year and immediately began renovating the restaurant location that would become the Bimini Bar & Grill, bringing their ideas of friendly service and excellent food with them.

The restaurant is relatively small but feels expansive due to the walls of windows overlooking a marina. From this third-floor vantage point you can see boaters offloading their daily catches, watch the sun set and the stars come to life, and perhaps catch a glimpse of manatees. Whether you’re dressed to the nines or have come by boat (mile marker 33) to sate your hunger, you’ll fit into the surroundings and be warmly welcomed.

My friend Cathy and I visited Bimini Bar & Grill shortly after they opened for business and arrived within the very last minutes of their early dining menu, offered from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. We decided to order from that—three courses plus a glass of house wine for $25 per person seemed like a great deal and a wonderful way to share many dishes.

From the appetizer course, we chose Tuna Tataki ($9*), and Bacon, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Wontons ($6). The tuna slices were rubbed with ginger sea salt, served over shaved lotus root, and topped with black sesame vinaigrette and shaved veggie slaw. The multitude of flavors combined perfectly with the fresh tuna. The ginger sea salt made this really special, and I appreciated the unique addition of the lotus root. The wontons were another great selection. Five fried wontons tenderly wrapped the bacon and goat cheese and exuded the essence of mushroom. They were drizzled in a barbecue sweet soy sauce and served with a crunchy Asian slaw that seemed to have a hint of cinnamon. I could have easily consumed all five myself.

The next of the three courses was a salad: Cathy selected the Field Green Salad ($6) and I ordered the Caesar ($4). Upon arrival at our table, I noticed how beautiful and enticing the field green salad looked. A pile of field greens was placed in the middle of the plate with individual mounds of smoky-spiced pecans (crafted on premises by the talented and personable Head Chef Troy Torman), goat cheese and halved grape tomatoes surrounding it. It was served with a blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette dressing. This is a salad not to be passed over. It was delicious and I was ridiculously envious of every bite Cathy took. The Caesar’s romaine lettuce was accented with finely shredded parmesan on top, and two mounds each of house-made croutons and flavorful grape tomatoes. The dressing was lacking in flavor, which I mentioned to our server when he came to check on us. He relayed my comment to the chef, who promptly checked on the situation in the kitchen and came to our table to explain that, yes, there was a problem with the dressing. He apologized and made it right by bringing me not only the proper dressing but a whole new salad. Even with the “real” dressing, I was still salivating over the field greens.

Cathy’s entrée choice was the Petite Filet Mignon ($25) and mine was the Glazed Salmon Soba. The char-grilled filet was fresh herb and shallot rubbed, topped with goat cheese and a fresh mushroom-veal demi-glaze. The glaze was more of a heavy gravy in our opinion, and there was too much of it over the steak almost overpowering its flavor. The filet was plated with naked roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a medley of nicely sautéed spinach, zucchini, red peppers and squash. The salmon was pan-seared with a sweet and spicy glaze and served over stir-fried vegetables, accompanied by baby bok choy and soba noodles. The plate itself sported an orange drizzle which I dubbed liquid fire. It was sriracha sauce, which is made mainly from chili peppers and had me sweating instantly. Cathy said my face was turning red, and I believe her. The salmon alone was out-of-this-world buttery perfection. The mildness of the bok choy balanced the zesty glaze of the salmon wonderfully. Ordering the salmon helped me get over my salad envy.

The housemade dessert menu, offered separately from the three-course menu, listed Crème Brulee ($6), Authentic Key Lime Pie ($5) and Peanut Butter Pie ($5). We opted for a slice of peanut butter pie and went straight to dreamy dessert heaven with the first bite. The pale chocolate-colored pie slice was drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce and topped with crushed chocolate wafers and crushed peanuts.

There are many options on Bimini Bar & Grill’s menu, including Jerk Duck Wings (7); sandwiches such as Oyster Po’ Boy ($12), Prime Rib ($9), Veggie Focaccia ($8) and burgers ($9-$12); many seafood selections including Authentic Maryland Crab Cakes ($19); and chops and rib-eye.

The Copelands show a real, lively passion for their restaurant. Show them some love in return by visiting Bimini Bar & Grill.

*prices listed are a la carte

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