From the moment you spot the little red seafood house on Stringfellow Road you are curiously drawn to it. Mary and Bud named their restaurant in honor of Mary's mother nicknamed "Red". They have been in the restaurant business since the early 70's and opened Red's - Fresh Seafood House and Tavern on Pine Island in October of 2005. Their plan - to serve the freshest, locally caught seafood prepared deliciously and they do just that. (click on the pictures to view larger images)
Since it is a seafood house named for a woman it is very fitting that a mermaid is their symbol, but while the romantic notion of a redheaded mermaid may be what lures sea lovers into this establishment it is her good cooking that keeps them coming back! In the kitchen preparing Red's wonderful dishes is Chef Victoria Wenning. Chef Vicki trained and worked in the Northeast until making the move to Pine Island a few years ago (prior to Red's she was at the Tarpon Lodge restaurant). Red's atmosphere is relaxed and friendly so it's no surprise to find Mary up front most nights greeting the neighbors (it's a local favorite) and making sure everyone is taken care of.
I've stated before that anytime the relatives visit from NY we have to go to Red's so as expected when my mother-in-law was visiting recently we did just that. Mom had the fried oysters, my husband had the special, Sesame Crusted Golden Tile Fish with Mandarin Pineapple Teriyaki Glaze (I could eat the name), and my daughter and I split the Red's Steamer (it's meant to be shared). I would love to tell you I've tried many of Red's dishes but I can't because the Red's Steamer entrée is the dish I just can't live without! It arrives at your table in two steaming pitchers, one with Alaskan King Crab legs sticking out of the top and the other brimming with shellfish. As you sit with your shellfish cracker and seafood fork at the ready, lemon butter drawn, your server pours the mixture on two platters. The piping hot feast is a combination of shrimp, oysters, crab, mussels, clams, Cajun sausage, sweet onions, wine and butter, in addition, when available, you can add Stone Crab claws! It's a simple dish but the flavor is divine! Although I seldom veer from the Red's Steamer I have had their fish. Let me preface this by saying as a fourth generation native Floridian I know what fish should taste like. Many species of fish have a delicate subtle flavor, which unfortunately many restaurants mask with sauces and seasonings and more often over cook. Not so here! At Red's they know how to season fish and when to plate it resulting in fish dishes cooked and complemented to perfection. Bravo, Victoria! As if these weren't enough reasons to get you there, Red's has a menu filled with many other enticing choices (seafood and much more) I've yet to try. I hope I see you there soon.