Dunedin’s Bon Appétit pairs decadent to-go food with a scenic drive

You know, since we're not dining in yet.

click to enlarge BON APPETIT
Bon Appetit

There’s no denying the drop dead gorgeous views from Bon Appétit out over Saint Joseph Sound. In fact, OpenTable diners once again named the restaurant one of “America’s Most Scenic.” It has an outdoor patio and has shown a commitment to masks and mitigation techniques for safe dining during the pandemic. But with Florida’s rate of positive cases, I’m still ordering takeout online.

Bon Appétit
148 Marina Plaza, Dunedin
727-733-2151; bonappetitrestaurant.com

Luckily, Bon Appétit has worked out the takeout logistics well. The online menu is clear and easy to navigate. There’s a “notes” area where you can inform them the time you wish to pick up your order and describe your vehicle. When I pulled up in the driveway circling the wonderful outdoor bar, a friendly mask-wearing staffer had my prepaid order ready to go.

Each entrée is packed in a plastic clamshell with a black bottom and a clear top. The desserts are in separate white Styrofoam containers. Everything is carefully stacked in a brown paper sack complete with handles. It’s easy to complete the transfer and safely transport your dinner to your chosen dining location.

I’ve long been a fan of Bon Appetit’s open face lobster roll and their chilled pepper-dusted ahi tuna appetizer. Of course, for fans of lobster there’s also the old school ring mold—stacking lumps of lobster meat on lush chunky avocado, all ringed with dots of creamy dressing tinged with brandy.

We’re in the midst of Bon Appétit’s annual Lobster Fest and while I’m tempted by the whole steamed lobster with grilled corn, which evokes many old Cape Cod summer memories, that’s not really testing the skills of the kitchen; steaming technique is straightforward. So let’s try the lobster bisque with a de rigueur hit of sherry. It’s dotted with meaty bits in a flavorful stock that’s on the less creamy side; tasty, if not sigh-inducing.

The lazy man’s lobster turns out to be quite flavorful. There are chunks of shelled lobster with a few whole intact claws tossed with al dente asparagus tips and truffle butter. All these tasty morsels are entwined with a plentiful serving of angel hair pasta. The pasta is softer than I prefer, but is far from soggy. All told, it’s a nice dish.

The grilled salmon fillet comes with avocado salsa and roasted fingerling potatoes. I didn’t ask for a specific temperature on the salmon, which was a mistake. Salmon shows best when it’s slightly translucent at medium rare. This fillet was overly seasoned—especially salt—and over done. Even with the spritz of fresh lemon wedge, it was dry. The avocado salsa provides a creamy contrast dotted with diced tomato and red onion. The fingerlings are also a pleasant addition, if a tad salty, as well.

For dessert, we can’t decide between classic Key lime pie or decadent tiramisu, so we get one of each. They’ve taken the time to include a garnish of piped cream with a perky, green mint leaf adjacent to the cocoa-dusted square. The cream includes some kind of stabilizer to hold its shape, which makes it firmer on the palate, but it doesn’t have the off flavors that come with a Cool Whip shortcut. The tiramisu itself has lots of flavor. It’s more cakey than creamy, and the coffee-soaked ladyfingers hold their shape without being soggy. The coffee notes are in the foreground, but they don’t overwhelm the other flavors.

Even better, for me, is a homemade Key lime pie that’s sweet-tart and creamy. For some inexplicable reason, though, there’s a chocolate syrup garnish on the bottom of the container. I don’t recommend this combination. But we each have individual tastes. Just be forewarned; if I had it to do over, I’d request that they withhold the garnish. Still, in sum, there’s a nice selection of dishes (including rack of lamb) and ordering and pickup are safe and easy. If you haven’t been out Dunedin way recently, the drive from the south along Edgewater is particularly scenic. Or, you might try a side trip out along the causeway toward Honeymoon Island. Any chance to avoid pandemic isolation should include a healthy dose of natural beauty along the waterfront.

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