Listen up locals; downtown traffic is so congested these days, going out for lunch can be a nightmare even before you have to stand in line. You can miss the mess by heading up The Boulevard to Captain Bob's (2200 N. Roosevelt) where there's plenty of parking, and where there's the hottest lunch deal in all the Keys.
Every day from 11am to 1 pm, Captain Bob offers a $5 lunch special that includes an entre, soup and cole slaw. These entrees are limited to five items among the restaurant's usual dozens of entrees, but hey, the choices are some of my favorites:
Caesar Salad. Half of a baked chicken. A chicken sandwich or a crab salad sandwich or a barbecued pork sandwich. All of which would cost more than $5 at most other restaurants, without the soup and slaw.
You just can't beat this deal anywhere. And if you can't meet the time constraint because, say, your lunch hour is pre-fixed after 1 pm, you still get good food, good service, good prices and more than 30 lunch entrees to choose from on he regular lunch menu.
Our's was an after 1 lunch, so we were hungry and ready to start with one of Bob's Tizer's. With more than 15 appetizers that range from Jalapeno Howlers ($6.50) to peel and eat shrimp ($10.50), we honed in on the spinach and artichoke dip ($6.95).
This tasty little number comes with little toasted pita pockets enough for four people. The pita's a nice twist on this dip, which is usually served with taco chips. And of course, order this only when dining with the very best of friends. Photog Richard Watherwax continued to point out just how lovely my pearly whites glistened with green spinach particles between them.
Another good reason for lunching at Captain Bob's is the wide selection of salads, a food item that's hard to find in Key West. Oh sure, you can find Caesar Salads everywhere, and Bob offers four takes on this, but good Greek salads or house salads or other specialty salads don't show up often.
There are 13 salads here that range in price from $3.95 to $11.50. And restaurateur Rigas Condos, who owns Captain Bob's with his son, Louis Condos, is a Greek transplant to Key West where he's been in the restaurant business since 1969. Need I say more about the Greek salad?
Richard ordered the Italian meatloaf ($7.25). Topped with a thick marina-ish sauce, the meatloaf was akin to a giant meatball that accompanied a tomato basil pasta and cole slaw. It was almost like having two meals, and Richard ate the whole thing.
I, on the other hand, had to take home half a Reuben sandwich ($7.95) because I couldn't eat all of it, as well as the slaw and onion straws. Onion straws are fried as crisply as French fries, but are a nice alternative to potatoes.
All of the 30 lunch entrees range in price from pancakes at the $5.95 end of the spectrum to a seafood medley that tops out at $11.95. Somewhere in between there is chicken and ribs and mini lobster tails and chopped clams and escargot and Captain Bob does us a great service when he reduces all the confusion and decision making to the five entrees offered in the $5 lunch special.