A sustainable culinary haven on Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street, Blue Marlin (121 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach; 941-896-9737; bluemarlinami.com) is the pride of restaurateurs Adam and Marianne Ellis. Local Cortez fish is served daily, from gourmet grouper and cobia to hogfish and snapper. In addition to the fresh catches du jour is a savory selection of chowders, spreads and sides.
Q: Did you always know you would have a career in the restaurant industry?
A: Actually, in high school and college, I studied art, focusing on a career in that direction. I created steel gates and functional pieces like fire pits. While pursuing a career in art, I worked in the restaurant industry. My culinary background and training came in the form of on-the-job experiences with well-known local chefs.
Q: What were some of your first work experiences in the culinary world?
A: My first waiter job was with Ed Spring at Sign of the Mermaid, who showed me around a kitchen. Then I worked at the Beach Bistro, under Sean Murphy, and honed my waiter skills. I also spent summers working at restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard.
Q: When did you open Blue Marlin and what was your vision for it?
A: We opened in 2011. The vision was to recreate a Sunday dock party after fishing (cooking and cleaning the daily catch right off the boat). This seemed plausible, considering we live down the street from one of the few working fish houses remaining on the west coast of Florida.
Q: What makes the restaurant stand out on the local dining scene, in your opinion?
A: The freshness of the seafood. Our seafood comes from local fisherman, near my house in Cortez (at AP Bell Fish & Co.) I personally hand-select the seafood from the fish house daily.
Q: What are a few of your most requested dishes?
A: The Grouper Fulford (grouper that is egg washed and sautéed with lemon butter, finished with garlic Parmesan breadcrumbs, and served with peas, rice and house vegetables); the Cortez Boil (a low-country boil with Tampa Bay clams and large Gulf shrimp, poached in a house seafood broth with sweet corn, chorizo and red skin potatoes); and the Lobster Corndogs.
4 8-ounce grouper filets
4 eggs (4 whites, 2 yolks)
Flour for dredging
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon butter, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Heat a pan with oil on medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, dredge it in flour and coat it with the beaten egg mixture.
Place the filets directly into the hot pan. After 3 to 4 minutes in the pan, flip the fish and finish it in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until the oil starts to bubble out of the fish.
Transfer the fish to a plate and brush it with lemon butter.