Seafood is not an easy takeout item; too many things can go wrong. But the food I recently got from Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen in Winter Park was nicely done for the most part.
I especially liked the shrimp and corn chowder, with plenty of crunchy kernels, some tender-firm shrimp and potatoes in a velvety cream based broth. Some diced poblano chilies gave it a subtle spicy note.
I also liked the LA gumbo, with shrimp and bits of crawfish, hunks of spicy andouille sausage, okra and tomatoes. The gumbo was packaged separately from the cilantro-lime rice. I spooned both into my own bowl and formed a more perfect union.
One of the best things about the broiled seafood platter was the bowl of “smothered” tomatoes and okra that came with it. I could have made a meal out of that, which is not to diminish the fillet of cod, shrimp and scallops that were the actual focus of the entree. Also good: the boiled new potatoes.
Only the fried calamari failed to impress, and I really should have known better than to order it. Something fried and breaded rarely travels well; fried and breaded seafood less so. A shame because the tomato “gravy” that came with it would have been terrific.
Reel Fish has a user-friendly and intuitive online ordering form that allows you to designate a specific time for pick-up – with some online ordering systems you have to place your order then jump in the car to rush to the restaurant.
And the restaurant has a parking space out front dedicated to curbside pickup, a very thoughtful touch.
The order was brought to my car by a masked staffer and placed in an insulated container I now keep in my trunk. It helps to keep foods hot on the way home.
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen is at 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. A brunch menu is available on weekends. The phone number is 407-543-3474.