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Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007

Key West on Brady

Bosley’s Florida sunshine

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Key West on Brady
Bosley’s Florida sunshine

by Jeff Beutner

November 15, 2007

How do you establish a theme at a restaurant? So many so-called contemporary restaurants fall into the same trap, boasting menus with the same familiar items, like crab cake with aioli, steamed mussels and seared ahi sushi-grade tuna.

Bosley on Brady does offer these options, but owner Michele Green has added a different twist. The restaurant focuses on seafood, steak and items discovered at restaurants in Key West, Fla. This is not the Key West of conch chowder and fritters, however. The menu offers Florida gulf grouper, a roasted beet and walnut salad and a three-cheese Caesar salad found at trendy Florida restaurants.

Bosley’s casual theme makes the small bar a bright spot on this quiet end of Brady Street. Colorful paintings by Key West artists cover the walls, and tables are topped with faux leopard-print tablecloths.

The menu, likewise appealing, is composed of plates: “Small” for appetizers, “Cold” for salads, “Main” for entrees and “Side” for, well, sides. Dinner begins with a small loaf of bread and an amuse bouche prepared for that day.

The Small Plates consist of familiar fare, except for the pistachio scallops ($10). This pair of jumbo sea scallops, dusted with crushed pistachios, served over angel hair pasta and drizzled with pistachio butter, is Bosley at its very best.

The Cold Plates are an interesting group of salads sized as starter courses. The simplest, “Jeff’s Greens Salad” ($6), is a plate of leaf lettuces in a simple vinaigrette with just a hint of salt. The freshness of the greens rules the show.

When Bosley opened two-and-a-half years ago, the standout Main Plate was the impeccably fresh Florida grouper. Though the menu has changed considerably, the Florida Gulf grouper ($28) remains. It’s a thick slice, pan sauteed or blackened. The firm flesh responds well to both preparations. The grouper is served over a potato pancake and topped with saut fresh spinach.

Outside of a chicken entr the remaining Main Plates are divided between seafood and steaks, with a veal chop thrown in for variety. Consider one of the steaks, as the filet ($28) is cooked exactly to order. The aged meat is ultra-tender, almost buttery in texture, and is accompanied by spinach, mashed potatoes and whole white mushrooms. It’s on a par with all of the upscale steakhouses in this area.

Vegetarians will have to make do with salads and the Side Plates, including a passion salad of baby greens with goat cheese, mango, almonds and berries, followed with a small Gorgonzola cheese risotto.

Bosley on Brady continues to mature with a menu that always provides surprises. Though it’s a tad expensive, the prices are justified by the quality ingredients. Patrons can also think of this as a place for a glass of wine or a martini, especially on a weeknight before 6 p.m. This is when all of the appetizers are half-price, making Bosley affordable for everybody.

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