Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 Anyone who reads my blog is aware I seldom bash a restaurant. There may be instances of one or two items that need improvement, and I do speak to that, I mean the blog is called Raves, Rants and Reviews. This is not the case with Casa Marina. I honestly can not recall when I have had a more unsatisfying time, not only for myself but the people who were with me. I have eaten dinner and Sunday brunch at this location and the best I can say about it I never repeated either again. When I was invited to lunch, everything in me told me to stay home, but I wanted to see some friends. I should learn to trust my instincts. The day was brilliant, December in Fl. 78 degrees and we were seated upstairs on the beach view dining area. There is also outside seating if that is what you want. The architecture and interior of the hotel and function rooms are very attractive, a historic land mark from the golden age of the 1920. It has had many incarnations but stands proud and worth a trip to the beach just to tour the building or perhaps have a cocktail upstairs. Now lets discuss the menu, lunch server from 11:00 to 4:00 has limited offerings, but there is something for everyone. We started with one Vegetable Soup and an order of the Homemade chips with Blue Cheese crumbles & Rosemary balsamic reduction. When the soup arrived it looked suspiciously like mushroom soup or old coffee with cream it was beige. The owner of the soup took about three spoonfuls and she was done. The Blue Cheese crumbles & Rosemary balsamic reduction, looked good upon arriving, but was quickly deemed not very tasteful. Blue Cheese overpowered the entire dish, the chips were crisp but small and the reduction did not taste like a quality balsamic, quite harsh on the palate, no hint of rosemary was noted. Now the other dishes, first let me note no condiments were available on the table, except Salt and Pepper, even when the orders were taken there was no discussion about mayo, mustard ketchup all the stuff we like to cover our food with and obviously no thought to just bring these items. The result of this each person had to ask for something, wait while the server ran off to Narnia to fetch a item that should have been presented with the meal. Lets continue with Casa Burger, Cheddar on a Brioche Roll, with Lettuce, Tomato and Onion, pretty basic and not to much can go wrong with this right? Wrong, overcooked, unappealing to the eye and as stated above no condiments available, not even on the bun.
Next Mahi Sandwich on a Brioche Roll with Creole Tartar, and the obligatory Lettuce, Tomato and Onion. This particular dish looked burned I watched as the recipient of this dish scraped the burn off the dry fish. I wanted to cry. Prime Rib French Dip on a Brioche roll with Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms, Swiss and Au jus
When did French Dip start being served on a Brioche? French Dip, should have been a clue to the chef, perhaps a baguette would be a better choice, some thing that will not get all soggy when it’s dipped as intended. This just looked sad. So the last dish, which I an one other guest chose; Shrimp & Grits Sautéed Jumbo Shrimp with Garlic,Shallots & Small Diced Peppers in a Chardonnay Butter Sauce over Creamy Grits. As a northerner who started eating grits very late in life, I eat them every change I get to make up for that fau paux. This dish made me question everything I like about it. I asked for my “Jumbo Shrimp” to be blackened and when it arrived, I saw my request had been granted. The had been blackened so much they must have shrunk to miniature size and although I could not identify any Chardonnay if the shrimp had been alive there was so much butter in the dish the shrimp could have had a little swim. And to add insult to butter this dish offered no hint of flavor.