BITE-SIZED

Tough Taco to Follow

Eastern shore seafood spot rises to the occasion 
with fresh eclectic fare in former TacoLu location

Chef Gary Beach, hailing from Maryland, takes his crabcakes seriously – you find very little filler and the lump crabmeat is plump and flavorful.  
Caron Streibich
The tuna nachos are crunchy fried wontons piled with tangy seaweed salad, a spicy cucumber wasabi mayo, vibrant sesame-crusted ahi tuna, finished with a sprinkling of scallions and a drizzle of sweet teriyaki.
Caron Streibich
Marlin Moon's signature drink, the Orange Crush, features freshly squeezed orange juice, Pearl orange vodka, triple sec and Sprite.
Caron Streibich
Made from a trio of fresh berries, the bumbleberry pie is a sweet way to end your meal.
Caron Streibich
The Eggplant Boat entrée features oversized slabs of breaded and lightly fried eggplant that perfectly cradle cooked scallops, shrimp and crawfish tails. A savory shiitake crab butter sauce tops the dish.
Caron Streibich
What's not to like about a warm waffle sandwich filled with generous scoops of Neopolitan (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate) Blue Bell ice cream?
Caron Streibich
The fried shrimp dinner features fresh jumbo Mayport shrimp and a mango cocktail sauce for dipping.
Caron Streibich
Calling the former TacoLu spot home, Marlin Moon Grille is the creation of owner and executive chef Gary Beach. The original location was in Ocean City, Maryland.
Caron Streibich
The Greek kadaif-wrapped jumbo Mayport shrimp appetizer (served with a sweet red chile dipping sauce) was a delightful blend of crunchy, spicy and sweet. Kadaif is shredded phyllo dough that's light and crunchy, with a unique texture.
Caron Streibich
Owner Gary Beach describes the atmosphere of his restaurant as "happy-go-lucky, sport-fishing themed bar with no pretense that serves simple, fresh eclectic fare at a fair price."
Caron Streibich
The former TacoLu spot now sports several oversized fish on the walls.
Caron Streibich
With happy hour specials on food and drink daily, the bar area is a popular spot.
Caron Streibich
The basket of bread with toasted sesame seeds, was served piping hot with a slightly salty butter.
Caron Streibich
Atop every table sits a fresh shaker of Old Bay seasoning.
Caron Streibich
Photo
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
Posted

1183 Beach Blvd., Jax Beach

372-4438

marlinmoongrille.com

Caron Streibich covers dining out throughout Northeast Florida. If you have information about new restaurant openings, menu changes or other food-related news, contact her here. Streibich is also the host of our regular Folio Weekly Bite Club gatherings. Follow the Bite Club on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about it.

Just over the Intracoastal Waterway bridge lies a hidden gem specializing in Eastern Shore seafood. The popular former TacoLu spot (complete with valet parking) has been redone and the coastal vibe is casual yet slightly upscale, perfect for a date night or appetizers and cocktails with co-workers.

Owner and executive chef Gary Beach brought Marlin Moon Grille of Ocean City, Md., to Northeast Florida less than a year ago. The recipes are his. He credits his Cajun grandmother for his informal culinary training, in addition to practical experience he picked up along the way in restaurants from Maryland to Florida.

Beach describes his restaurant as a "happy-go-lucky, sport-fishing themed bar with no pretense that serves simple, fresh eclectic fare at a fair price." I couldn't agree more.

Start with tuna nachos. Crunchy fried wontons are nicely plated and piled with tangy seaweed salad, a spicy cucumber wasabi mayo, vibrant sesame-crusted ahi tuna, finished with a sprinkling of scallions and a drizzle of sweet teriyaki.

The Greek kadaif-wrapped jumbo Mayport shrimp appetizer (served with a sweet red chile dipping sauce) was a delightful blend of crunchy, spicy and sweet. Kadaif is shredded phyllo dough that's light and crunchy, with a unique texture.

Everything is noticeably fresh. Even the basket of bread was perfection. Marlin Moon's daily fish specials are created from the fresh catch from nearby Safe Harbor Seafood in Mayport. And if you're a crabcake snob, do yourself a favor and order them. Definitely some of the best in town I've found. Plump, juicy and hardly any fillers in these jumbo lump crab cakes, paired with a homemade island aioli.

My entrée, the Eggplant Boat, earned an A+ for creativity. Oversized slabs of breaded and lightly fried eggplant cradle perfectly cooked scallops, shrimp and crawfish tails. A savory shiitake crab butter sauce tops the dish.

The baked mixed-berry bumbleberry pie was a tad too sweet for my liking, but the warm waffle sandwich, filled with generous scoops of Neopolitan (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate) Blue Bell ice cream, is a fun way to end the meal.

With happy hour pricing on food and drinks from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, add one of Marlin Moon's signature Crushes to your must-imbibe list. Originally created by Beach and two of his pals in their Ocean City bar, these fresh-squeezed drinks are sure to please.

"They're refreshing, light and a great way to fight scurvy. And they sneak up on you," Beach said.

Not wanting to chance getting scurvy, I enjoyed the original Orange Crush with Pearl orange vodka, triple sec, Sprite and OJ, but the Paloma (with charro blanco, lime juice and freshly squeezed grapefruit) was a close second. 

No comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment
 
Download our dojax app
What do you think? Browse
Do you think the pension deal is good for Jacksonville?
Post your review here …