Blue Water tastes best when Spicy!

Jacksonville Beach, Florida is one of the lesser-known beaches in the state of Florida. Located in the northeastern part of the state, it is often bypassed by travelers for the better-known beaches of Daytona and Miami. Jacksonville may not have the nightlife of South Beach or the bars of Daytona, but they do have good eateries. Grub is going to bring you the scoop on as many of the Jax Beach spots as possible. Lets start with Blue Water Island Grill.

Blue Water is located on 1st Street North, just north of Beach Boulevard and directly across the street from Freebird Live. Don’t bother cruising the strip looking for parking – there isn’t any. Just park in the city-owned lot and walk across the street. When you take into account the location and the possible amount of the rent, you figure that this place has to at least be decent. The restaurant, which looks like it was plucked from Key West’s famous Duval Street, has two levels, the main dining room on the bottom level and an upper level that turns in to a hoo-rah on the weekends with a live DJ. I tried Blue Water on a weekday just after the lunch rush so that I could take in the sights and smell of the place. As you enter the restaurant, the first thing you notice is the bar on your left. They serve liquor, beer and wine, but the focus is on the many frozen drink machines on the wall al la Fat Tuesday, for those of you who remember the Mardi Gras-themed chain of bars. To the right is the dining area with tables, booths and a couple of high tops. I took one of the high tops, so that I could look out onto 1st Street and take in the beach life.

The service was quick, as should be expected during the mid-afternoon. I also noticed that the empty tables had already been cleaned, which certainly is a positive. I started with the Conch Fritters ($6.95), which are served with a remoulade sauce. They arrived at my table piping hot, and had a really good flavor. If I had to change anything, I would have used less breading, so that I could get more of the conch flavor. I also ordered the Grilled Jerk Chicken ($10.95), which is served over mashed sweet potatoes and drizzled with a mild jerk sauce. I also ordered as a side item the Jerked Macaroni & Cheese ($2.95), just to compliment my jerk-themed meal. Don’t let the fact that the jerk sauce is mild fool you. What they don’t tell you is that the chicken is marinated in a jerk paste before it is drizzled with the sauce. Jerk paste is really spicy, and not for the faint of heart. I am a fan of jerk seasoning, but one bite of this dish had me looking for water! The chicken was really moist, including the breast and the mashed sweet potatoes provided a great contrast to the spiciness of the chicken. This dish was excellent on so many levels, but due to the spiciness, I would only recommend this dish to those with the palette to tolerate it. The Mac & Cheese was more pedestrian – it wasn’t nearly as spicy as the name suggests. It was good, gooey mac & cheese, but I was expecting that sweet, kick one can only get with jerk spices.

Entrees = A

The service at Blue Water was good. Not outstanding, but good. They made sure my drink was refilled often, asked if I needed anything else, and basically kept an eye on me. The restaurant was empty, so that made things that much easier. They didn’t even mind when I sat and surfed the Internet. Beach people are more relaxed than city folks. I wanted to say that the service was excellent, but I need to see how they perform with a full house.

Service = B

If you happen to be at Jacksonville Beach and are looking for something new and different from the plethora of chain restaurants that seem to dot Jacksonville’s landscape, head out to the beaches and try Blue Water Island Grill. It’s casual beach food, but it’s done right. And while you are at it, enjoy a frozen drink as well. It can go a long way in calming down the many spices that are sure to dance around on your tongue. This is certainly a Good Grub Spot.

Blue Water Island Grill on Urbanspoon

Restaurant:      Blue Water Island Grill

Address:          205 1st Street North, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

Telephone:      (904) 249-0083

Website:         www.bluewaterislandgrill.com

Date of Visit:  June 11, 2012

Good Grub or Garbage © 2012

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