Café Marquesa, Key West, 1/27/22


Café Marquesa, serving contemporary American cuisine, seats just 50 people in the restaurant associated with the Marquesa Hotel.  The corner location had several tables outside with most of them inside along with bar stools that offered drinks and food for walk-ins.  The lights were lowered slightly but the numerous windows let in lots of street light.  No music was in the background and the small tables were covered with white cloths.  Chef Graham Dailey (from the Peninsula Grill) stood in the dining room in front of the trompe l’oeil painting that surrounded the kitchen window.  He looked over all the food before it was served but never came around to the tables.  Lots of mirrors and art were on the wall and bench seating was along a couple of the walls.  It had an elegant feel and efficient service.  I would recommend giving it a try.

interior, looking at bar
chef with trompe l’oeil mural around kitchen window
bar list
wine list 1
wine list 2


After ordering the server brought an amuse bouche of roasted red pepper/ tomato soup in a single sip server.  It was nice.

amuse bouche – tomato soup


Warm sliced bread came with tarragon and lemon infused softened butter.  The bread was very light and tasty but I did not care for the flavored butter.

herbed butter
wine front
wine back


Oysters Rockefeller were 5 oysters topped with creamy smoked bacon, arugula, scallions and Asiago breadcrumbs.  The good sized oysters were piled high with ingredients bound in a flavorful roux and topped with the crispy breadcrumbs.  It was a very satisfying starter, not too heavy but filled with flavor and texture.  Thumbs up.

Oyster Rockefeller with creamy smoked bacon, arugula, scallions, asiago breadcrumbs


Crispy Pork Osso-Bucco was stuffed and topped with green tomato jam and served alongside wild mushroom risotto with grilled asparagus.  The pork shank had been deep fried to give it a crispy exterior but inside was soft, succulent meat accented with the tasty tomato jam.  A dollop of the jam was on the top of the bone where marrow would usually be found.  The risotto was nicely runny and excellently flavored with good asparagus and mushrooms.  The asparagus had not been peeled but were not woody and filled with fun asparagus taste and an assortment of mushrooms held their own to balance the dish.  It was all good together and a wonderful take on what can sometimes be a monotonous dish with a large tiresome pork shank.  This one kept me coming back for one more bite.  Highly recommended.

Crispy pork osso-bucco, wild mushroom risotto, grilled asparagus, green tomato jam
closer pork and jam
closer risotto
Frankie wanted a bite


dessert menu


Key Lime Pie was made with a graham cracker crust and topped with candied walnuts and whipped cream along the side.  The pie had great texture and was very tart.  The sweet crust, candied nuts and cream helped balance the tartness.  The nuts were particularly good but I never could figure out the flavoring of the dots alongside.

Key Lime Pie, graham cracker crust, candied walnuts, whipped cream


Beignets were served with powdered sugar, créme anglaise and fresh berries.  The 5 crisp balls were densely covered with powdered sugar and pretty airy inside.  They were incredible.  You really didn’t need the sauce they were rich and sweet enough on their own.  They were much puffier than the ones I’ve had in New Orleans but oh so tasty.  The star of 2 desserts.  Yum x3.

Beignets, powdered sugar, creme anglaise, fresh berries
closer beignets
closer sauce


Frankie napped on the bench seat

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