The Grand Cafe (Key West eclectic)
314 Duval Street, Key West, Florida
Phone: (305) 292-4740
Price Range: High
Parking: Take a cab or walk.
I must first add a disclaimer to this review and that is I know two of the chefs who have either worked in the kitchen at The Grand previously or are currently cooking there. On my first visit I attended lunch as my birthday gift from friends and the chef previously employed at the café was sitting with me so I can honestly appraise the meal. On the second visit the chef knew what I was doing there and put on the best food show I’ve experienced in years.
This restaurant space was once one of the Kelly’s establishments and as I never visited here when it was, the feedback from others reflected a healthy change in the environment. The classic Victorian home works well as a restaurant and the ownership did well placing modern art in strategic locations but keeping the old style flavor. You need the contemporary artistry on the walls to compliment the contemporary style of the plate presentation. The service is fun and friendly yet not letting the architecture dictate excessive formality.
The menu is very full with lunch selections ranging from pizza to a traditional Irish breakfast. My dinner had a more delicate sensibility to it having enjoyed yellowtail in a light wine sauce and a bread pudding for desert that stands up to some of the best I’ve ever had (including my favorite at Commanders Palace in New Orleans). I am often dissatisfied with selections of wine by the glass at some restaurants as I am not always of a mind to buy a full bottle, but The Grand has a sensible and wise selection to add to the meal.
When you see so much effort put into the preparation and service of a meal you gain a respect for the people involved and how it reflects on the management. Prices are “high end” but fair for what you get. Again, as I have said before in other reviews, this is a downtown property and parking is a no go. Duval Street is just 1 ¼ mile long so park your car at the hotel or Inn and walk.
If you have a romantic notion and desire to impress your significant other then head for The Grand after enjoying one of those famous Key West sunsets. It will be a memorable experience for you both and I personally look forward to visiting again.
Doug Heyman in Key West for the Food Reference Website