Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cin Cin Gastro Pub -WAS One of Fort Myers Top Spots, and Deals.

CIN CIN CLOSED JULY 18, 2009. WHILE THE CHANGE TO A GASTRO PUB BROUGHT IN MORE BUSINESS, IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. ONE OF FORT MYERS' TOP FIVE SPOTS IS GONE, ADDING TO THE GREAT SUCKING SOUND OF QUALITY DINING LEAVING LEE COUNTY. Chef Scott Sopher’s uniquely tasty food, very affordable prices, and casually elegant setting have made Cin Cin one of the top five restaurants in Fort Myers. It perches at the NE corner of McGregor and Cypress Lake Drive, near Prawnbroker and Blu Sushi. Cin’s the center’s culinary gem. It’s now one of the most inexpensive spots in town, where a lighter eater can have a delicious meal this summer for $3.30. Read on!

What’s a “Gastro Pub?” The menu states that “The hallmark of a gastro pub is a place that specializes in straightforward, familiar food, presented with adventurous twists and with honest ingredients. Fancy or simple, the dishes are all reasonably priced.” He’s accomplished this, and created quite a few regular customers. Cin Cin is fine for a “come as you are” to the lounge area, perfect for a romantic date, or for bringing ten friends to the separate, warmly lit dining room. Sit outdoors by the trees-it’s really three different places in one! The dining room is large enough; tables are nicely separated by foliage, iron grillwork, and by booths. Lighting is warm, bright enough enough to read, and flatteringly soft. You just can’t match Cin Cin’s quality and prices, even cooking at home. Cin Cin was a Mediterranean restaurant. The new identity gives it culinary “free rein,” offering a varied cuisines, at a very wallet friendly price..

The superbly priced 3 tapas for $10 (Sunday to Thursday) drew me in. There’s 40 tapas available, and 20 or so are on the three for10 $ menu’s list. These are good sized appetizers; one or two is a meal for most people-that’s $3.33 to $6.60 for a gourmet quality dinner! The list includes Beef and Cheese Empanadas, Grilled chorizo stuffed Calamari, Lump Crab and Avocado Salad, Grilled tomato and Fresh Mozzarella, and the delicious Hummus with Fresh Roasted Garlic.

I flipped for the luscious Lamb Flat Bread, a goodly portion of wonderfully seasoned gyros style warm lamb atop rich caramelized onions, with warmed goat cheese, pine nuts and a fresh basil pesto, resting on a sliced fresh flatbread. The lamb, lightly browned, is accented by the pine nuts’ crunchy contrast, and the caramelized onions rich, lightly sweet texture. I’d pay $12 in many places for this attractive creation. While it is enough for Pamela as a dinner, it’s only $3.33, as part of the tapas trio! Highly recommended.

The seared diver scallops are perfectly cooked and seasoned, on a rich smooth goat cheese polenta, that doesn’t overshadow the sweet scallops. It’s highlighted with ribbons of sopressata, a cured ham, giving a nice warmth, all topped with fresh micro greens sprigs.

Fried calamari are so crisp, light and fresh, you’d swear they were baked. There’s a ramekin of sweetly tart tomato marmalade, and one of lightly pickled banana peppers, contributing their mild heat. Place all three components on each forkful, and the complimentary textures and tastes on your tongue will make you smile! Where else can you get three very good sized, terrific tasting appetizers for $3.33 each?

The Caesar salad is nicely done, with marinated white anchovies, not the canned stuff, but the quality tender pricy version, that makes your taste buds swoon. There are crisp chick peas with the romaine lettuce. The baked, crispy parmesan tuile is worth ordering the salad, and the croutons are nicely seasoned.

The warm Grilled Beet Salad is perfect for vegetarian or carnivore, with baby arugula and pea shoots, tossed in a roasted shallot vinaigrette, and crumbled goat cheese. Delicious!There are over 30 very good beers, (Anchor Steam, Brooklyn Brown, Bud, Heineken, Ales, etc.) and a good assortment and pricing on wines, over fifty by the bottle, ranging from $25 to 55. We shared the $55 Domaine Carneros ’06, a wonderfully smooth Napa Pinot Noir.If you like good very wines, this red’s well worth the difference. The bottle didn’t last long! It’s rated 91-93, and priced at $35 online. It is a quite low markup at $55. In Naple$, it would be $100-120 on 5th Avenue. The Mauritson Zinfandel is very good, a generous pour, and a very good buy at $7 a glass.

I love a great big hamburger, and Cin Cin has “Build your own Burger” for $7, plus toppings such as apple wood bacon, avocado, caramelized onions, foie gras pate, duck confit, and even butter poached lobster! The Mushroom Swiss burger ($9) is big, nicely seasoned, and oh so juicy and tender with a tasty charring. The burger is made with love! Arugula, Gruyere cheese and forest mushrooms give an earthy accent and garden freshness.This is one of the best burgers I’ve had. Highly recommended!

Could Scott please a man from Philly with his “Uptown Philly.?” It’s a clever twist on the real thing. He does it one better. Rather than sliced steak, he puts a seared beef tenderloin, caramelized shallots, baked brie, baby arugula and a rich demi-glace on a toasted baguette for $13. This is well worth it. The brie fits nicely with the white cheese version I love. This would be very popular in Philly!

The Cavatelli , Mushroom and Spinach is vegetarian, tossed with garlic, white wine, EVOO and parmesan cheese, for $14. It’s ok, just not what I’d order again. Not everything hits a home run on every palate.
Our selections feed four just fine, and there’s still boxed leftovers.
Other diners rave over the seafood paella-next time!

Desserts are attractive and very affordable, either $4 or $5 each! Vanilla Crème brulee, Apricot and Almond Tarte, Fried Churros, Chocolate Fondant, Daily Gelato, Expresso Mascarpone torte, Banana & Rum Confit are a few. Our Banana & Rum confit has bananas layered with pound cake and hazelnut gelato-think Bananas Foster, with a nice twist, and you’ll finish yours as quickly as we did ours!

Without the wine, the dinner came to ~$15 per person for four people, including tax! There are VERY few spots in the US of A where you can have this creative, tasty “gourmet’ quality experience, and be way under $20, including tax/tip! Visit this week, you deserve an affordable treat in a beautiful, casual setting.

Entertainment and Specials –Thursday is Salsa Night, and there’s live entertainment Friday and Saturday, with a popular Sunday Blues- Jazz starting at 6 pm. Call to see what's current.
Cin Cin, 13451 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers 415-2007

1 comment:

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Too bad I can't review Ft. Myers restaurants, there are so many interesting options there! I've linked your blog to mine, hope you don't mind!