It had been another sultry August day but still no rain when we arrived a bit after 7 at Chuck’s, the venerable Fort Pierce seafood restaurant on an inlet to the Indian River Lagoon an easy half-hour drive south of Vero.
The hostess led us to a table in the second-floor dining room, and it was then we noticed there were tables available outside on the veranda.
Lucky us! We love dining on Chuck’s balcony, where ceiling fans produce a nice breeze even on an evening when there is none – and you can watch the boats returning to their marinas as you enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine.
The hostess tried to warn us off – rain’s coming, she said – but we decided to risk it, claimed a table on the veranda right next to the railing, and watched the storm clouds move in from the east.
Soon, there was a light rain. When it showed signs of turning into a downpour, we moved across the aisle to a table a bit farther back against the wall. Then finally, le deluge.
But we remained totally dry (well, perhaps not the soles of our shoes), and the sound of the rain – and the somewhat cooler air it brought – provided the perfect al fresco ambiance for another wonderful evening of dining at Chuck’s.
For starters on this evening, my husband and I decided to share an order of steamed clams ($17.49 for a dozen).
The steamed clams were delicious, though at that price, it was probably just as well that Chuck’s included 14 of these beauties in our order of a dozen. We then each had a house salad, which is included with dinner entrées.
For entrées, I chose the “famous fried shrimp” ($21.99) and my husband – torn between whether to have genuine red snapper ($32.99) or fresh cobia – took our excellent server David’s advice and went for the latter.
Chuck’s fried shrimp – butterflied and very lightly breaded – are generally as good as you are going to find anywhere, and this evening proved no exception. My husband’s cobia could well have been swimming earlier in the day, and served blackened, it was cooked to perfection.
On previous occasions, we have enjoyed the stuffed shrimp with crabmeat stuffing, the plump and juicy broiled scallops, and yellowfin tuna. The dinners come with a choice of potatoes, rice or veggies.
For dessert, we decided to share a slice of Chuck’s house-made caramel cheese cake ($6.99). Absolutely delicious.
Dinner for two with wine and before tip is likely to run in the $90 to $110 range.
This is not a place that demands fancy dress. The atmosphere, even in the dining room, might charitably be described as casual. On the deck, even more so.
But for good fresh seafood, simply prepared, the food measures up to that in most white-table-cloth restaurants.
As we were leaving, the hostess pointed out four spectacular lobsters that had just come in. On a previous visit, we were lucky enough to have scored one of these.
Too bad we were full. Not many things beat feasting on a spiny lobster out there on Chuck’s veranda.
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The reviewer dines anonymously at restaurants at the expense of Vero Beach 32963.
Chuck’s Seafood Restaurant
- Hours: 3-9 pm, Sunday – Thursday (closed Monday); 4-10 pm, Friday & Saturday
- Beverages: Full Bar
- Address: 822 Seaway Drive (at the eastern end of South Causeway Park)
- Phone: 772-461-9484