DINING: Chuck’s Seafood offers fine dining overlooking the inlet

With all the fine dining to be found in Vero, it sometimes is easy to forget there are a couple of excellent seafood restaurants less than a half hour drive south of us in Fort Pierce.

Last Wednesday evening, we decided to pay a visit to Chuck’s, a venerable restaurant that is close to a perfect place for anyone seeking good fresh seafood, attentive service, and the best view around of boats entering an inlet to our Indian River Lagoon.

It had been another sultry day, but we nevertheless decided to dine outside on the second-floor veranda –where giant ceiling fans produce a nice breeze even on an evening when there is none – and watched the boats returning to their marinas as we enjoyed a glass of wine.

For starters on this evening, I decided to have a cup of conch chowder ($4.99) while my husband opted to try one of the specials, Chuck’s “Outrageous Oysters” ($14.99).

The conch chowder was a delicious rendition of this tomato-based soup, but my husband’s oysters – six beauties on the half shell topped with chopped purple onion, sour cream and caviar – were positively sublime.

We then each had a house salad, which is included with dinner entrées.

For a main course, my husband again went with one of the day’s specials, the fresh cobia ($28.99), while I settled on an old favorite, Chuck’s “famous fried shrimp” ($18.99).

The cobia could well have been swimming earlier in the day, and was broiled perfection served with a very nice homemade pineapple and mango salsa.

Chuck’s “famous fried shrimp” – butterflied shrimp very lightly breaded – are generally as good as you are going to find anywhere, and this evening proved no exception.

On previous occasions, we have enjoyed the stuffed shrimp with crabmeat stuffing ($23.99), the plump and juicy broiled scallops ($22.99), and yellowfin tuna ($25.99). The dinners come with a choice of potatoes, rice or veggies (on this evening corn on the cob).

We decided on this visit to forego dessert — though at least one of us was sorely tempted by recollections of Chuck’s Key Lime pie.

Dinner for two with wine and before tip is likely to run in the $80 to $100 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 seafood, simply prepared, the food measures up to that in most white-table-cloth restaurants. And even with arrival of the dog days of summer, you won’t regret dining on Chuck’s veranda.

I welcome your comments, and encourage you to send feedback to me at tina@verobeach32963.com .

The reviewer dines anonymously at restaurants at the expense of Vero Beach 32963.

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