The Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers have a reputation for fusing high-end shopping with equally impressive dining.
However, the options for grabbing some grub are slightly skewed during the daylight hours, and not everyone just finishing a round of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue has a Johnny Rockets-friendly palette.
For more refined tastes (and slightly bigger wallets), Blue Pointe Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill is an attractive option that rests on the east side of the mall, hidden behind a subtle, yet handsome façade.
The restaurant, which focuses on high quality fish and seafood, has something for virtually everyone and offers several different preparations of popular aquatic delicacies. Whether it's something from the raw bar, the catch of the day, or even a roll of sushi, Blue Pointe's menu is creatively assembled and covers a wide range of recipes.
Inside Blue Pointe the atmosphere is contemporary and inviting. The walls are colored in lush, cool tones, and although the dining room isn't huge, the seating doesn’t seem cramped – particularly in the booths – where the raised seat backs keep you from feeling like you're listening in on others' conversations or like the toddler at the next table is going to bop you with his spoon.
After sitting down, our server, Marti, approached the table and immediately lightened the mood with her outgoing and friendly attitude. Blue Pointe isn't a stuffy kind of place, but the wait staff is dressed nicely and really knows their stuff. Marti was a great example of both, especially considering that we were dining outside of regular lunch hours in the late in the afternoon.
Marti explained that all the seafood on the menu comes from Foley's in Boston, a reputable seafood distributor, but that it may have a slightly different than most local restaurants. Only because it's better, she assured us.
Marti was right.
To begin I ordered a Blue Pointe martini ($8.95), made with Absolut vanilla vodka, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice. It was a sound choice and refreshingly tasty. My friend ordered a glass of reisling ($6.25).
When I go out to eat, I love to have a good time. I love to spend money and try new things, and I always turn my gaze on a menu’s appetizer section. Blue Pointe has some nice selections to choose from, like calamari, coconut shrimp and crab and artichoke dip, but all of the starters were around or over ten bucks a pop. The price itself I didn’t mind, but we ordered the salt & pepper tuna (10.95), which, as delicious as it was, only came with a skimpy three slices of fish.
What we ordered for lunch, however, made up for it. I had the sautéed Maine scallops (13.95), served with mushrooms and asparagus. Scallops, when seasoned correctly bring a lot of natural flavor to the table, and sautéing them with sherry butter really set off the taste. My friend ordered North Atlantic salmon (13.95), which, as Marti said, provided a very full flavor. The soy-sherry sauce gave it a nice lift as well.
The entrees at Blue Point typically come with one side, usually potatoes or rice, and come with vegetables to accompany them, but one of the really interesting snacks was served before the meal: coleslaw. Rather than the mayonnaise-based cabbage mix most are accustomed to, this batch was mixed with bleu cheese, and was so good I had to concentrate on saving some for when the rest of my lunch arrived.
The menu also features sandwiches, as well as chicken and beef plates, and it is revised weekly. The “Fresh Catch” portion of the menu is also frequently adjusted and offered five different types of fish on my visit.
After lunch, we split a piece of key lime pie (4.95), which I found out is actually made in house. I have a soft spot in my belly for desserts, and that spot gets bigger and bigger with the more of them that I eat, but the pie was worth it.
Everything was excellent, and ordering entrees within the boundaries of $15 and under was easy. Blue Pointe does expand their menu for dinner – as well as the prices – but the quality of the food, service and atmosphere more than compensate and make the restaurant an attractive destination for a post shopping meal.
Want to go? Blue Pointe Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill at The Bell Tower Shops, 13499 Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers. 239.433.0924