I was officially introduced to the Lock 'N Key Restaurant in Englewood about a year ago. My first experience was so good that I was excited to go back and see if things had changed. Thankfully, I was just as impressed with the hospitality, the food portions and the quality, as the first time.
The greeting was just the kind I like, hugs rather than handshakes. This time I tried some of the new menu items like the Boom Boom Shrimp; lightly breaded and covered in a tangy, spicy secret sauce that owner Susan Atamanchuk admitted the staff had worked on perfecting for months. It was a heaping plate for $9.
The thick pieces of Calamari were lightly battered, not a hint of grease. The shrimp in the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail ($12) were twice the size of my thumb and tasted like they had just been caught. The Oysters Rockefeller ($12) were rich and flavorful.
I was most excited to try the new Shrimp Vera Cruz ($20), because of the sauce; sliced jalapeños, red onion, black olives, diced tomatoes, cilantro and garlic in a wine butter served over a bed of rice with some freshly steamed broccoli. I loved the heat from the jalapeños, the salt from the olives and you can never go wrong with garlic and cilantro, in my humble opinion. Great dish!
The other new menu item that I would recommend to any seafood lover is the Tuna San Juan ($23). It is a lightly blackened hunk of Tuna, pan seared and served over a cusabi sauce, then topped with a cucumber, tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil salsa.
Although seafood is the bomb at the Lock 'N Key, there are some great options for the meat and potato lover. We tried the Black & Bleu New York Strip ($24). It was devoured in minutes; a 14 ounce piece of meat blackened and pan seared, then topped with Bleu Cheese. The homemade desserts are famous locally. We split a piece of Peanut Butter Pie, it was like sharks going at a piece of bait. We couldn't get enough but didn't dare order more.
Go early for a great happy hour and "pull-tab" drink specials. Then walk across the street for a spectacular sunset on the beautiful white sand beach before returning for more food, fun and music. The Lock 'N Key is a hidden treasure for locals. It's worth discovering for the rest of Southwest Florida and the rest of the world when visiting the area. You will leave with a full belly, a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart.