May 8, 2020
By Pam Windsor
ROSEMARY BEACH – With an exceptional menu prepared by noted Chef Ken Duenas and a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico, Pescado Seafood Grill & Rooftop Bar offers a dining experience like no other.
The Rosemary Beach restaurant welcomes a dinner crowd of 18 and older with seafood entrees (Pescado is the Spanish word for fish), as well as a wide variety of other unique dishes. Duenas – who is also one of the restaurant’s owners – grew up learning to cook from his grandmother, then expanded his skills by working in kitchens all over the world. He enjoys creating new and exciting entrees for daily and weekly specials, but also keeps “guest favorites” on the menu year-round. One of the most popular is his Whole Cantonese Lobster.
“It’s a 2.5-, 3-pound Maine lobster deep-fried and served with Yakisoba noodles and Asian vegetables,” he explained. “It’s one of our best-selling shareables.”
His Chef’s Feast also has guests coming back again and again.
“This comes from something my grandmother cooked when I was a kid,” he recalled. “It’s four or five dinners combined into one. You start with red rice underneath, then whole-grilled fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, shrimp fritters, Chorizo sausage.”
In addition to those shareable dishes for the table, his menu offers a wide range of individual options.
“We also have small plates. I try to keep everything on the menu from lamb to short ribs to pork belly to scallops, octopus, and more,” he said.
Duenas works closely with Sommelier Doruk Gurunlu to pair each dish with the perfect wine. Pescado is the only restaurant in the area with a full-time sommelier. This allows guests to consult with an expert on what to drink with dinner.
“I’ll make a dish and Doruk makes suggestions at the table,” he explained. “For example, a lot of Asian food goes better with sweeter wine and a lot of people don’t understand that. They’ll try the sweeter wine with the food and find they complement each other very well.”
Gurunlu travels all over the U.S. and to France, Spain, and elsewhere to seek out new wines and add to Pescado’s extensive wine list.
“Most people tend to drink American wines,” Gurunlu said. “They like them and are often more familiar with them. I enjoy traveling to the different wine regions and getting the chance to bring back and introduce European wines here.”
He also creates wine flights to try with some of the restaurant’s specialty desserts. Pescado goes beyond what most restaurants offer when it comes to pairing wine with dessert, adding yet another level to making sure guests have a unique dining experience.
“If I can make someone’s night memorable, that’s a good night,” Gurunlu said.
Making sure each guest has a memorable dining experience is a top priority for everyone at Pescado. Duenas also checks in with guests at the table to make sure they’re enjoying themselves.
“From the minute you get off the elevator and see that view, we want you to enjoy the experience. Then when you sit down and start drinking and having a good time with your friends and family, then begin eating, we want the experience to get better and better,” he said.
While Pescado caters to the over-18 crowd for dinner, it does welcome people of all ages for Sunday brunch. Those hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-round. And while the Raw Bar is also available during dinner, on Sundays, guests can enjoy it from 1 to 4 p.m. (between brunch and dinner).
Pescado is located at 74 Town Hall Road, Suite 4B, Rosemary Beach. During the season, the restaurant is open daily from 4 to 10:30 p.m.; the bar is open daily from 4 to 11 p.m. (11:30 on Friday and Saturday). Reach them by phone at 850-213-4600 or call 850-250-3806 to make reservations – which are highly recommended. Pescado is online at www.rooftop30a.com.