By Laura Holloway
May 24, 2022
WATERCOLOR – Traditionally, a “fish out of water” describes someone found out of their element, but Fish Out of Water – also known as FOOW – is a palatable taste experience created by a kitchen staff found entirely in their element. Perhaps more of an homage to the restaurant’s commitment to seafood plucked fresh out of the water, the eatery’s name is topping everyone’s list of “must-eat” places on 30A.
Located at the WaterColor Inn, a St. Joe Hospitality property, Fish Out of Water offers sweeping views of the Gulf, and whether dining with family on vacation, celebrating a night out with friends, or enjoying the romantic gulf breezes with a special date, the restaurant offers just the right atmosphere for a memorable dining experience. And the menu, which features brunch, mid-day fare, and dinner, offers creative twists on coastal favorites, living up to its promise of “authentic cuisine and impeccable flavors.”
Chef Wichuta Theamsuwan, or “Chef Jules,” leads the culinary charge as Fish Out of Water’s kitchen manager. Described by those who know her as a “passionate leader who works hard and expects the best,” Chef Jules works diligently to create a fresh, savory menu and maintain a hard-working, talented kitchen team. The plates traveling from kitchen to table at the restaurant are not only exquisite in taste, but beautiful in presentation.
Chef Jules said the best compliment she’s ever been paid about her food was, “Ooh! Looks so nice! Tastes so good!”
“I believe that we taste first with our eyes, and then with our mouths. So I want the experience to start even before your first bite or even before you smell the dish being served,” she said. “I make sure that my dishes reach our diners looking fantastic, and it is absolutely essential that they taste just as good as they look.”
She chooses salt, herbs, and butter most in flavoring the food, and said, “At Fish Out of Water, we’re able to source such fresh seafood that it doesn’t require a lot more than that. We like to let the ingredients speak for themselves.”
Kristy McKinney, director of restaurants for St. Joe Hospitality, agrees that the freshness of the food is the most important aspect of the menu.
“Our restaurant is situated directly on the Gulf of Mexico, with views of the water, and people want to taste that experience as well as see it. We have fresh seafood delivered to our kitchen every day at Fish Out of Water, and we serve it in a way that lets the natural flavors shine. I like to say that with fresh seafood you don’t have to do a lot to make it taste wonderful, but if it’s not fresh, there’s nothing you can do to save it. So, we would only serve our guests fresh seafood. If we can’t get it fresh, it’s not on the menu.”
Brunch is served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and features such savory excursions as a Benedict (with a house-made English Muffin, poached egg, and hollandaise, and served with bacon, ham, or sausage and breakfast potatoes), citrus and herb cured salmon (on toasted sourdough with a boiled egg, capers, pickled red onions, roe, and Crème Fraiche), and the FOOWly Loaded BLT, made on toasted sourdough with smoked turkey breast, avocado spread, Cajun aioli, applewood bacon, vine tomato, and farm greens.
A midday menu takes over from 2 to 4 p.m. for Happy Hour and offers Smoked Gulf Coast Fish Dip (with green tomato jalapeño chow-chow, and house-made salt crackers), a Shrimp Salad Roll (on brioche with farm greens, pickled red onion, and tarragon mayonnaise), and a selection of specialty cocktails like the Horsefeather, made with Benchmark Bourbon, lime, ginger beer, Peychaud, and Angostura.
FOOW does not accept reservations and encourages diners to dress casually. The restaurant is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and to-go orders may be placed online for curbside pickup. Large groups and families are easily accommodated, and a children’s menu is offered for younger diners. Fish Out of Water is located at 34 Goldenrod Circle and can be reached by calling 850-534-5050 or by visiting www.foow30a.com.