Slick Lips previews tasty plates, divine drinks
Barbecue oysters appetizer
Crawfish beignet appetizer
Burnt ends appetizer
It's Always Sunny in Sandestin
Fried snapper Pontchartrain entree
Fried pork chop entree
Crab pesto pasta
Executive Chef Jay Ammons
By Michelle Farnham
Sept. 9, 2021
SANDESTIN – A new season calls for new flavors, and the crew at Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House is gearing up for fall in a big way.
Co-owner Bryce Jarvis welcomed a crowd of industry taste-testers to the Sip, Shuck and Savor menu tasting Sept. 8, explaining they were there to help shape the new menu, which should be available in about six to eight weeks.
Maggie White, community relationship ambassador for Slick Lips and sister restaurant Sunset Bay Cafe, kicked the night off with the first of her 10 selections from behind the bar. She said she’s trying out these new offerings to see what she wants to make a permanent part of the beverage menu.
“I tried to implement a lot of Florida spirits,” White explained as she poured samples of the Jai Alai IPA by Cigar City out of Tampa.
She had the cocktail shaker working overtime, mixing up the “Razzle Dazzle,” a gin and tonic featuring Old St. Pete, blueberry, and edible glitter. The “Slick Lips Hand-shaken Piña Colada” is deliciously creamy and served with an edible flower. Her strawberry daiquiri, affectionately named “Tuck’s,” included spiced rum for something a little different.
The “It’s Always Sunny in Sandestin” is White’s take on a Moscow Mule, this time done with blood orange and rimmed with Florida sugar. Another crowd favorite, the “Kiwi Go Again,” is her own strawberry-kiwi mojito.
When concocting “Maggie’s Margarita,” she elevated the classic drink by adding butterfly pea flower tea, which creates an intriguing blue layer floating on top.
“If you haven’t tried it yet, you should, quite frankly,” White quipped as she showed off the libation, poured in a lowball, finished with a tropical paper umbrella.
Those who enjoy a drier drink should look to the “My Paloma,” which combines pink grapefruit Fever-Tree soda and Black Sheep Tequila, served with a dehydrated dragonfruit garnish. The “Something About Miranda” mixes bubbles with the relaxing aroma of lavender, served with a rock candy swizzle stick.
The kitchen kept up with the drinks, giving guests a first look at seven new dishes from the recipe book of Executive Chef Jay Ammons.
“I was thinking of flavors from the South, something light, and something new!” explained Ammons.
He started the evening with his take on barbecued oysters, topped with New Orleans-style barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese and fresh-sliced jalapeño for some zing. He continued with appetizers including his crawfish beignet – served with a zesty remoulade; a fried green tomato crab cake with Creole sauce and feta cheese; and pork belly burnt ends glazed in a honey-sriracha-lime sauce.
“You’re going to get a lot of smokiness, a lot of depth in this dish,” Ammons said of the burnt ends.
Perhaps the stars of the night were his fried pork chop and fried snapper Pontchartrain entrees. The chop is plated with peach chutney and a sweet potato mash that earned literal applause from the crowd among comments like, “I don’t even like sweet potatoes, and those are delicious!” and “This is a home run!” The snapper is delightfully mild – not at all “fishy” – and expertly fried, served alongside smoked gouda-cheddar grits and collard greens.
“It comes with a Tasso shrimp cream sauce, and it’s really, really good to be brutally honest,” Ammons added with a smile.
The chef rounded out the night with a crab angel hair pasta dish, highlighted with house-made pesto – a good option for those looking for a lighter meal.
Ammons said his dishes will be available as nightly specials until the new menu officially debuts this fall.
Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House is located at 140 Fishermans Cove within the Village of Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, reach them online at www.slicklipsseafood.com or call 850-347-5060.
Photos by Michelle Farnham