Review: Marlins Brewhouse: The most interesting restaurant in Estero

Fort Myers restaurant reviews: The most interesting restaurant in Estero? Marlins Brewhouse


Jean Le Boeuf


JLEBOEUF@NEWS-PRESS.COM
Published 11:00 AM EST Jan 16, 2020

The bowl of ramen came on the same tray as my IPA. 

Painted in a dainty teal print, the bowl cradled a trove of add-ins, from the traditional (wavy wheat noodles, herbs, soft-boiled eggs, glistening hunks of chashu pork belly) to the wholly untraditional (braised collard greens, fat chicken wings).

A French press, the kind used for morning coffee, sat next to the dish, filled with a murky, mahogany-hued broth. Our server pushed the plunger, pressing the aromatic bits of onion and garlic to the bottom, clear of the spout. He poured the broth into my bowl, set my IPA at its side, then went back to his beer-toting duties, leaving me slack-jawed and frozen in awe. 

What the how?!

The French Pressed Ramen ($14) is a shockingly delicious stunner from Marlins Brewhouse in Estero. This fusion take is loaded with braised collards, noodles, soft-boiled eggs, chashu and four chewy-crisp chicken wings. It’s finished with a murky, rich broth that’s pressed and poured table-side. It’s possibly the last thing you’d expect from a taproom.
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I’d been to Marlins Brewhouse before. The original one in south Fort Myers and this new, 2-month-old one in Estero’s University Village south of FGCU. I’d eaten at the adjoining Caliburger. I’d snacked on massive, salt-strewn pretzels with pints of Palm City San Carlos Proper, watching the cars go by on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. 

But a fusion take on ramen, served table-side, that looked as stunningly good as this one?

I repeat: What the how?!

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It wasn’t just a pretty bowl of soup. It was a masterful one: the noodles lithe and springy, the sunny egg and soulful broth, the complex spice of the collards, the chashu pork with its tantalizingly wobbly chew. 

Two bites in, I grabbed the Marlins menu and pored over it with forensic precision. Dishes I’d overlooked before jumped out now, one after the next: a cauliflower Caesar salad with tapenade and Parmesan crisps; a hot pot loaded with diver scallops, Gulf shrimp and Antarctic salmon in buttered dashi; thick-cut, fried-to-order potato chips dusted in house barbecue seasoning. 

Marlins’ Wild Fried Shrimp Platter ($17) includes fried Gulf shrimp and pickles, a loaded twice-baked potato, braised collards and a duet of dipping sauces.
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I’d been going about this taproom all wrong. Marlins Brewhouse might be the most interesting new restaurant in Estero. 

And all the credit goes to executive chef Noel Willhite (with a nod to Marlins’ owners Tim Frederic and Jeff Burns, who had the smarts to hire him). 

Willhite got his start locally as the garde manger at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point. His resume includes stints at the former Spago in Chicago and Las Vegas’s Tao — which explains his love for ramen and hot pot, and his knack for the tomato sauces that underlie some of Marlins other great dishes. 

Like its bistro steak frites. 

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Willhite takes a 10-ounce hangar steak, sears it till juicy, then teams it with charred cauliflower florets and thinly shaved pommes frites atop a tomato-cream sauce deepened by a touch of sherry. It is steak frites as I’ve never known steak frites. And yet, I loved it. Almost as much as I loved Willhite’s blue-cheese laced Buffalo chicken dip, his pimiento-cheese pretzel bones, his behemoth tray of beer-battered Gulf shrimp and pickles.

The bistro steak frites ($22) from Marlins includes a 10-ounce hangar steak, charred florets of cauliflower, and thinly shaved pommes frites atop a sherry-tomato cream sauce.
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This Deep South mashup was brilliant: the curls of shrimp, pink and briny-sweet; the pickles, tangy, bright, almost palate-cleansing. There were more collards, still spicy, still tender. Plus a twice-baked potato and two cups of house-crafted dipping sauces. It was an actual smorgasbord. All for $17. 

The true genius of Willhite’s Marlins work is its accessibility. It is, in essence, elevated beer food sold at beer-friendly prices. It’s food that tastes good with fruity daiquiris and honey-tinged hefeweizens. It’s food that begs to be shared. 

It’s food that’s fun.

Even when the server spilled a quarter of my beer across the table, giggled, then walked off one night. Even when I was left waiting (and. waiting.) for the check another. 

The fun of this menu overrides things like that. And really, how often do I get to call a place fun? Fancy restaurants are a dime a dozen, as are tasty dishes and classically trained chefs. But fun — as in taproom-french-pressed-chicken-wing-ramen fun — is rare.

Unless you’re at Marlins Brewhouse. 

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MORE: I am proud to be Jean Le Boeuf (I just can’t tell you who I am)

Jean Le Boeuf is the pseudonym used by a local food lover who dines at restaurants anonymously and without warning, with meals paid for by The News-Press and Naples Daily News. Follow the critic at facebook.com/jeanleboeufswfl or @JeanLeBoeuf on Twitter and Instagram.

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Marlins Brewhouse Estero

University Village, 19800 Village Center Drive No. 235, Estero

JLB’s stars AREN’T like Yelp stars, here’s why… 

• Call: 239-790-6573

• Web: facebook.com/marlinsbrewuniversityvillage

• Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday to Tuesday, 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday to Saturday

• Noise level: Conversationally loud to just plain loud

• Etc.: Full bar, outdoor seating, live music on weekends

• Everything pretzel, $11

• Pineapple-salmon lettuce wraps, $12

• Lobster shrimp mac, $15

• Bistro steak frites, $22

What the symbols mean

★ – Fair

$ – Average entree is under $10

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Whakaari/White Island: Official death toll rises to 17 | Stuff.co.nz

The official death toll from the Whakaari/White Island eruption has risen to 17 after a victim died in hospital on Sunday.

Deputy Commissioner John Tims confirmed the death on Monday morning.

He said the person died while in Middlemore Hospital on Sunday night, with police being advised shortly before 11pm.

The person’s death brings the official number of deceased to 17. Of the deaths, 16 died in New Zealand and one in Australia.

Whakaari/White Island erupted at 2.11pm on December 9.

The official toll, from the December 9 eruption, does not include two people still missing, presumed dead, in the waters around the island.

They are Kiwi tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian teenager Winona Langford, 17.

Marshall-Inman was farewelled in a memorial in Whakatāne on Friday where he was remembered as a “superman”, a “hero” and, now, a “guardian of Whakaari”.

The search for the two missing was scaled back late last week when Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement admitted they’d so far been unsuccessful in their search.

The search was now being handled by Bay of Plenty police.

District commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said an extensive aerial search for further victims of the Whakaari/White Island eruption between the island and the mainland was conducted by Coastguard and police over the weekend.

No further items of significance were located, he said in a statement on Monday.

Police will review the search area to date and make a decision on further search activity, he said.

In a press conference on Thursday Clement described how much it hurt his staff that they hadn’t been able to return them.

COMPOSITE: SUPPLIED
The official toll does not include Winona Langford and Hayden Marshall-Inman who are still missing, presumed dead, in the waters around the island.

They are Kiwi tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian tennager Winona Langford, 17.

“It hurts us and it hurts our people,” he said.

He also revealed that police divers at one stage were “within metres” of recovering Marshall-Inman’s body when it was believed to have been sighted in the water near Whakaari’s jetty on December 11.

“The reality was the conditions of the ocean meant they could not get close,” Clement said.

“The people on that day have thought long and hard about that. It’s what they come here to do. They’re disappointed. They backed themselves to retrieve a body and they missed out.”

Last week, Middlemore Hospital announced that more than 600 elective surgeries were set to be delayed as they dealt with the eruption’s aftermath.

WHAKATANE BEACON
Hayden Marshall-Inman’s brother, Mark Inman, spoke during Friday’s memorial.

In the first week following the eruption, the National Burns Service – hosted by south Auckland’s Middlemore, but including centres at Waikato, Hutt Valley and Christchurch hospitals – saw more burns than it typically would in a year.

On Friday John Cartwright, incident controller of Counties Manukau DHB’s incident management team, said the extent of burns the Whakaari patients experienced required many operating theatre hours, on multiple days, by large surgical and anaesthetic teams.

The nature of the burns suffered was complicated by the gasses and chemicals present in the eruption. That meant surgeries had to be carried out more rapidly than was the case for “thermal only” burns.

Waikato Hospital took in the largest load of patients, eight critically injured, on the evening of the disaster.

Last week trauma director Grant Christey said it appeared as masks protected the lungs of people caught in the eruption.

“We thought there would be a lot more lung injuries, as well, from inhalation,” Christey said.

“What we learned later, from the people who went out there, was most of [the tourists] had gas masks on,” he said. They put their gas masks firmly on their faces and closed their eyes and tried to get through it.”

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Pictured: Parents accused of keeping their five-year-old son in cage before scalding him to death | Daily Mail Online

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The parents accused of keeping their son in a cat cage before scalding him to death have been pictured – as they refuse to take the stand in a murder trial.

Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, both 27, have been accused of abusing their son at the family home in Singapore three years ago.

The trial, which began on November 12, heard how their five-year-old son had died  in October 2016 after being scalded by 198F (92C) water which had caused burns to 75 per cent of his body.

Azlin Arujunah (right) and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman (left), both 27, have been accused of abusing their son at the family home in Singapore three years ago

High Court judge Valerie Thean today called for the couple to testify but both have said that they ‘do not wish’ to do so.

Rahman’s lawyer, Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, said that ‘there are reasons why people take the stand or not’ and branded it as a ‘strategic decision’. 

The Deputy Public Prosecutor said: ‘If they choose to take this course, they have to lie where they make their bed,’ according to the Straits Times.

The pair had previously admitted acts of abuse in numerous police statements.

The cat cage that Arujunah and Rahman are accused of keeping their five-year-old son in before his death in October 2016 

The only witnesses for the defence will now be their respective psychologists.

Dr Jacob Rajesh, Arujunah’s psychologist, created a report on how she was suffering from an adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

And Dr Ken Ung diagnosed Rahman with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hypnotic use disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.

The case is currently being heard at Singapore’s High Court.

On the first day of the trial the court heard how the five-year-old was kept in a cat cage and tortured with heated spoons and pliers for months before he died. 

His death was caused by blows to the head and a deluge of 198F water poured over his back and calves, prosecutors said. 

Pictures of the boy’s injuries were shown on a screen in court.

He had a fracture to his nose and bruising on his limbs, scalp and lips as well as his gums being torn, the pathologist said.

High Court judge Valerie Thean at Singapore’s High Court (pictured) today called for the couple to testify but both have said that they ‘do not wish’ to do so

The child, who has not been named due to a court order, died just a day after he was admitted to hospital. 

A foster family had taken the boy in shortly after his birth in 2011 but he later returned to his biological parents in 2015.  

Singapore’s legal system maintains a mandatory death penalty for a number of offences including murder. 

If found guilty, Arujunah and Rahman could be executed at the gallows in Changi prison.  

Both defendants deny murder and the trial continues. 

Pictured: Parents accused of keeping their five-year-old son in cage before scalding him to death

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Facing ‘certain death’, boy in US with vaping injury gets double lung transplant, United States News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

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NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – A 17-year-old boy whose lungs were irreversibly damaged by vaping received a double-lung transplant at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a life-saving measure taken when a patient’s own lungs are diseased or damaged beyond repair and there is no other hope of survival, doctors said on Tuesday (Nov 12).

Without the transplant, performed last month, the patient “would have faced certain death”, Dr Hassan Nemeh, who led the surgical team, said during a news conference at the hospital.

The patient’s lungs were scarred, stiffened, pocked with dead spots and extremely inflamed, he said.

On a CT scan before the surgery, the patient’s chest appeared almost empty, as if the lungs had vanished. Normal lungs look dark on imaging because they are full of air; the patient’s were not visible because they were not working. There was no air.

“What I saw in his lungs is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” Dr Nemeh said. He added, “This is an evil I haven’t faced before.”

The patient is recovering well and is up and about now, but still in the hospital. His name is being withheld to protect his privacy, but he and his family wanted to release information about his case in the hope that it might persuade other people to quit vaping or never start, hospital officials said.

A doctor at the briefing read a statement from the family, which said, in part: “We asked Henry Ford doctors to share that the horrific life-threatening effects of vaping are very real! Our family could never have imagined being at the centre of the largest adolescent public health crisis to face our country in decades.

“Within a very short period of time, our lives have been forever changed. He has gone from the typical life of a perfectly healthy 16-year-old athlete – attending high school, hanging out with friends, sailing and playing video games – to waking up intubated and with two new lungs, facing a long and painful recovery process as he struggles to regain his strength and mobility, which has been severely impacted.”

The doctors declined to say what products the patient had been vaping, how long he had been doing it or how often.

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About 86 per cent of the patients with lung injuries in this outbreak had vaped THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high.

The case is the first transplant reported in the nationwide outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries, and it highlights the severity of an illness that, as of Nov 5, had sickened 2,051 people and killed 40.

Researchers have described the lung damage from vaping as chemical burns, similar to the injuries in people who have inhaled toxic fumes in industrial accidents, or in soldiers attacked with mustard gas in World War I.

The patient was first admitted to a different hospital on Sept 6 with what was thought to be pneumonia. His condition worsened and he was placed on a ventilator on Sept 12. He continued to deteriorate.

On Sept 17, he was transferred to a second hospital, where he was connected to a machine that delivers oxygen directly to the bloodstream.

His health continued to decline, and in early October, he was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital, where he was put on the waiting list for a lung transplant. A national organisation sets the criteria for eligibility, not individual hospitals. Several factors quickly pushed him to the to top of the list, Dr Nemeh said: He was a child, the lung damage was irreversible and he would die without the transplant.

The surgery was performed on Oct 15. The doctors said they could not reveal any information about the source except to say that the donor had been healthy.

Health officials investigating the outbreak described a major advance last week: Researchers found a “very strong culprit”, a form of vitamin E, in the lungs of patients who had the vaping illness. The substance, vitamin E acetate, is sometimes used by illicit sellers to “cut” or dilute THC and increase profits.

Finding the chemical in the lungs meshed with earlier investigations that had already found it in vaping products.

The vitamin compound is thick and sticky. Precisely how it might damage the lungs is not yet known, and health authorities say it is still possible that other chemicals added to vaping fluids may also contribute to lung disease.

The doctors in Detroit did not say whether vitamin E acetate had been found in the patient’s lungs.

“We’re going to see more of this,” said Dr Mangala Narasimhan, a lung specialist at Long Island Jewish Medical Centre and Northwell Health’s regional director of critical care, who has treated several severe cases of the illness.

“We definitely see some patients who have such severe lung damage, we are thinking that some of it might not be completely reversible.”

None of her patients have needed transplants. In general, lungs for transplantation are difficult to obtain, she said.

“A huge number of patients die waiting.”

About 2,500 lung transplants were performed in the US in 2018, compared with more than 21,000 kidney transplants.

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Fire rips through pensioner’s house and burns it to the ground – with three beloved dogs still inside – Lincolnshire Live

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A pensioner has been left with just ‘the clothes on his back’ after the uninsured home he built with his own hands was burned to the ground – destroying everything he owned and burning three beloved dogs alive.

Grandad Shaun Maguire, from Boston, built his three-bedroom lodge by himself ten years ago after being forced to retire due to a heart attack.

He had spent his entire life savings on the building but was unable to insure it as it was made from wood.

When he returned home on Sunday, he discovered that it had burned down completely. Not only that, but his best friend, his pet Labrador Molly, had also died in the blaze – which had been caused by a faulty fridge freezer.

All

To make matters worse, his son Jake’s dogs French bulldog Millie, two, and pug-beagle cross Bertie, four, also died in the fire along with Shaun’s pet parrot Red.

Shaun said: “It was my forever home – just for me and the dog.

“I lost everything in the fire, including all my clothes.

“I always dreamt of living in the countryside in a nice log cabin and I thought before I got any older, because my health was going, I’d have to do it then.

“My main concern was getting the dog out. My son and his wife were down for the weekend with their two dogs too.

amazing

“We’d nipped to the next village to a steam fair and it was too hot for the dogs, so we left them in there.

“As soon as we saw the fire we rushed in there, tried to get into the property, threw a big rock through the patio window but we couldn’t get in there because of the flames and smoke.

“The firefighters said the smoke would have got to them before anything else and they were found in the sleeping position.

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Since the blaze, the local community have rallied round Shaun and donated clothes, bedding and money to help him get back on his feet.

By aiming to raise £20,000 with their JustGiving page, they plan on buying tools and skips to empty the land then rebuild the home.

Shaun said: “It’s amazing what people do in a crisis. It’s so nice of them.

Boston

“The community have been absolutely amazing with their support.

“We’ve had a skip company donate skips for the weekend, a bathroom company called to say I can pick whatever I like, companies saying they’ll decorate, rewire, fit with CCTV and alarms when we rebuild.

“People have been out spending their hard earned cash to buy me clothes and bedding.

“Someone has even donated a caravan for me so I can live onsite near my dog.

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The dogs had been left inside as it was a warm day. Jake and Shaun were horrified to return to the lodge and discover that the animals were still inside.

Jake desperately tried to run into the house but was pushed back by the ferocious fire.

When the fire was extinguished, firefighters broke the news that all four animals had passed away – with the dogs being found in their beds in a sleeping position.

Jake, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: “When we drove back, we saw the smoke in the sky from the next village and thought ‘bloody hell. Someone’s got a fire going again’.

burns

“As we pulled down the road, we saw the fire engines outside the house. We rushed down to find the house well ablaze.

“We’d left the dogs at home and when we got back, there was nothing we could do. We lost all three of them. My dad also had a parrot and unfortunately that didn’t survive.

“When we left, my dad just had the clothes on his back. He lost everything in the fire.

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Jake continued: “We’ve set up the fundraiser to pay for the house to be demolished and removed.

Cash

“We had a quote for someone to remove it but it was quite a lot, so I said if I get my friends round we can all get in there with saws, wheelbarrows and shovels.

“I’m sure whatever is left we can hire a skip and get it all gone. We’ve got no money to hire skips and tools at the moment.

“On Saturday morning we’ve got friends, family and locals of the community coming together. Many hands make light work.

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You can donate to the cause through Facebook Fundraisers by clicking here.

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