Food

Captain Jim’s is back with new ownership. And it’s a name you know

Shrimp and grits at Captain Jim’s seafood market and restaurant
Shrimp and grits at Captain Jim’s seafood market and restaurant Linda Bladholm

Loved Captain Jim’s and have missed it? Now it is back under new ownership, serving fresh seafood off boats operating in the Keys.

Customers can be relieved that this spot, beloved by locals, is the same after an extensive revitalization. Dine in or pick up a whole snapper or Key West pink shrimp displayed on ice to cook at home. Owner David Garcia also runs the iconic La Camaronera, in his family since 1976, and grew up peeling and deveining shrimp at the Garcia’s seafood market on the Miami river.

He also manages Garcia’s Seafood Grill, owned by his cousins. Both his grandfather, father and ten uncles were fishermen in Cardenas, Cuba, a maritime port on the northern coast of the island. Seafood is in his blood.

Start With These Dishes

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Linda Bladholm Linda Bladholm

Since it is still stone crab season, get an order of cracked claws with mustard-mayo sauce. A medium-size order brings seven, large five and jumbo, when they have them, three. They’re served with forks to dig out the sweet meat.

Jim’s is known for conch imported from the Bahamas, so try the fried cracked conch or crisp conch fritters filled with bits of mollusk. There’s also conch chowder and conch salad in citrus juice with tiny bits of bell pepper. Daily chef specials are often Caribbean fish soup, fried lobster mac and cheese or shrimp empanadas.

Share These Dishes

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Linda Bladholm Linda Bladholm

House specialties can be passed around. Try the shrimp and grits, swimming in cream sauce. It’s seasoned with blackening spices, scallions and bits of bacon.

Fillets of yellowtail or hog snapper and Florida lobster can be had blackened, grilled or fried as can the Captain’s Combo with a catch of the day (often grouper), conch and gulf shrimp. Share the puttanesca with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp in tomato sauce with basil, garlic, capers and black olives over linguine.

Many make meals out of the sandwiches — try fried grouper or lump crab cake. Fish tacos are catch of the day in soft flour tortillas with cilantro-lime slaw. Corvina francais brings a fillet of the sea bass dusted in flour, dipped in egg wash and cooked in lemon sauce. Sides include hush puppies, fried okra, tostones, red beans and rice and creamed spinach.

The FDA has a few tips for buying seafood and making sure it's safe to eat. Fish and shellfish can be dangerous and lead to deadly illness if they're not prepared properly.

Save Room For Dessert

Get Fireman Derek’s Key lime pie (Garcia was the first restaurateur to put the pie on his menu at La Camaronera) or the house-made warm bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. If Derek’s guava coconut rum cake is a special, be sure to pair a thick sweet slice with Cuban coffee.

Contact Linda Bladholm at lindabladholmlola75@gmail.com. Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade County. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review.

Captain Jim’s Seafood Market & Restaurant

Address: 12950 W Dixie Highway, North Miami

Contact: 305-892-2812, captainjimsmiami.com

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Prices: Appetizers $6-$15, soups/salads $5-$8, entrees $14-$25, desserts $6-$7

F.Y.I. Beer and wine available, free parking

Dr. Theresa Bert explains during a “dock talk” at the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival how stone crabs, a local delicacy, have sex. She said the partners both need claws to cradle one another before they link together to reproduce. A female crab

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