Why We Love It: Like Chef Keith Casey’s original Naples’ darling, this new Estero spinoff carves out a soothing space for sampling his exacting taste wonders that fuse fresh ingredients with global technique. The “fine” is in the details at the new KC American Bistro: spot-on service, sultry music, crusty chunks of bread with crocks of sweet-garlicky butter, a boutique selection of carefully curated wines including several sparkling wines—three of them available by the glass.
Ideal Meal: Start with a tantalizing libation off the craft cocktail menu. It spins classics into fresh interpretations such as the pomegranate cosmopolitan and blackberry old fashioned, the latter brightened with muddled fruit. For a starter, the Watermelon Salad foretells an agility for bringing out the best of seasonal ingredients. House-made burrata cheese, pickled red onion and cucumber, colorful microgreens, wild blueberry coulis and balsamic syrup add layers of dimension and a medley of salty and tart notes to counterpoint the sweetness from the cubes of melon. In one of the 11 entrée offerings, the chef pairs elegant coffee-rubbed sea scallops, seared to a caramelized crust and perfect translucent center, with a rustic braised cannellini bean ragout turned salty and smoky with applewood smoked bacon. A side of garlic spinach completes the artfully composed dish. The limoncello mascarpone cake makes a novel and delightful finish to the meal.
Vibe: Almost space-age in its contemporary design—orbits of light circling above, other drop lighting bubbly, shiny and reflective around the display kitchen—KC American Bistro outshines the more student-geared restaurants at University Village. Tablecloths and goblets, dark wood slat-back chairs and servers in black uniforms elevate the experience, yet patrons dress casually. All in all, KC creates a gracious setting for impressing clients.
19810 Village Center Drive No. 145A, Estero (239) 237-2133, www.kcamericanbistro.com.