After our first review of Flying Iguana we got an invite from the restaurant to come back and give them a second shot. We always appreciate when restaurants invite us back because it shows a willingness to accept criticism and grow. Also, from time to time we’ve gone to a restaurant to write a review and just caught them on a bad day.
On our visit back to Flying Iguana the first thing we noticed was how delicious the verde salsa tasted. We mentioned it the first time but, again the salsas here are really good. The first item we tried was the Mayport shrimp bisque($7)-grilled corn, local heirloom tomatoes, arbol tomatillo salsa, sweet corn espuma. The first question I had after taking a bite was where’s the shrimp. There was not a single shrimp in this “Mayport shrimp” bisque. After searching the bowl for shrimp then searching for little pieces of shrimp then tasting it again for flavor of shrimp we still couldn’t figure out how this soup in any way exhibited Mayport shrimp. It didn’t remotely even taste like shrimp. So when the waitress asked if everything was ok, we asked if there was supposed to be shrimp in the soup. She responded that there are shrimp shells that are cooked down in it. If you order Mayport shrimp bisque from a restaurant menu you expect to find shrimp in it. We understand that a bisque is intended to be smooth. However, completely smooth shrimp bisques are normally garnished with shrimp. They might wanna rename this soup or at least make clear to people that they won’t find any shrimp in it.
The next thing we tried was Chicken n’ biscuits appetizer($7)- achiote marinated chicken wings, ancho BBQ sauce, buttermilk biscuits, local kumquat marmalade. The biscuits themselves were pretty good. They were topped with kumquat marmalade and BBQ sauce underneath. This combination was really good. We definitely enjoyed these. The wings were decent.
Since Flying Iguana is known for it’s tacos and we had such a mediocre experience with them last time we thought we’d give the tacos another shot and try a couple different ones this time. We tried the Carnitas taco($3.50)-slow roasted pulled pork, salsa verde, queso fresco, and cilantro. This was a solid carnita taco. If you’re into carnita tacos you’ll definitely enjoy it. The other taco we tried was the Crispy Pork Belly Taco($4.50)- rum n’ coke glaze, watermelon, cotija, pickled onions. This one is a home run! We loved it. The watermelon was the perfect pairing with the rum n’ coke glazed pork belly. Don’t miss this taco.
We got a chance to try two entrees. The first entree we tried was the red wine braised oxtails($23)- smashed sweet potato cake, cumin roasted baby carrots, chipotle crema, chimichurri. The oxtail was pretty good. It reminded me of a pot roast but fattier and with a lot more flavor.
The other entree we tried was the chimichurri skirt steak($17)-chargrilled with quinoa hash browns, salsa criolla, and sangria steak sauce. It was awesome! This steak was full of flavor. The quinoa hash brown it came with was different and a really nice and interesting complement. The criolla salsa added a nice balance to the flavors we really enjoyed. The service we received was really good. The waitress checked in with us regularly to make sure we didn’t need anything. She was pretty knowledgable about the menu and made good suggestions.
After our first visit we wouldn’t have recommended Flying Iguana. In fact, when asked we would normally tell people there are better options in Neptune Beach you should choose. After this return visit we’d be a lot more open to recommending Flying Iguana. The daily specials seem to be good and creative and the non-taco menu options were really good. Not only that but the couple of tacos we tried this time we pretty darn good too.
Note: On this return visit we were invited back to try Flying Iguana again. When we’re invited back the meal is normally comped as was this one. We see the restaurant’s A game when they know we’re coming so keep that in mind when reading the review.