When you’re as near the sea as we are, you’re bound to find a favorite seafood spot. You may return for the setting, the service, or perhaps the amazing sauce you can’t quite replicate at home. Well, we’ve done some investigative work for you this issue – and returned with recipes for some of the best featured dishes at several local seafood restaurants.
We can’t say how we procured these recipes – so, shhhh. Let’s keep them in the family, please!
(PHOTO: Pan Roasted Grouper, shared by 15th Street Fisheries Chef Lenny Judice).
By Rebecca Cahilly
Iconic Seafood Joints
You know about iconic seafood houses – the kind we look forward to sharing with our out-of-town guests. The waterfront 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale is one. Established in 1978, 15th Street Fisheries has consistently ranked as one of the best seafood restaurants in South Florida, even receiving a nod from the Sun Sentinel in 2013 as the “Best Restaurant to Take Your Parents.” Whether you’re looking for a frosty cocktail to sip while you nibble on gator tail and watch the world go by, or you’re in the mood to enjoy an upscale dinner in a charming seafood house atmosphere, you’ll find both here. Go for the fish dip, stay for the view; go early to feed the tarpon.
Nearby are two additional institutions: the waterfront Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill, known for its Bimini bread and happening atmosphere; and Kelly’s Landing, serving New England clam chowder for over 30 years, at the hands of Bostonian owners who know how to do “chowda” right!
You can’t visit South Florida – or live here for that matter – without indulging at least once a year in the plump, juicy meat of the stone crab claw. Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach keeps this delicacy on the map nationwide, and Joe’s former son-in-law, Billy, follows suit with Billy’s Stone Crab in Hollywood. Situated on the Intracoastal Waterway, Billy’s Stone Crab is not only famous for tasty stone crab claws and housemade tangy dipping sauce, but for its ambience, mouthwatering seafood dishes and in-house market purveying the freshest, locally sourced seafood.
Further north along the Intracoastal, Blue Moon Fish Company in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has been delighting locals and vacationers for nearly two decades. Not only will you find a terrific waterfront deck and beautiful interior options for seating, Blue Moon Fish Company boasts the freshest seafood dishes crafted by acclaimed chef/owners Baron Skorish and Bryce Statham. Don’t miss the firecracker oysters.
Sunfish Grill on Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale opened around the same time as Blue Moon Fish Company and has remained a go-to restaurant for locally sourced and beautifully prepared seafood dishes. The family owned Sunfish Grill remains one our favorite date-night spots and is always among our recommendation for out-of-town guests. We never miss the Asian pear salad and the pan-seared diver scallops topped with lobster spaetzle and English peas in a beurre blanc sauce. “Naked Fish” is a specialty – your choice of seafood served pan seared, baked or grilled; while the desserts are the exquisite creations of general manager and pastry chef Erika DiBattista.
PAN ROASTED GROUPER
Shared by 15th Street Fisheries’ Chef Lenny Judice
Ingredients (serves 2)
2 pieces 6-7 oz. fresh grouper
1-2 pieces shallots
6 oz. Sherry wine (3 oz. for fish; 3 oz. for quinoa)
4 oz. mixed wild mushrooms (15th Street Fisheries uses wild mushrooms from the Northwest, but any mix can be used)
4 oz. baby clam meat and juice
2-3 oz. each or 5-6 of one type red and yellow quinoa (partly cooked; use package instructions)
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 oz. butter
salt and pepper
Preparation: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Season fish. Place some oil in a hot pan and add fish, sear until golden brown. Flip fish and add 3 oz. of wine, then place in oven until tender (about 15 minutes). While fish is cooking, add shallots and garlic to another hot pan and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add wine and reduce to allow the alcohol to cook out of the mix. Add clams, clam juice and quinoa until all ingredients are hot. Fold in some butter and season to taste. Place quinoa mixture on plate and allow some of the pan sauce to run on plate. Place grouper on top and garnish with sliced scallion to add green color and fresh flavor.
New restaurants come and go, but when you have seafood in mind, we happily recommend these seafood-focused restaurants that are either new themselves or have recently welcomed a new chef or new menu – and are definitely worth the re-visit. Executive Chef Paula DaSilva’s arrival at 3030 Ocean at The Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa caused a sensation, and her new menu has followed suit. While 3030 Ocean has long enjoyed a reputation for its exceptional seafood menu and elegant seaside setting, DaSilva has infused new life into the menu, bringing her signature rustic farm-to-table style to dishes from land, sea and air.
Coconuts on the water has always featured a great view but has refined its menu to double the value. Don’t miss the famous blue crab scoobies appetizer.
Boasting seafood so fresh it’s “from the sea to your plate within 48 hours,” Lobster Bar Sea Grille on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale is settling in to begin what will undoubtedly become an iconic journey. The sister restaurant to the seven-year-old Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Lobster Bar Sea Grille features a raw bar, five-star service and magnificent décor among the many reasons to add this one to your list.
Heading to the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek? After playing the slots, step into NYY Steak for the Colossal BBQ Shrimp appetizer.
For a romantic seafood dinner in an intimate atmosphere, check out three-year-old SEA on Commercial Boulevard in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, where Chef Tony Sindaco (formerly of Sunfish Grill) offers a delightfully fresh menu that changes twice a week.
If you love sushi, heck even if you’ve never heard of sushi, run – don’t walk – to Sushigo in Boca Raton. Sushigo serves the best signature rolls this side of Nobu, and we can say that because owner/chef Joe worked alongside Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa at Nobu Miami before opening Sushigo in 2013.
Sautéed Maine Scallops, Parsnip Purée, Corn Succotash, Homestead Carambola Sauce
Shared by 3030 Ocean’s Executive Chef Paula DaSilva
Ingredients (serves 6)
18 each U-10 scallops
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Scallop preparation: Rinse scallops under cold water, remove the muscle on the side and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat cast-iron pan until nearly smoking hot, add the oil and gently put the scallops in the pan. When golden brown, turn the scallop over and finish cooking in a 400-degree oven for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve until time to plate.
3 each parsnips
2 cups water
2 cups heavy cream
1 bunch thyme
Preparation: Peel and cut the parsnips into thirds. Place in a pot and cover with the water and cream. Add the thyme and halved lemon. Cook until tender and drain. Transfer into a blender, add butter, cream and season with salt. Purée until very smooth and pass through a chinois.
2 each corn
½ cup fava beans
½ cup English peas
½ cup lima beans
1 bunch chives (cut very small)
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
Preparation: Cut the corn off the cob. Peel and thinly slice the carrots. In a pot of boiling water, blanch separately the fava beans, English peas and lima beans until they are tender. Remove the outer layer of the fava and lima beans. Heat up a sauté pan, add the oil, corn and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the beans and peas. Toss and finish seasoning with the chives, salt and pepper.
Homestead Carambola Sauce
3 each carambola
1 bottle white wine
1 cup sugar
1 each vanilla bean (halved and seeded)
1 cup butter
Preparation: Slice the carambola thinly so they look like a star. Put them in a pot with the vanilla beans, sugar and wine. Cook them down on low heat for about 3 hours or until they are tender and wine has reduced by one-third. When ready to serve, add the butter slowly while whisking it. Finish with a squeeze of lime and salt.
Colossal Stuffed BBQ Shrimp
Shared by NYY Steak’s Executive Chef Matt Sadowski
Housemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce
8 oz. onion, fine dice
1 oz. garlic, chopped
1 fl oz. vegetable oil
6 fl oz. bourbon
6 fl oz. red wine vinegar
1 oz. brown sugar
2 fl oz. honey
8 fl oz. beef stock
10 oz. ketchup
1 oz. salt
1 oz. pepper
.5 oz. cayenne pepper
Preparation: Cook the onion and garlic in vegetable oil until tender. Add the bourbon and let reduce. Combine all remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.
5 colossal shrimp
1 oz. pepper jack cheese
5 strips raw bacon
Preparation: Peel and devein 5 colossal shrimp. Make a deep cut in the back center of the shrimp. Stuff the shrimp with the pepper jack cheese (use 1 oz. per 5 shrimp). Wrap the shrimp tightly with bacon and grill.
16 oz. popcorn (popped)
4 oz. cilantro
2 oz. cooked bacon
4 oz. crumbled pepper jack cheese
1 oz. bacon fat
salt and pepper
Preparation: Blend popcorn in a blender with cilantro until the popcorn turns green. Add crumbled, cooked bacon, crumbled pepper jack cheese and bacon fat, as well as salt and pepper. Use a ring mold to shape into a round cake. To assemble the dish, place a popcorn cake on a small plate. Place two of the grilled shrimp on top of the popcorn cake and drizzle with bourbon BBQ sauce.
Shared by Chops Lobster Bar’s Founder and CEO Pano Karatassos
Ingredients (serves 4)
16 oz. ahi tuna
2 tbsp. English cucumber, fine dice
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon oil
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. chives, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. shallots, fine dice
1 tsp. sea salt
Preparation: Cut the tuna in ¼ inch dice and add the cucumber, shallots and oils. Season with salt and fresh ground white pepper. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Sweet Soy Reduction
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
Preparation: Pour the sugar and soy sauce in a sauce pot. Dissolve the sugar in the soy sauce and reduce while simmering by 50 percent. Pour in a stainless steel bowl and cool in refrigerator.
1 tbsp. white wine
1 tbsp. chicken stock
¾ cup half & half
¼ cup heavy cream
1.5 tbsp. wasabi powder
½ lime, juiced
Preparation: Reduce the wine and chicken stock to a syrup. Add the half & half and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Add the lime juice and season with salt and white pepper. Whisk in the wasabi. Strain through a fine strainer.
Won Ton Chips
Preparation: Cut won ton wrappers in triangles and deep fry at 200 degrees until golden. Place on paper towel to soak up remaining oil. Season with salt.
Plating: Place the tuna in a ring mold. Remove the ring mold. Pour ½ tablespoon soy reduction and ½ tablespoon wasabi sauce each on side of the tuna. Garnish with won ton chips on top.
15th Street Fisheries
1900 SE 15th St., Fort Lauderdale
3030 Ocean at Harbor Beach
Marriott Resort & Spa
3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale
Billy’s Stone Crab
400 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood
Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill
1555 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
Blue Moon Fish Company
4405 W. Tradewinds Ave.,
Chops Lobster Bar
Royal Palm Place
101 Plaza Real S., Boca Raton
429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Joe’s Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
1305 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
Lobster Bar Sea Grille
450 E. Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
NYY Steak at the Seminole
Casino Coconut Creek
5550 NW 40th St., Coconut Creek
235 Commercial Blvd., #105,
2775 E. Oakland Park Blvd.,
477 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton