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Just because we live near the ocean doesn’t mean all of our fish is locally sourced. With advanced technology used in catching and handling fish and faster shipping methods, the fish that’s on your plate was probably in the water less than 24 hours ago no matter where in the world it was sourced — whether those waters are off the coast of South America, Canada or Asia. 

Florida became famous for its seafood restaurants long before the days of refrigeration and overnight shipping. The fact that the industry has changed doesn’t mean we’ve lost that label. There are dozens of seafood restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area and they run the gamut from super-casual spots to fine dining. 

When a recent houseguest offered to treat us to dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant I was stymied. I realized I don’t have one. So, we decided to check out a place many friends rave about, Blue Moon Fish Company(4405 W. Tradewinds Ave., Lauderdale By the Sea, 954-267-9888, BlueMoonFishCO.com). To be honest, it’s a little pricey for us to enjoy on a regular basis, but our friend was feeling flush, so we went for it. Now I have a dilemma, I have a favorite seafood restaurant, I just can’t afford to go there often. 

Ah well, absence makes the heart grow fonder. 

We began with crispy calamari and shrimp, served in a paper cone and drizzled with Thai sweet chili sauce. There’s nothing inventive about this dish, but the shrimp and calamari were fried to perfection. The presentation doesn’t serve the dish very well. With everything piled in a paper cone, the seafood on the bottom gets soggy.  Jumbo lump crab cake is served atop a pool of tasty sweet corn emulsion. Again, nothing inventive, but very well prepared. All of the appetizers are priced between $15-$25.

The diver sea scallops are among the biggest I’d ever seen, yet still managed to remain tender, thanks in part to a hard sear on the outside and medium rare inside. The luscious shellfish is served with a rustic hash of butternut squash, roasted poblano and charred corn, with a swoosh of bacon-onion jam across the plate adding just the right amount of sweetness. Sesame and nori crusted yellowfin tuna was dressed with a bit of blue crab, and accompanied by an edamame and sweet corn succotash. A warm and comforting roasted carrot-yellow curry perfectly complemented the firm, fresh fish.

Sides are not necessary, for each dish has a small accompaniment, but the ones we sampled were so delicious that they are worth ordering. While priced at a hefty $12, they are enough to serve as an entrée or share with a table of four. We almost didn’t order the maple horseradish Brussels sprouts because we thought the horseradish would be overpowering. Instead it just provided a hint of heat to the dish. The lobster and shrimp “Mac n’ Peas” is $18 and worth every penny. It’d make a wonderful entrée with huge chunks of seafood studded throughout creamy sauce, held together by orzo and fresh peas.

You’d think that would be enough, but no. Maybe it was the blood orange cosmos from earlier in the meal, but even though we had more than half our dinner boxed to take home, we opted to split a dessert, the “Icky Sticky Caramel Tarte” is a cinnamon roll sized portion of white chocolate bread pudding topped with “Junky Munky” ice cream. I also now have a favorite new dessert.

Dining at this level isn’t available to everyone, for most it’s saved for a special occasion it’s a “once in a blue moon” experience. So next week, we’ll take a look at more affordable seafood dining options. 

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scallopsatbluemoonfishScallops at Blue Moon Fish Company.

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