Rick's Reviews: Seafood Festival

In last week’s column I reviewed one of my favorite new (well, new to me) seafood restaurants, Blue Moon Fish Co. (if you missed it you can find it and all of my past columns at SFGN.com/Food).

This week I thought I’d discuss some of the many other seafood restaurants in the area. Blue Moon was definitely at the higher end of the price spectrum, but there are good seafood restaurants to be found at most price points.

I’ve divided them into three categories, from least expensive to break-the-bank splurges. I realize that there are many folks out there who can’t afford, even the most inexpensive places. Seafood is expensive, but I’m not about to review the Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s.

Inexpensive ($25 or less per person)

Kelly’s Landing, (1305 SE 17th St., 954-760-7009, KellysLanding.com) is the local outpost of a Boston chain, and the connection is milked for all it’s worth. The daily specials are a real deal (on Tuesdays it’s three lobster tails for $20). That’s if you can get in, they don’t take reservations and the lines can be exceedingly long.

Southport Raw (1536 N. Cordova Rd., 954-525-2526, SouthPortRawBar.com) is up the street a couple of blocks from Kelly’s and revels in its casual style (rolls of paper towels instead of napkins, plastic gingham tablecloths). There’s nothing more than $15 on the menu (except a huge platter of oysters) and happy hour specials make it an even better deal.

Catfish Dewey’s (4003 N. Andrews, 954-566-5333, CatFishDeweys.com) is known for its all you can eat deals. All you can eat catfish is offered for $16.95 daily, then there are additional all you can eat deals each day of the week. On Monday and Tuesday, it’s large shrimp (fried or peel-n-eat) for $21.95. Wednesday is the only non-seafood special, BBQ ribs, for $21.95. Thursday and Sunday, Alaskan snow crab legs are at market price, and Friday it’s sea scallops for $25.95. If you really want to pig out, save your appetite for Saturday when it’s a Louisiana special - all you can eat mélange of fried oysters, fried clam strips and boiled crawfish, available for $27.95. If you prefer a deal that won’t bust your gut, early bird dining specials include dessert and are a terrific bargain. Some folks mistake quantity for quality.

For a twist on the usual seafood restaurant check out the punnily named SpiceSea

(3811 N. Federal, 954-564-4422, SpiceSeaFL.com). Asian influences fill a menu that would be considered extensive for a restaurant this size, turn the page and discover even more offerings and you’ll find what makes SpiceSea so unusual, its Asian take on a New England boil. The boil options include seafood only (priced by the pound), or as a combo with side dishes (potatoes, corn on the cob and sausage). Each combo boil easily serves two, or four, for those with smaller appetites. The #4 combo boil, which includes one pound each of shrimp and clams and a choice of king crab legs or two lobster tails is $55. When you figure that’s dinner for two, it’s not a bad deal, split it three or four ways and it’s downright cheap.

Mid-Level Dining

 

Coconuts faces the water, leaving its sister restaurant G&B Oyster (429 Seabreeze Blvd., 954-525-2421, CoconutsFortLauderdale.com, gandboysterbar.com) with a lovely view of the parking lot. Both places offer a nice balance between super-casual and fine dining. The prices, presentation and service reflect that. That’s not to say the service is bad or unfriendly, quite the contrary, but it lacks the polish and sophistication of a white linen dining experience. G&B Oyster was designed for sittin’, sippin’ and nibblin’ and the menu reflects it. Most of the dishes are made for sharing. Or kick back and check out the nearly two dozen wines by the glass, or extensive tap beer options, while you enjoy oysters on the half shell.

At 15th Street Fisheries (1900 SE 15th St., 954-763-2777, 15StreetFisheries.com) dine upstairs for dinner ($40 average entrée) or more casual downstairs at Fisheries Dockside (main dishes $15-$20) for sandwiches and salads.

Rustic Inn Crabhouse (4331 Anglers Ave., 954-584-1637, RusticIOnn.com) is famous for its garlic crabs. At this casual spot you’ll pay $50 to beat your dinner with a mallet. If I don’t sound like a fan, it’s because I’m not. If I’m paying more than one hundred bucks for dinner for two, I want someone waiting on me and presenting food that is ready to eat.  There are also plated dinners and sandwiches, similarly over-priced.

Fine Dining

Truluck’s (2584 E. Sunrise, 954-396-5656, Trulucks.com), is the local outpost of a chain of high-end restaurants where dinner can easily run up to $150 a person (without drinks!) There’s great attention to detail here, with each dish looking like a page from a cooking magazine. Not only is the seafood delicious, they do a damn fine job with a steak, as well.

Lobster Bar Grille (450 E. Las Olas, 954-772-2675, BuckHeadRestaurants.com), is a white linen restaurant that offers indulgence without going over the top. It’s still expensive, you’ll pay between $80-$100 per person, but that’s a bargain for fine dining.

If you want to sample the luxury of these high-end spots stop by for lunch, when you can easily enjoy the benefits of fine dining for about $25 a person.


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