This time of year when spring is trying desperately to blossom, the thought on the minds of many is when they’ll be able to relax by the ocean, feel the sunshine, and enjoy a dinner of freshly prepared seafood. Greek cuisine relies heavily on the Mediterranean to create their healthy and simple cuisine. Recently, Thalassa in Tribeca, celebrated their ten year anniversary of serving diners contemporary and classic Greek seafood dishes in a glamorous nautical atmosphere. If Poseidon owned an authentic Greek seafood restaurant, Thalassa, meaning sea in Greek, would be it. With handsome leather chairs and banquettes, Greek urns, white billowing sails overhead, and a white marble and mosaic curved bar, Thalassa is fit for the gods of the sea.
Once upon a time, I lived in a faraway land called Kendall. For those who are unfamiliar with that unincorporated part of Miami-Dade County, Kendall can seem like a faraway land with it’s own culture, expressions, and rules of traffic. For those who know Kendall but have been away for a while, a recent visit will make it seem like it has been “once upon a time” since you’ve last been there. It seems as if every time I return to Kendall, something old has been replaced with something new that is a dramatic improvement from what used to be there. Take Town & Country Mall, for instance. It was a fun hangout in the early nineties, but by the time Y2K came around, it was dead. After the AMC movie theater closed, there seemed to be little hope for reviving what had once promised to be a thriving commercial and nightlife center...that is until the mall rebranded itself as The Palms at Town & Country Mall, polished its image, and invited more upscale retailers like Loehman’s and Nordstrom Rack to move in (trust me, that’s light years ahead of what used to be there). Dining in Kendall is also improving, especially at the new and improved mall, with Devon Seafood + Steak set to open its doors tomorrow.
There are other South Florida holiday traditions other than going to Santa’s Enchanted Forest and listening to DJ Laz’s remix of El Burrito de Belen. Take a little break from the 305 this coming weekend to take part in a 954 tradition forty one years in the making. This Saturday, December 15th, marks the annual Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade where local businesses and boat owners decorate their vessels with countless strings of lights, blast loud holiday music, and take part in a procession that runs the length of the Intracoastal waterway. The sight of dozens of brightly lit boats gently floating on the water is an unforgettable sight to see and one of Fort Lauderdale’s most anticipated events of the season. Like any parade, getting a perfect view is key to enjoying the Boat Parade, and the best locales are those right along the water. For a foodie getting into the holiday spirit, the best locales are not only by the water’s edge, but also offer the chance to have some great cuisine, like at Blue Moon Fish Company in Lauderdale By The Sea.
This Saturday, Fort Lauderdale’s favorite upscale seafood restaurant will be hosting a sumptuous four course prix-fixe menu, as well as its unparalleled views of the intracoastal, for those discerning palates who want a perfect view of the boat show paired with a perfect dinner. Prices range from $150 per person for dock seating to $75 per person for seating at the bar and include an appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert. The menu is as follows:
The Goodwin 430 Hudson Street, West Village
Named for the company that owned the 300-acre tobacco farm that once occupied the area, The Goodwin is reminiscent of its land’s history while maintaining a modern edge. The brick wall bar fashions the wine selection at the wine bar and café, carrying a pretty descent wine list that complements the food selections. The menu is moderately priced and features options like a sandwich composed of tempura mussels, oysters, clams & chorizo in spicy pork gravy served on pretzel hero with pickled onions and herb fries or line caught cod with market vegetables and yellow pepper gastrique. Larger plates are available after 5 pm.
Opening today is Key Biscayne's newest casual dining destination that has taken over the old Rickenbacker Fish Company and made it into one heck of a party. Largely located under one giant tiki hut, Whiskey Joe's is the place for nachos, wings, sliders, burgers, and all other manner of good ole American bar food, as well as oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, tropical salads, and fresh catch-of-the-day seafood entrées. Fisherman can also bring their own catches to the restaurant where the staff will be more than glad to cook your fresh-caught seafood to order. Accessible by land and by sea, with ample dock space available to boaters, Whiskey Joe's will be the place for the sea-faring and those firmly grounded on land to enjoy sports games along with their favorite beers. However, those who wish to sip on something a little more tropical can enjoy some of Whiskey Joe's specialty drinks, like the açai margarita or rock coconut mojito.
Newly opened seafood destination, Crave Fishbar, appeals to the Midtown masses. Brian Owens and chef Todd Mitgang are the faces behind the new restaurant, offering up to 60 seats to patrons. The original Crave Ceviche bar, which was located across the street from the new space, was sadly destroyed in a crane accident in '08, but that didn't deter the owners. The new space is located within a 19th century townhouse and offers up some favorite dishes off the old menu, including plancha grilled yucca with lime butter and toasted nori, along with a brand new menu of edible delights.
New York can be charming, classy, and unpretentious all at the same time --if you know where to go. El Quijote in Chelsea has been operating since 1930, as it proudly states on their menu and their matchboxes. Serving some of the best lobster dishes in the city, the restaurant has seen it all, untouched by time the restaurant sticks to authentic Spanish cuisine.
The old world look and feel lingers around every table, every booth, and every stool along the old, dark wood bar. There's character here that is understated because it’s real and not re-created from last centuries interior designs.
Prima, a hidden gem in the East Village (58 East 1st Street) is what results when a Rat Pack-esque group of five restaurant biz friends join forces to create a seafood focused café and bar. Prima is owned and operated by Hamid Rashidzada, Greg Seider, Ken Nye, Mathieu Palombino, and David Malbequi, who runs Prima’s kitchen fulltime. The friends wanted to open an eatery with seamless service giving guests a place to eat when many other restaurants are closed in between lunch and dinner service. Prima opens at 8 a.m. for coffee (provided by Nye’s Ninth Street Espresso) and pastries, so no matter the time, they’ll be there serving up their delightful dishes.
Come December 2011, the Mare Nostrum Restaurant Group will open its first hospitality industry venues in the United States. As a subsidiary of Polaris World Development, known for its golf resorts, restaurants and hotels in Europe, the group has naturally chosen Miami as the perfect location to first test the U.S. market . "Miami’s climate, demographic make-up and geography make it the perfect destination for Mare Nostrum to debut stateside,” said Oscar Suarez, the group’s Miami-based director of operations. The group will open two restaurants in Brickell this December, both located at 1111 SW First Avenue directly across the street from the Brickell Avenue Metrorail and Metro Mover station.
With a name that means “our sea” in Latin, Mare Nostrum is expected to make a lasting impression on Downtown Brickell visitors with its majestic 8,000 square foot venue at The Axis Building and its fresh culinary approach. The restaurant plans on impressing diners with a healthy, delicious and affordable spin on Mediterranean cuisine. Everything on the menu will be made fresh daily using nothing but the finest ingredients, including everything from freshly caught local fish to imported European specialties brought together to form the perfect harmony of flavors from Spain and Italy. House-made pastas, salads, pizzas, risottos and regionally attributed entrees will comprise the majority of the menu. However, the main attraction will be the seafood, and Chef Pedro Gallardo, who hails from Spain, pledges to deliver nothing but the freshest and most delicious. The restaurant will include seating for 154 in the main dining room as well as an outdoor patio large enough for 60. As you enter, you won’t miss the 11-foot tall glass wine room which holds over 2,000 bottles of wine and separates the bar/lounge from the dining room. Continuing with the seafood theme, a beautiful 25’ long seafood/raw bar will showcase a variety of the freshest oysters, langoustines, crab claws and other specialties. The restaurant will open daily for lunch and dinner.
Next, delivering the true Irish tradition of great food, drinking and lively entertainment is The Lucky Clover Irish Pub. Sure to be easily mistaken for a pub straight out of Dublin, the restaurant will be complete with hand-decorated wooden ceilings, charismatic memorabilia and period lighting to create an authentic environment found in a typical Irish ale house. This will easily become Miami’s go-to spot for live entertainment and sports-watching activities. Pick from 24 flat screen TVs or a large screen HD TV to watch your sport of choice or join in on the real fun on the stage. To complete the package, they will serve up the most delicious fish n chips, juicy burgers and salads, as well as a beer and libations list. Looking for a late night bite in Brickell? This spot may just be the answer to your prayers, as The Luck Clover plans on staying open late on weekends.
1111 SW 1 Avenue Miami, Fl 33131
The Lucky Clover
1111 SW 1 Avenue Miami, Fl 33131
On October 19th, Blue Door Fish located inside the surreal, yet iconic, Delano hotel in South Beach will be hosting a Wine Maker Dinner featuring five courses of Blue Door’s seafood-centric cuisine and wine pairings for only $95! Tommy Oldre of Tablas Creek Vineyards will be the host for the evening, guiding diners through the various wine selections and how they pair with Chef Claude Troigros’ novel seafood creations. Menu options feature lobster hors d’oeuvres, a coupling of scallops and foie gras, oysters with a wasabi caviar, swordfish, and to break up the fruits de mer theme, oxtail ravioli. Dessert will be a surprise to diners but is sure to please!