Blue Moon Fish Company- Sunday Brunch Buffet

Blue Moon Fish Company- Sunday Brunch Buffet, 4405 West Tradewinds Avenue, Lauderdale by the Sea  http://www.bluemoonfishco.com/

I must admit I was amazed when I first heard that this upscale fish joint on the intercostal was doing a buffet brunch.  At around $35, it’s not the most expensive in Fort Lauderdale, so I couldn’t imagine how they were going to pull it off.  If you’ve never been to The Blue Moon Sunday Buffet, your waiter will give you and your guests a tour that includes the four buffet food areas and two display areas for entrées and desserts. After the tour you are urged to go forth and eat…a lot! You’ll find a variety of salads and garlic steamed muscles setup on the restaurants main bar.  Nearby is the bread & waffle station. It’s no surprise that Blue Moon has a wonderful fresh raw bar stocked with oysters, clams, peel-and-eat shrimp and sauce options. Adjacent to the raw bar is the custom omelet station. When you’ve consumed your fill of the buffet your waiter will be pleased to bring you an unlimited number of specially prepared small plate entrées. Subject to change, these may include; Salmon Strudel, Crab Cakes, Louisiana Seafood Gumbo, Blackened Mahi Mahi with Vanilla Rum Butter; and Applewood Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Breast of Chicken. One Bloody Mary, Mimosa or Champagne is also included in the deal.  Did I mention dessert! If you’re able, your waiter will bring you one of several on display. Reservations a must!

So what do I recommend here? After ordering my Bloody Mary, I go directly for the Steamed Muscles, some of the Salads and some bread. Trip 2, has me at the raw bar for a plate of those wonderful oysters, clams and shrimp. Believe it or not I pass on the omelet station, which is top rate, only because I have my sights on the wonderful entrée items. Try the Salmon, the Chicken and the Crab Cake. As for dessert, I usually ask my server to bring me anything Chocolate…and I’ve never been disappointed!  Go! …have fun! …and yes, the view is nice too.

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Tropics Restaurant and Piano Bar- Sunday Brunch Buffet

Tropics Restaurant & Piano Bar- Sunday Brunch Buffet, 2000 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors  http://www.tropicsftl.com/

Tropics restaurant is synonymous with Wilton Manors and “the drive.” Sunday Brunch started out here many years ago as a once a month thing and became more frequent as time went on. Now every Sunday the restaurant transforms into one of the most extensive Breakfast Buffets around. Everybody goes there including “alanEATS.”  After years of Sunday brunching at Tropics, I have a plan of attack for this monster feast.  First, as with all buffets…get there early to avoid the crowds of the uninitiated buffet eaters…those are the ones that scurry around piling on the food. I prefer to gently graze and enjoy the experience. So here’s what I recommend. You’ll want to grab your breakfast stuff first. Choices range from Eggs Benedict to an assortment of Quiche.  The usual scrambled and fried eggs are there too, accompanied by Bacon, Sausage, Corned Beef hash and Potatoes O’Brian.  There’s even some tame Sushi Rolls with all the extras. You’ll also notice a tray marked French Toast.  It actually tastes more like Bread Pudding, so I usually pick some up later to enjoy with a cup of coffee. Now on to the main dining room buffet for Salads, Shrimp, Nova Lox and a Carving Station, which can include; Roast Beef, Ham, Pork and Turkey. In addition, Chef Nate and his staff prepare three main dishes that change weekly. Some favorites you may find are Lasagna, Kielbasa and Sauerkraut, Chicken Purses, Fish & Chips, Beef Pot Pie, Stuff Shells and Jambalaya. Let’s not forget about dessert.  These are plated and are lined around the main bar. Here you’ll find an assortment of cakes, pies and cookies. Some are done in-house so please ask your waiter to point them out. All of the above with two beverages will run you under $20. Amazing! Reservations are a must. In season you may have reserve several days in advance.

Update-December 2011- The Tropics Omelet Station is back! Returning this year is omelet Chef extraordinaire Danny, equipped with double burners and an assortment of omelet fillings to make your perfect meal. Just this alone is worth the price of admission. I order one with spinach, bacon and cheese…yum. The omelet station is only here during the winter season so catch it before Chef Danny packs up his pans and heads north.

Click the link to see more pictures from Tropics with comments. http://on.fb.me/tpdVLC

© 2011 alanEATS

J Mark’s Restaurant

J Marks- 1245 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale  http://www.jmarksrestaurant.com/

To begin with let me just say up front that I genuinely like this place and the folks who run it.   I’m going to tell you about some of the dishes I enjoy, but first a short background. I discovered J Mark’s a couple of years ago, way before I began alanEATS. My foodie friends suggested a new place that had been getting good reviews, so we drove to Pompano for dinner.  At the time, J Mark’s had only the one location.  We were seated at a table in the bar area and I could see the place had a nice friendly buzz to it.  But what instantly endeared me to this new restaurant was the involvement of the two owners who could be seen checking in frequently on the kitchen and randomly stopping by tables to introduce themselves and inquire about the food and service. One of them stopped by our table and after a short chat we were treated to tastes of some new items they were trying out. You may have experienced something like this at a restaurant before, but my sense was that this was different.  These guys really mean to please and want feedback as to how they’re doing and correct things that aren’t working. Which brings me to the one year old, J Mark’s in Fort Lauderdale.  This additional location has not dampened these guys desire to produce good food at reasonable prices. Even off-season there can be a wait at peak times.

So lets begin with appetizers you shouldn’t miss.  I really like the Jamaican Grilled Wings. They are grilled, not breaded and have a slight sweet/sour kick from the tamarind. They’re served with a tasty dipping sauce. Also not to miss is the Ahi Tuna Appetizer with Wasabi Pesto (careful…has peanuts) and the wonderful Cajun Crusted Ahi Tuna Sliders served on mini-buns. For the meat eaters, try the Prime Rib Sliders with horseradish and basil pesto. I could make a dinner of appetizers.  Actually I have!

Do you like fish? Well, surprise…I’m not a huge fish fan, but I’m warming up to it because the fish dishes here are fabulous. Every day there are at least two fresh catch specials in addition to their regular menu offerings.  When available, try the Chilean Sea Bass with Miso Glaze. It’s like seafood candy. This moderately oily fish goes well with the miso glaze. Other fish you may find on special are the Red Snapper and the Swordfish, each with special preparations of the day. You really can’t go wrong. Now for the meat! Here’s what I’ve tasted and enjoyed. Top on my list is the Hawaiian Rib Eye.  I know you’ve seen a marinated rib eye at other places, however this one is consistently tasty, less fatty and served to your doneness.  Remember, if you’re still ordering meat medium well or well done you’re missing out on some important flavor. The 12 oz slow roasted Prime Rib is also really good here. Its served with all the trimmings, but I always ask for some teriyaki sauce on the side. Yum! They make a set amount, so when they’re out…they’re out! There are two other special cuts of beef, the 20 oz. Rib Eye and the New York Strip. Unless you’re really hungry, you’re taken some home.

Finally, Sunday brunch.  J Marks does an off-the–menu brunch with no less than seven Benedict egg dishes from the Classic to one with Angus Beef tips. I haven’t tried them all, although I’m working on it, but I’ll tell you the poached eggs are done perfectly and the Hollandaise sauce is rich. If you’re several people and hungry, start out with the Smoked Fish Dip off the regular menu.

© 2011 alanEATS