Coconuts

Coconuts- 429 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale    http://www.coconutsfortlauderdale.com/

I admire and appreciate this place for its unpretentious style and good food. Originally recommended by a friend whose food choices are way different from mine…it took me a while to pay them a visit. At first glance you might mistake it for one the places that specializes in quick meals near the beach. Big mistake! Locals and savvy travelers know and love it here and get nervous with just the thought of sharing this gem with vacationers. The food is New American and has several seafood and, to my delight, pork selections. Hints of the Bayou, Caribbean and Southern California can be found all over the menu. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided in advance to have a particular dish only to find that the Special is more intriguing. I rarely talk about staff or ambiance, but I’ll make an exception now.  I found the youngish staff to be competent and knowledgeable about the food.  All servers I’ve come in contact with have told me they’ve tasted most if not all the dishes and can explain how they’re prepared.  And let’s face it…what could be better than dining Al Fresco beside the calm waters of the bay side of Fort Lauderdale Beach? Simply put, the food here is consistent, the portions ample and the specials are always tempting.

So what do I eat here?  Haven’t tried it all yet, but here’s a short summary so far. The Coconut Shrimp can be had as an appetizer or entrée and is prepared with panko then lightly deep-fried with a dipping sauce.  When offered, try the Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes with Blue Cheese. For lunch I’ve had the Mahi sandwich and the fish taco, both good. For something a little different, try the Comfort Bowl and the Jambalaya. There are always one or two fish selections available broiled or blackened. I prefer the blackened. All I can say about the side items is…YES, please. Now, I almost never do desserts, but for lunch the other day they came up with this banana, caramel, granola and rum infused thingy, that was wonderful. On Sundays, Coconuts offers an off-the-menu Brunch that starts at 10am. If you get there early you may be rewarded with Beignets to enjoy while you peruse the menu. As usual I had pre-selected one of the three Egg Benedicts. However, the Special was the Cuban Confit Sandwich.  An open-faced assembly of Pork Loin slices, Swiss cheese, Onions, Mojo sauce topped with a Fried Egg. Somehow this chef knows the inner me!!!  Not to be missed is the French Toast Special, which was decadently delicious. The dictionary defines decadent as unrestrained gratification…yup, I agree!

© 2011 alanEATS

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.