SUNFISH GRILLFort Lauderdale, FL 33306
2775 East Oakland Park Blvd.
Open 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Tues - Sat
(Closed Sunday and Monday)
“Lite Bites” Happy Hour menu
available from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Fort Lauderdale’s Sunfish Grill serves up creative cuisine that crisscrosses so many cultures it can only be labeled “contemporary American ” in style. Executive chef Bill Bruening and general manager/ pastry chef Erika DiBattista make a point to emphasize the use of indigenous and seasonal ingredients in their constantly-evolving menu featuring fresh fish, meats and pasta dishes, along with sophisticated salads and inspired desserts.
The Sunfish atmosphere is perfect for romantic dates, family gatherings, or quick happy-hour noshes. Warm earthy hues, dark wood accents, and billowy white ceiling drapes set the tone in the dining room, which is further enhanced by candlelight and enticing scents of seafood emanating from the kitchen. A glass-encased wine room, housing a vast selection of domestic and imported varieties, is in full view of the dining area, adding elegance to the environment.
Sunfish offers exciting options for demanding diners in any kind of mood. Soups change daily, and I was fortunate to try the smooth and creamy shrimp bisque, marked by undertones of sweet sherry that elicited memories of New Orleans’ best. Asian pear salad is terrific in taste and spectacular in size, but there won’t be any left on your plate. Matched with arugula and endive, apples, grapes, spicy pecans, creamy Gorgonzola cheese, crunchy potato sticks and truffle oil vinaigrette, the pear is the shining star, augmented by a perfectly picked supporting cast of flavors and punctuated by a pristine plate presentation.
The tuna bolognaise was an unexpected surprise bringing comfort food to a higher plateau, and I’ve been craving more ever since my first bite. Chunks of tender tuna atop a bed of rustic spaghetti with red sauce permeated with the soul of toasted garlic works much better than traditional ground beef, for an oceanic improvement upon a rustic Italian classic. If you’re looking for something more modern, try the grilled swordfish and asparagus spears over red wine-and-cremini mushroom risotto and you’ll be one happy eater.
Save room for one of Erika’s “not the usual” key lime pies topped with with burnt meringue, or a seasonal pumpkin pie creme brulee with pie crust and fresh berry garnish to end your meal experience right.
Erik Mathes is a personal chef, in home cooking instructor, culinary mentor and food blogger. He has transformed countless rookie cooks into Kitchen All Stars and has cooked for South Florida’s elite. To learn more about Erik and his company, check out www.kitchencoach.com and read his blog, “Rantings of a Chef,” at kitchencoach.tumblr.com.