The Place: Shooters Waterfront recently underwent a face-lift and has sought to change the booze-soaked rep of Fort Lauderdale’s Spring Break heyday. It is now an affordable family-oriented spot with three dining rooms and full bar in neutral tones with nature photos. Relax with a drink and order from the new menu on the waterfront patio with wicker birdcage seating for small groups, cement tiles inset with tiny shells, weatherproof tables and chairs under umbrellas, and panoramic views of the Intracoastal. Boaters can tie up at the 340-foot dock. There’s a tiki bar where you can bring your dog for a treat. Below the bar is an area with faux grass, a fire pit with lava rocks, and palm trees with twinkly lights at night.
The History: In 2013, William McIntyre bought Shooters, part of an ’80s chain, at bank auction — as well as the old Bootleggers next door. Both were renovated; the restaurant was renamed Shooters Waterfront, and McIntyre moved his catering business, Grateful Palate, into the Bootleggers space. Brian Cornelius, executive chef at Grateful Palate, started as a dishwasher at a Syracuse New York diner and worked his way up to sous chef at the Port St. Lucie Hilton. Roberto Santiago, from Puerto Rico, was recently made executive chef at Shooters.
The Food: The focus is on fresh American seafood, with East Coast oysters flown down by FedEx. Turf includes St. Louis ribs, grilled steaks and slow-braised short ribs in port wine reduction. There’s also edamame and roasted red pepper dips with lavash strips; a Maine lobster sushi roll with tail meat, celery, avocado, masago and sweet eel sauce; and spicy Sichuan shrimp salad with mixed greens and crispy wontons in sesame dressing. Get the cheese platter with a piece of honeycomb, grapes, strawberries and a baguette and head to the beach across the road. Or watch boats pass by with a plate of beer-battered Atlantic cod and chips; seared salmon with Israeli couscous and pickled grapes; or seared brown butter scallops and shrimp with corn risotto. There are also fried chicken on bacon-cheddar waffles with maple hot sauce, and the blackened mahi sandwich on a brioche bun. Finish with the huge slab of chocolate cake iced in fudge (save some for breakfast with coffee) or the baked Alaska with Key lime ice cream.
You Didn’t Know This: Baked Alaska is hard ice cream on top of sponge cake encased in a meringue shell and baked in a hot oven just until browned or fired up with a propane blowtorch. It is said to be created by American physicist Benjamin Thompson in 1804 as he was investigating the heat resistance of beaten egg whites. The ice cream does not melt because of the insulating properties of the trapped air in the cellular structure of foams (the meringue and sponge cake) that keeps heat from reaching the ice cream. The name originated in 1876 at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York, in honor of the newly acquired territory of Alaska.
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Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food blogger and writer and creator of Mermaid Sea Salt and Indian Spiced Toffee, available at Cream Parlor, 8224 Biscayne Blvd.
If You Go
The Place: Shooters Waterfront
Address: 3033 NE 32nd Ave. at NE 30th Court, Fort Lauderdale
Hours: Lunch Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; dinner Sunday-Thursday 4-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 4 p.m.-midnight; happy hour weekdays 4-7 p.m. with half price drinks at the bar
Prices: Raw bar and appetizers $12-$19, soups/salads $6-$19, entrees $15-$32, desserts $7-$12
FYI: Complimentary valet, free yoga class Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Mother’s Day buffet May 14 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.