RICHARD DAVID CHAMBERLAIN
SEAWATCH ON THE OCEAN
6002 North Ocean Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
There was always something so relaxing about SeaWatch on the Ocean, a local favorite since 1974. The nautical ambiance of heavy dock rope, ship lanterns, 12-spoke wheels, and dusty ancient maps and books competing for wall space was a home-away-from- home for many Floridians, who found the restaurant’s fresh seafood as comforting as its sagging red banquettes.
All that changed about a year ago, when the popular place closed its doors for months, as its owners remodeled the eatery in what was its first update in its 38-year history. The menu received a full fluff-and-fold as well, with the resulting transformation as sophisticated as it is complete.
The restaurant sits on the sand some 50 yards from the Atlantic, and on nights of the Full Moon, the joint is packed to capacity to celebrate the lunar experience, as it creeps over the horizon and showcases the jubilant crowd. (The next full moon party is August 30th.) During those parties, there’s an outdoor barbecue and DJ Alex spinning in the booth.
While SeaWatch has a multipage menu featuring some top-notch house specialties— Bouillabaisse, a rich soup of lobster, shrimp, scallops, calamari, white fish, mussels, clams, and saffron-chicken broth, with a hint of Pernod ($29.00); a Seafood Paella, heavy with king crab, chicken, shrimp, spicy chorizo, clams, salmon, and mussels served on a bed of Spanish rice ($28.00); and a slow-roasted 16-ounce Prime Rib with a zesty horseradish sauce and flavorful au jus, plus a side of Yorkshire pudding ($32.00)—it’s the lunch specials that have lately kept us smiling.
In an off-season promotion running daily between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., SeaWatch offers Sail the $7 Seas, a host of $7 lunch items, including some extremely good paninis. The grilled and pressed sandwiches range in choice from Salmon BLT with smack-your-lips applewood bacon on multi-grain bread to a Classic Corned Beef Reuben, with sauerkraut, swiss cheese on delicious sliced caraway seed loaf. All the paninis are served with a dill pickle wedge and a bag of Miss Vickie’s Simply Sea Salt Potato Chips.
Not in the mood for a Panini? Try Maria’s Tortilla Salad, sliced lean sirloin steak mixed with iceberg lettuce, tortilla chips, beans, chopped tomatoes, and cheddar cheese with a creamy Italian dressing—Maria’s special contribution. Also priced at $7: An amazingly flavored Shrimp Penne Pasta, with grilled pancetta, sun-dried tomato and arugula.
SeaWatch also has a very nice grilled Cheeseburger and Fries with caramelized onions, sliced pickles, tomato and a secret sauce, or a forget-the-calories Grilled Hot Dog with catsup, mustard and sweet relish. That one comes with fries as well, and plenty of them.
For dinner, the vast daily menu is available from 6 p.m. until closing. For those special few who want to see the place as the moon comes up, try Dinner at Dusk from 5-6 p.m. For $20.95, select your choice of 1¼ pound Broiled Lobster, Blackened Mahi Mahi, Roasted Half Chicken, Slow-Roasted Prime Rib, or the Broiled Combination Platter that features shrimp, scallops, and mahi mahi in a garlic, herb and butter sauce that’s a two-napkin taste treat.
Be sure to say hi to Mary at the upstairs bar, Jeannette at the door, and Beth, who manages the joint as if it’s her own nightly party. And, as always, tell them Agenda sent you.