First Taste: Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grill

March 27, 2013 | by —LIANA LOZADA | Homepage

Downtown Ft. Lauderdale's historic Riverside Hotel (est. 1936) has the filled the airy, two-room dining space that once housed The Grill Room with a sustainable new eatery, Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille. Led by executive chef Toby Joseph, who has collaborated with chefs like Daniel Boulud and Norman Van Aken, the restaurant’s team also includes a former pastry chef for Trump International Beach Resort and a sommelier.

Diners at Wild Sea will first notice an elegant raw bar boasting an international array of fresh oysters, including the rarely seen Canadian Pickle Point and British Columbian Fanny Bay varieties. The oft- (sometimes daily) changing menu sources only the freshest available ingredients, further solidifying the restaurant’s commitment to seasonal, sustainable food. For instance, the Sunburst Trout comes from a family-owned supplier in North Carolina that uses natural, anti-oxidant rich feed to ensure its trout stay healthy and perfectly pink and delicious. To serve, the trout is paired with crispy oysters, cipollini onions, baby carrots, and coriander. Other standout dishes include a Back 40 Honey-Brown Ale-braised beef cheek, smoked amberjack tartare, and “poke of the moment,” a fresh catch tossed tableside into a refreshing raw salad. For dessert, try the salty-sweet dark chocolate crunch with sea salt, caramel ganache, and popcorn.

Meanwhile, at the bar, Wild Sea's handcrafted cocktails play with herbs and citrus flavors to complement the menu's ingredients. The dining room itself maintains the Riverside Hotel's classic Florida charm but uses maritime blues and clean whites to create a chic, day-to-night environment. Both dining rooms are open to the busy streets of Las Olas, while the more formal seating area features an impressive wrap-around wine cellar. 620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, 954-467-2555

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