By Santiago Cardona
Those familiar with the pre-2014 iteration of Shooters Waterfront (3033 NE 32nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale) remember the concept as one of bikini-clad parties, lots of alcohol, and somewhat sub-par bar food. While a concept such as that one is always fun (who in South Florida doesn’t love beach-themed parties?!), quality of the menu tends to suffer, as most creative resources are allocated to making sure people are having fun. February 2014, the more mature Shooters Waterfront opened under new ownership and renovations. Along with some stunning visual changes, the menu became more refined and upscale. It was quite the drive for me coming from Miami, but I was delightfully surprised with what I sampled.
Menu highlights: It was somewhat odd to see Vegetarian Sushi offered as one of the dishes, but this easily became one of my favorite and most surprising dishes. Made using roasted red and golden beets, avocado, carrots, asparagus, sesame seared tofu, gazpacho, and togarashi, the sushi roll was substantial and satisfying. The beets acted as dominant flavor in the dish, and the avocado and carrots added those familiar sushi roll aspects that made the dish craveable. Coming from a huge carnivore, I think it is a compliment to say that I would order this dish again.
The Frutti di Mare pasta dish was served with abundant seafood that made it seem like there was more protein than actual pasta. Made with him imported squid ink pasta, sautéed diver scallops, jumbo shrimp, calamari, lobster tail, basil, and lobster-mascarpone sauce, the dish is just as stunning to the eyes at it is delicious. The squid ink doesn’t affect the flavor of the dish much, but the smell is altered to enhance the elements of the sea. Make no mistake about it, seafood and the ocean is the predominant flavor in this dish.
Standout dish: Without a doubt, I would recommend the Peri Peri Roasted Chicken over every other thing on the menu. Shooters serves half a chicken (so much food!) that is marinated in a house spice blend consisting primarily of chilies and paprika. This Portuguese dish is very seldom found in Miami, and Shooters definitely does the chicken justice. Not only is the chicken juicy and substantial, but it is also well seasoned and balanced. Smoky, slightly spicy, garlicky, acidic, anything you can think of. This might be one of my favorite chicken dishes in South Florida, hands down.
Are we boozing? If you like wine, most definitely. While I wasn’t able to sample any cocktails, the wine selection is vast, and, truthfully, almost intimidating. Ask one of your servers for recommendations and they won’t steer you wrong. Ask to sit by the water, and you’ll have a heck of a time.
Check this place out if you like: any waterside dining in South Beach. Truthfully, waterside dining in Miami isn’t necessarily the best, and the food quality at Shooters is up there with some of the better restaurants in Miami (waterside or otherwise).
Santi’s take: Every person in Miami should make it out to Shooters Waterfront at least once, if only to say that they did. The quality of the food was quite surprising in the best way possible, and the views are unmatched. Try to catch a sunset there, have a server help you pick a glass of wine, order the Peri Peri chicken, and you’ll definitely be back over and over again.