Resort dining in Pompano Beach

By Michelle F. Solomon

Pompano Beach is in the midst of a resurgence, which means more places to dine out. While there are a number of new eateries on the horizon, McCoy’s Oceanfront, inside the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, is already generating buzz.

Executive chef Eric M. Kaszubinski joined McCoy’s in February and has introduced a new menu that complements its beachside locale. Fresh seafood arrives daily and many ingredients are locally sourced. While there are intriguing dishes on the menu, including a farro risotto with diver scallops, gulf shrimp, pancetta, oyster mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano, Kaszubinski doesn’t stray too far off course.

Farro-Rissoto

The restaurant’s namesake is Bill McCoy, the legendary South Florida bootlegger during the Roaring ’20s. The cocktail menu, which plays up the Prohibition-era theme, features several inventive concoctions: The crisp, cool Giggle Water is mixed with organic cucumber vodka and fresh lemonade, while the Glad Rags has an artisanal appeal with its inclusion of St-Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh grapefruit, rosemary and vodka. I can’t remember tasting a drink so fragrant.

My dinner companion and I started with the warm breaded goat cheese, panko-crusted to perfection. Garlic crostini was served on the side, allowing us to scoop or spread the tart Portuguese cured goat cheese, which oozed from the fried coating.

We shared the Tuscan kale salad, a mix of sweet, sour and crunch. Kaszubinski rubs the kale leaves with lemon oil to remove some of the bitterness and then adds pine nuts, raisins and Spanish Garrotxa cheese, a pasteurized goat’s milk cheese that adds subtle hints of rosemary and thyme.

Florida-Pompano

Florida pompano, an entrée highlight, arrived on a bed of fresh sautéed spinach, arugula and Yukon potatoes. Each ingredient is layered, and then the fish is placed on top. There’s a reason for the presentation; when eaten as prepared, each ingredient comes together to bring out the tender, sweet taste of the delicate fish.

The aforementioned farro risotto, enhanced with blood orange juice and vinegar, seeps into melt-in-your mouth scallops, giving them a tangy, yet buttery taste. Salty pancetta finishes off this wildly satisfying dish.

McCoy’s sets the bar high for oceanfront resort fare—and that’s what should keep the buzz going as more dining competition hits the beach.