Nostalgia surrounds Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, but about all that’s left is the name in the reborn version. At a spot where guys with hairy chests and gold chains once ogled girls in bikini contests, the new Shooters has a subtle modern design with an events space next door that was once Bootlegger’s. Also the accomplished team at The Grateful Palate brings a new menu.
The restaurant is expansive with plenty of seating. Outdoor seating offers views of the Intracoastal Waterway while boats can still tie up along the dock. Indoors you can enjoy semi-circular couches with comfy throw pillows or take a seat at one of the two stylish bars while admiring the tranquil décor with a palette of sand colors and water-oriented motifs.
I started out with a seasonal Prickly Pear Margarita, which had a ruby red color and a potent kick. It seems the pourers at Shooters are still generous. Among our favorite appetizers is a tasty flatbread with braised short rib that had a barbecue flavor, caramelized onions, gorgonzola and white cheddar. The crust was thin and crispy, with portioning large enough to serve as an entrée for one person. The Point Judith Calamari, fresh caught from local day boats, offers a great twist on ubiquitous marina sauces by combining peanuts, scallions, lime vegetable rice noodles and a Kung Pao-like sauce. (The peanuts made it seem almost like a satay sauce.) The mussels were velvety and melted in your mouth.
Among our entrées was the Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallops, which were tender in a subtle tomato butter seasoning. The Chorizo Crusted Snapper is generously large and comes with a drizzled roasted red pepper cream sauce. The chorizo is finely ground into the panko crust, which was light and crisp. The French Dip sandwich comes with a sizable crock of au jus. The bun was soft and the meat was a nice medium. Members of our party raved about the fries with sea salt and an exotic hint of Togarashi, a Japanese blend of seven spices. One of the must have sides is the smoky chili bacon grits, which are barely related to the usual breakfast fare. For dessert, the Chocolate Peanut Bar is a layered piece of art, starting with a graham cracker base, dark chocolate, a peanut butter spread, caramel and nuts. It comes on a long rectangular plate with ribbons of caramel sauce, dark chocolate and blackberries cut in half. The flavor combination is wonderful. The Roasted Banana Brownie Sunday is “amazing” in the words of one of our diners. The caramelized glaze on the sliced bananas add that extra special touch.
The reborn Shooters is indeed a welcome addition to the growing restaurant scene on Fort Lauderdale’s beach.Shooters Waterfront 3033 NE 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale 954.566.2855 www.shooterswaterfront.com