Tales from the Grille

Between the two appetizer plates and the bowl of soup, we hardly had room -- on the table and in our stomachs -- for the pizza we ordered as an appetizer. We kept with the motif of new potatoes, this time trying them diced with grilled chicken, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and lemon. These ingredients topped a white pizza -- mozzarella cheese but no tomato sauce -- a bit too blandly, particularly after the spicy, intense flavors of the other appetizers. Even the rosemary, an herb always pungent and sometimes overpowering, wasn't used enough.

Though we ventured to eat the pizza, we steered clear of the pasta, which sounded tasty but very rich. The dinner specialties, focusing on fresh fish and meats, were more to our liking. Crusted with pecans and pan-sauteed, the yellowtail snapper was as deceptively rich as any pasta's cream sauce. But we devoured it anyway, partly because the Frangelica reduction served under the fish was so unusual, almost like a sweet syrup. It was a lovely piece of work.

We also tried the dolphin, both blackened and grilled (fish can be requested either way). The seasoning on the blackened version was piquant, not too peppery; the grilled dolphin was simple and fine. One of the only dishes to court a Far Eastern influence, the fish was garnished with a scoop of Asian mango and papaya salsa, greens tossed in a mildly tangy Japanese vinaigrette, and fried rice noodles.

For lighter fare, a jerked shrimp cobb salad was a satisfying main course, though it didn't exactly overflow with shrimp. Only four medium-size grilled ones adorned the torn leaves of romaine. They were delightfully spicy, though, with a hint of sweet marinade. Black olives, egg, tomatoes, croutons, and a fan of avocado completed the bowl. An unrequested caesar-style dressing made this less like a cobb salad, however; the toppings were not chopped and arranged in groups over the lettuce. This was, in truth, more like an innovative caesar salad.

In retrospect, I find it hard to believe we ate dessert. As with the dinner plates, these preparations took their time, and with the same fantastic results. Most memorable was the apples and nuts "in prison," cinnamon-scented fruit enclosed in a pastry cage.

Owner Gus Boulis (there really is a Gus) is an expert on the joys of waterfront dining A he owned Martha's on the Intracoastal in Hollywood and Stan's in Fort Lauderdale. And as the originator and owner of approximately 230 of the Miami Subs chain, he's no stranger to Miamians. So don't be shy. To paraphrase the Miami Subs slogan, for great food, served...well, slowly, follow chef Scott Howard's example and head south one night this winter.

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