Monday, June 10, 2013

s3 - Fussy and casual not a good match at the beach - Fort Lauderdale

At the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Hotel
505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, 33304
Sun-Thur: 11:30 a.m. to midnight
Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

By Jane Feehan

Launched by The Restaurant People, the company behind YOLO, Vibe, and Tarpon Bend Food and Tackle, s3 (sun, surf and sand) could use some adjustments and reconsideration (or consideration?) of its theme.

Three of us brunched there on a recent Sunday. A server told us in introductions that they embraced a
“sharing” theme. We couldn't discern what was to be shared other than some side dishes of mac n’ cheese, butter braised pole beans and other vegetables. Their small plates could not be shared. Onward … I tried a weekend brunch item, chicken atop a sweet potato waffle served with bacon butter. The waffle was tough, dry and nearly tasteless. Syrup wasn’t served; I was told there was some on it … somewhere. The lightly battered and fried chicken was moist and flavorsome but it didn’t atone for the waffle. Another diner ordered oak grilled fish, which was grouper that day. It came loaded with a thick, overpowering, unappealing-looking “sauce Gribbiche,” better suited to the name “sauce gibberish” of tarragon and/or dill. That and an inappropriate ciabatta roll (too much bread for this entrée) subdued the grilled fish, which did not taste fresh. The best dish was an over-sized hamburger served on a Challah roll. A trio of mini Bloody Mary’s with different garnishes was interesting.

On the plus side is the soothingly beautiful décor, with its  earth tones set against a backdrop of dark and light woods— somewhat unusual in a beach setting. A view of the ocean can be captured from any table or from any seat at one of several bars. s3 occupies a large area at street level of the Hilton and for the most part, is covered, though open. The breeze can be stiff and the humidity uncomfortablenot pleasant for those who normally avoid al fresco dining during Florida summers.

A less pretentious, less fussy approach would be better suited to this laid back beachy atmosphere. We will return; they have a lot to work with and s3 is so very new.

Tags: Fort Lauderdale beach dining, waterside dining Fort Lauderdale, Hilton Hotel, s3, open air beachside dining

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