A new seafood-centric beauty has opened South of Fifth in the former China Grill and Sienna Tavern space at 404 Washington Avenue. This is the second Lobster Sea Grille location for Florida, the first being in Ft. Lauderdale. Actually, it is one of 13 eateries owned by the Atlanta-based Buckhead Restaurant Group
. You know how wary I am about chain restaurants, so it was with trepidation that I even decided to try the place. Guess what, I was pleasantly surprised.
The space is huge, and they totally changed the decor with a massive redo. It has a contemporary feel and is reminiscent of the Oyster Bar in Grand Central station. Arched ceilings, covered in white herringbone subway tiles, massive crystal chandeliers, an expansive bar in the front and a smaller one in the back. There are some nautical touches as well. There are two large private party rooms and a large patio that would be great for throwing a party. An open kitchen with a massive display of fresh fish and seafood in front of it. White table cloths and waiters who wear white vests, aprons and ties.
The restaurant was only two weeks old when I dined here but the teamwork at play is fine tuned due to the management under the capable hands of Nathan Adams, who went to great lengths proudly describing everything in detail to us. We all noted how the staff had no attitude and were very friendly. And every time I got up to photograph something, my napkin was refolded.
They serve sustainable fish and seafood from around the world, that arrives within 48 hours. Much of the fish is from New Zealand and Greece. Nothing is ever frozen as they get daily deliveries. Lobster is their specialty and comes from Nova Scotia, Canada. There are also a variety of fish, ceviches, tartars, salads and USDA prime steaks.
The service is top notch, attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. We started off with a chopped salad, one of their signature dishes, with hearts of palm, eggs, mixed greens and triple cream gorgonzola in a lemon basil and lime vinaigrette. The burrata’s preparation is a little different, served with herbs and finely chopped tomatoes. Another enjoyable dish is the lobster morsels. They are lightly fried and served on top of a Greek honey mustard aioli. The chunks of lobster are substantial and perfectly tender.
The menu had lots of wonderful choices but our entire table went with lobster. After all, it is called the Lobster Bar Sea Grille. There were several preparations available but we decided to go with two pounds each, simply steamed and served with drawn butter. I am not exaggerating when I say this was the best damn lobster I have had in eons. It’s sweet, tender, tasty, and perfectly cracked open for us. I am told their secret is cooking different parts of the lobster separately so nothing is over or under cooked. There was no need for tiny forks or nut crackers. The butter wasn’t too salty. We all raved about the quality and execution.
We ordered a few sides, the glazed Brussel sprouts with bacon, the pure creamless corn mash and hand cut french fries.
Our favourite dessert was the tropical pavlova, a crisp meringue, with passion fruit mousse and exotic sorbet. We also had some classic profiteroles, little mini puffs filled with vanilla bean ice cream, sugar roasted almonds in a dark chocolate sauce. And the Greek yogurt with Greek thyme honey and delicious toasted walnuts.
There’s a nice selection of wines and cocktails to accompany your dinner.
This meal did not come cheaply, but you are getting a quality product in an albeit corporate-type environment.