What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.
Pelican Grand Beach Resort, 2000 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-556-7667, PelicanBeach.com
After a gradual menu transition spurred by executive chef Todd Lough's arrival last year, fresh decor and a new name have transformed the former North Ocean Grille.
The romantic veranda, nestled directly on the beach unlike most other hotels here, beckons with rocking chairs and table seating. Inside, rich mahogany walls still frame the dining room, but the striped fabrics and pineapple-print wallpaper were retired. Elegant moldings and traditional elements juxtapose white leather booths under stainless spherical lighting. White-washed driftwood candelabras reflect in mirrors and lend a natural sophistication.
Lough's selections are regionally and seasonally inspired with a Latin influence, evident in highlights such as local fish ceviche ($12), Florida yellowtail snapper a la plancha with roasted tomato ($28) and roasted Cuban pork shank with onion mojo ($32). Guava barbecue, chipotle bearnaise or chimichurri-ginger butter are sauce choices for Florida lobster tail ($39), filet mignon ($36) and New York strip ($42).
The lounge features small plates ($8 to $16), such as pulled pork quesadillas ($14), and classic reinvented cocktails ($11 to $13), such as the Pelican Brief with acai spirit, pomegranate and blueberries ($11). Musicians perform 6-9 p.m. Fridays.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, along with Sunday brunch.
Dapur, Asian Tapas & Lounge
1620 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-306-2663, DapurKitchen.com
This hip, alluring pan-Asian gem is rotating in specialties a few of times a year after opening more than a year ago with core dishes.
"The idea is to make the food part of the conversation," says owner Edi Mulyanto, who hails from Indonesia along with his head chef.
The melange of authentic recipes and Mulyanto's creations are crafted from produce fresh from his abundant garden out back.
Standouts, available until the summer, are coconut tempura shrimp with honey-miso sauce ($12) and tropical raw tuna with avocado and pineapple sauce bursting with flavor ($16). Customers' requests were granted to convert the stuffed tofu ($9) and Indonesian bakwan (vegetable fritters) with peanut sauce ($8) to vegetarian.
The Sea Breeze with salmon, pineapple, cucumber, asparagus and kimchi sauce ($14) is one of four sushi rolls, and sashimi is now available. About 10 kinds of curries ($16 to $19), among the best in South Florida, revolve weekly, such as Indonesian rendang. End with a bowl of warm Jakarta rice pudding with bananas ($8).
Dapur means kitchen in Indonesian. "I want this to be everyone's kitchen in the heart of Fort Lauderdale," says Mulyanto.
Insider tip: They're not new, but don't miss the inventive Kobe-style beef sliders ($14). Seared sticky rice serves as slightly crispy, slightly chewy buns — an unusual texture.
Crepes by the Sea
145 NE Fourth Ave., Delray Beach, 561-243-2004, CrepesByTheSea.com
This cafe has more than doubled its seating since moving from a five-year-old takeout-style spot a few steps off Atlantic Avenue.
It's been a long time coming since owners Jason and Bettina Seifts left corporate New York City and started selling crepes at festivals here from a French-imported cart in 2006.
Additional crepes, omelets and salads have debuted, plus croissants and sandwiches for the first time, as well as small plates ($4 to $17) Thursday through Saturday evenings.
"People tell us they love it, and we are finally getting to meet the whole family because they all have a seat now," says Bettina Seifts.
A seat that you may choose at the spacious bar or on the inviting covered patio with planters growing jasmine and rosemary.
"We are so happy in Pineapple Grove. . . . . You sit and enjoy quiet . . . There's a breeze and soft music," Seifts says.
The cozy dining room displays artwork by local artists, and a window to the kitchen allows a peep at the chefs preparing new favorites, such as: Apollo crepe with feta, roasted red bell peppers, spinach and a sunny-side up egg ($8); Gone Fishing crepe with smoked Norwegian salmon, onion, capers, spinach and scrambled egg ($13) 'and Italian grinder on focaccia ($9).
The cafe now offers wine, four beers on tap ($5.50) and domestic bottled beer. It opens earlier at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday and at 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; closed Mondays.
Field of Greens
412 N. Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-820-2465, FieldOfGreensOnline.com
After 10 years at CityPlace, this daytime eatery has moved to Clematis Street and rejuvenated its look and menu.
"I wanted it to be more than a place to eat lunch. I want people to come in, feel welcomed and stay a while," says Hess Musallet, a new partner in the Palm Beach County chain.
Expanded offerings are served amid more comfy seating with an exposed loft-style ceiling accented by a crystal chandelier.
The Market salad with arugula, roasted beets, Granny Smith apples, candied walnuts, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and honey is one of the new salads ($8.95), and a dozen dressings are now made daily with ingredients from local farms. The chicken in a new country club multigrain sandwich is baked in honey, whole-wheat corn flakes and flaxseed and topped with avocado, cranberry jam and bacon ($8.50).
A juice bar offers protein shakes ($4.95) and smoothies ($3.95), and teas and Illy coffee drinks round out the beverages.
Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays.