Restaurants + Bars
Restaurants + Bars

Dining scene: From buffalo chicken sliders to a key lime baked Alaska

Atlantic Surf Club

The Gallery at Beach Place, 17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Unit #216, Fort Lauderdale, 954-256-7873, AtlanticSurfClub.com

This 2-month-old oceanfront spot carved out of second-floor sibling Sonic Beach takeout has launched happy hour, live music and additional menu items.

Watermelon margarita ($9), strawberry-pink grapefruit sangria ($8, $24 pitcher), Pavan and rosemary punch ($8, $24 pitcher), ahi tuna steak burger ($17), grilled branzino ($23) and red snapper filet with feta and olives ($22) have been added to the lineup of small plates, pizzas, myriad of sandwiches, main dishes and milk shakes. Bestsellers are lobster mac & cheese ($13), steak tips Dijonnaise ($18) and the superior beef burger loaded with lobster claws and truffle aioli ($15).

Daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. includes $3 cocktails, $3 Coronas, $6 shots of Patron Silver, $6 fruit margaritas and $18 beer towers. A variety of musicians perform at 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

"Our real emphasis is reviving the image of Beach Place," general manager Kevin Wolyniec says. "Outside of places like Casablanca and Coconuts, there are really no upscale casual venues that cater to locals. We are not just some tourist trap charging an 18 percent service charge, nor are we overpriced. We are providing the community with a family-style American menu with a twist."

Driftwood and warm woods lend a soft, natural feel to the hip beach ambience. An open-air bar and long line of wraparound counter seating offer dazzling views. An air-conditioned dining room offers a retreat from the heat, and the lounge beckons with banquette seating and a swinging bird-nest chair.

Lunch and dinner are served daily, and hours stretch until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday.

Steak 954

W Fort Lauderdale hotel, 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-414-8333, Steak954.com

This oceanfront steak house with chic indoor and outdoor dining has introduced new rounds of cocktails, specialties and desserts.

Chef de cuisine Jason Smith has added lighter dishes of yellowfin tuna tartar with lemon aioli ($16), burrata salad with an unconventional twist of mint and tomato vinegar ($15), organic Scottish salmon with tomato relish and shaved fennel ($28), roasted cage-free chicken with caponata and saffron chicken jus ($28) and BLT sandwich ($12, lunch only). His new sides particularly stand out: grilled asparagus topped with crispy serrano ham and sunny-side egg and eyebrow-raising smoked cauliflower and kale (both $9).

Back from maternity leave, pastry chef Sarah Magoon has refreshed the dessert menu with frozen chocolate and peanut butter layer cake ($12), double caramelized chocolate panna cotta ($10), key lime baked Alaska ($10) and chocolate-cherry bread pudding ($10).

"We also really wanted to add a gluten-free option because we have so many requests for it, which is why I added the gluten-free cheesecake ($10)," she says.

Six new cocktails ($14-$15) include Hair Trigger with rye whiskey, orange shrub and blueberries, Diosa with tequila and pineapple shrub, and Remedy with vodka, chamomile tea, mint and honey-lemon syrup.

Palm Lounge

131 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, 561-672-7561, PalmLoungeBoca.com

As it approaches its first anniversary, this entertainment-driven bar has kicked off a bar-bites menu and specialty cocktails.

The munchies are available from 5 to 10 p.m. weekdays and until midnight Saturdays. There's crab salsa dip with tortilla chips ($10); spinach dip ($12); cheese plate with brie, Gorgonzola, goat cheese, fig jam and grapes ($15); garlic tomato basil with white bean dip, toast and Parmesan shards ($12); smoked turkey panini with brie, Dijon and pear ($12); and calzone ($12).

For heavier fare, neighbor Casa D'Angelo Ristorante delivers from its menu.

New cocktails ($12) are Palm Breeze with citrus vodka, cucumber and grapefruit splash, Tropical Breeze with St. Germain liqueur, mandarin vodka and strawberries, and raspberry lemonade with citrus vodka and Chambord.

The weekday happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. offers half-off well drinks, domestic beer and house wine.

Sazio Express

1136 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-276-2637

This eatery recently celebrated its grand opening in the renovated space of former Coco's Café just a couple of blocks from the beach. And, yes, it's a simpler version of the decade-old Sazio just west down the avenue.

"We wanted to leverage the reputation of the Sazio brand but in a fast-casual pizza/deli," says Tim Carres, Express co-owner. "Atlantic Avenue east of the Intracoastal is growing and is especially busy during season, so we are confident this is a location that will work out well."

Beer and wine are available to complement sandwiches ($6.50-$9.50), 20-inch pizzas ($19-$23 or by the slice), salads ($7.50-$12.50), and daily specials. Favorites are the seasonal salad with berries, goat cheese and candied walnuts ($9.50) and turkey-avocado hero with Swiss, bacon, tomato and ranch dressing on multi-grain bread ($8.50).

Quilted-pattern, stainless-steel wall panels mirror the design of a smattering of tabletops with aluminum-and-teak chairs inside and on the sidewalk. Passersby can glimpse pizza being crafted in the open kitchen with a display glass. Counter seating and chalkboard-style menus line the opposite wall.

Lunch and dinner are served daily with a late-night pizza window open Fridays and Saturdays. Delivery is in the works.

Email news to susan@editorguru.com or send to John Tanasychuk, Sun Sentinel, 500 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 900, 9th floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

Copyright © 2015, South Florida
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