Background: Elliot Wolf and Merv Jonata own the adjoining Coconuts, which sits directly on the Intracoastal. When the dive shop that now houses G & B moved out, they jumped at the chance to open. "Every major city you go to has these places," says Wolf, who once worked for Shaw's Crab House in Chicago. "A place where you can grab a dozen oysters and a glass of wine. We just felt that was something that was missing down here." Wolf and Jonata couldn't find a good source for oysters, so they work directly with oystermen in Virginia, New York and Washington.
First impression: While it sometimes feels that G & B acts as a waiting room for Coconuts, plenty of folks now recognize the charm of the G & B menu. It's more bar than restaurant, which is sometimes just what you want. The restaurant, open since last December, is named after Wolf's children, Gates and Bennett.
Ambience: No, it doesn't have the Intracoastal view like Coconuts, but there are cameras on the roof and three TV screens mounted on the wall. So you get your live waterfront vista. Close to 60 people can sit at high-top tables. Weather permitting, two oversize garage doors are opened to provide a view of the enormous parking lot.
Oysters: The other night, the oyster menu featured Naked Cowboy ($2.25 each) from Long Island; Mayflower Point ($2.75 each) from Cape Cod Bay; Hurricane Island ($2.75 each) from Prince Edward Island; Rappahannock River ($2 each) from Chesapeake Bay, Va.; Gigamoto ($2.75 each) from British Columbia; and Kusshi ($3 each) from Vancouver Island, B.C. There were also Florida clams ($1.50 each) from Sebastian.
Starters: Boquerones ($10), marinated anchovies on crostini, are fresh, briny bites. Ceviche ($8) the other night was made with snapper, avocado and just enough citrus.
Entree excellence: Much of the menu is meant for sharing, but the "Full Plates" section includes cioppini ($22), crispy snapper ($23), linguine and clams ($21), New York strip steak ($27) and stuffed shrimp ($18). Oyster Po' Little Boys ($11) featured fried oysters and red remoulade on soft, white rolls. Oysters Rockefeller ($12) were a nice version with plenty of creamy spinach. Fish of the day was hog snapper ($24) simply prepared for the calorie-conscious but served with a peculiar yucca cake that needed more seasoning. Wolf says they'll soon be adding more nonseafood items to the menu.
Sweet! The Key lime pie ($7) was exceptional, but a fan of chocolate declared the chocolate pecan pie ($7) an even better ending to dessert. While not everyone liked the ice cream sandwich ($8), the cookie-crusted sandwich cut into four was good by me.
Service: While an 18 percent gratuity is automatically added, our waitress deserved every cent. Despite the crowded restaurant, she kept checking by the table to see that we had everything we needed
Liquid assets: A nice selection of draft beer included Drifter Pale Ale and Magic Hat #9 (both $5).
— John Tanasychuk
email@example.com or 954-356-4632. Read his blog at SunSentinel.com/sup and follow him on Twitter at @FloridaEats.
G & B Oyster Bar
429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Hours: Dinner Monday-Saturday
Reservations: Not taken
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Full service
Sound level: Noisy when full
Outside smoking: No
For kids: Highchairs, menu
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: Complimentary valet