Make every weekend epic with our free Weekender newsletter. Sign up today!

Review: Sea Grill thinks Greek


It's not until you open the unassuming front door of Sea Grill that you realize just what kind of restaurant you've entered.

It has 240 seats, but the place looks massive, with nothing but a sea of white linens and table after table of patrons who appear to like to eat. Wine flows. More folks than I can remember in a very long time order after-dinner drinks. Maybe everyone was feeling the holiday spirit?

Uniformed busboys seem to be forever filling water glasses, fluffing tablecloths into place and doing all that needs to be done to efficiently maintain a successful, high-volume restaurant. You don't really notice the frenetic pace of the restaurant until you start looking for your server. It's my biggest quibble with Sea Grill. Waiters seem to be forever on their way to some other table. Maintaining their attention can be a chore. But doing so is well worth it.

Sea Grill is a seafood restaurant with a huge selection of expertly prepared fresh fish. But it's seafood with a Greek accent, where every meal should start with the shared appetizers that are now being served at every restaurant that calls its food "Mediterranean."

There's skordalia ($7), the garlic-and-almond spread that's best eaten on the warm pita triangles served alongside. There's melitzanosalata ($7), the creamy baby-eggplant spread that has a pleasant smoky flavor from being roasted before being pureed.

While the tomatoes in the large Greek salad ($15) were disappointingly dreary, a bit of extra salt did the trick in this lettuce-free mixture of cucumber, peppers, onions, kalamata olives and feta. Gigantes ($9) are giant white beans made tender from being slowly braised in tomato sauce. Baby-back ribs ($14), four to an order, are tenderly chargrilled and flavored with lemon, oregano and olive oil. Likewise, octopus ($19) is grilled and delicious with a squirt of fresh lemon.

In the Greek kitchen, flash-frying is a fine art. At Sea Grill, thin slices of zucchini and eggplant ($12) are served hot out of the fryer, stacked on a platter with a ramekin of tzatziki. Baby smelts ($12) get a light breading before being immersed in hot oil and served with more lemon. They are greaseless, crunchy and taste of the sea.

We could have easily made a meal of mezze, but moved onto charcoal-grilled head-on prawns ($32), bathed in lemon and olive oil. The kitchen nailed whole branzino ($38), which can be disastrous if left on the grill too long. The mildly flavored filet almost doesn't need the accompanying lemon and capers.

Because Sea Grill is a Greek restaurant, we couldn't resist charbroiled lamb chops ($34), which delivered on the tender front. Good Greek restaurants never deliver a dry lamb chop. Nor dry chicken ($22). Here, half of an organic bird is infused with the same olive-oil-and-lemon flavor of the chops, and cooked until the skin is crispy and golden.

For dessert, the house specialty known as milopita ($13) is well worth the 10-minute wait. A freeform round of puff pastry is loaded with caramelized apples, baked until puffy and warm and then served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's a big, fat Greek apple cake. Baklava ($7) is a generous slice of almonds, walnuts and cinnamon baked between layers of honey-soaked phyllo. And then, there's ekmek ($8), a kind of custard with pistachio whipped cream and shredded phyllo, brought to Greece by the Turks. When it's done well, as it is here, it tastes like a mash-up of France and the Middle East.

There isn't a bad item on the menu.

I also credit Sea Grill — along with Duffy's and Yakko-San Japanese just a few doors away — with bringing life back to what had been one of those seen-better-days strip malls. Good food can do that. or 954-356-4632. Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @FloridaEats.

Sea Grill

Intracoastal Mall, 3913 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach


Cuisine: Seafood/Greek

Cost: Expensive

Hours: Dinner daily, lunch Saturday-Sunday

Reservations: Suggested

Credit cards: All major

Bar: Full service

Sound level: Conversational

Outside smoking: Yes

For kids: Highchairs, boosters, menu items on request

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Parking: Free lot and valet

Copyright © 2017, South Florida