Sunday, October 7, 2012

Shula's on the Beach - Fort Lauderdale

Well now that football season has officially been on for a month, I know many of you are glued to the T.V. on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. If you live in Miami, and you're a Dolphin fan, then you're probably feeling a little nervous right now. No need to worry. This is going to be THE year - because exactly four decades ago, the Miami Dolphins did something amazing. Let's reminisce shall we?  The year was 1972. Don Shula was the Head Coach for the Dolphins. They were smoking hot and he led them to win the Super Bowl with a Perfect Season; an accomplishment no other team has achieved since. This year Shula's Steakhouse is celebrating the 40th anniversary of this unique feat by offering some specials and contests, including an all inclusive, five-day, four-night getaway to Tuscany in Italy.
With Dave Shula
Being the loyal Dolfan I am, I was thrilled to be part of a dinner celebrating the Perfect Season at Shula's on the Beach, located in the Westin Beach Resort at 321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant's relaxed yet elegant ambiance is perfect for a romantic evening or a business lunch, while you catch a breathtaking ocean view from inside the dining room or out on the terrace. I loved the decor, featuring dark wood accents, and the impressive wine wall that accentuated the space.

No Name Cocktail
We started off the adventure with a special cocktail created exclusively for this yearlong celebration and very appropriately named the No Name Cocktail. I'm sure if you're a Dolphin fan you'll know why it's named this way. During the 1972 season, the Miami Dolphins defense didn't have any famous players, at least in comparison to its offense, which included Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and legendary "Cool n Easy" Bob Griese. The No Name Cocktail is a delicious and refreshing tribute to this era;  featuring the turquoise and orange Dolphin colors, and made with Grey Goose l'orange, St. Germaine, Aperol, Fresh Lemon Juice, a splash of Simple Syrup, and the grand finale: a Blue Curacao Foam to top it off. The best part? You get to keep the glass, which is etched with Don Shula's signature. Pure nostalgia! I'm displaying mine at home right next to my Super Bowl Snacks cookbook.

Dave Shula giving us a pep talk before the big meal

Blackened Tenderloin Tips
Fried Calamari
For starters, we sampled three: The Blackened Tenderloin Tips, the Fried Calamari, and the Seafood Cocktail. The Blackened Tenderloin Tips were so tender they practically melted in my mouth, and the tasty Bearnaise and barbecue sauces served on the side were a perfect complement.  My only concern was that I couldn't stop eating them and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish the meal. (Fat chance that would happen.) The Fried Calamari were just as spectacular, with a smooth texture and a slightly crispy exterior. Lightly breaded and flash fried, they came served with a tomato coulis and mustard aioli.

Seafood Cocktail
The Field Goal of the appetizers, though, was the Seafood Cocktail. Sweet, succulent lobster adorned the plate and made our hearts skip a beat. It had a delicate texture and a distinct, buttery taste. It was a delight to just pull them out of the shell and dip them into the delicious, accompanying sauces.

Surf and Turf
Caesar Salad
Since I couldn't decide whether to order one of Shula's Signature Cuts or a lobster tail, (these are a few of my favorite things), I figured I'd go for the best of both worlds and chose the Surf and Turf. It was an 8oz Shula Cut filet mignon paired with a cold water lobster tail. The filet  was cooked to my specifications, and extraordinarily tender and tasty. The lobster tail was grilled to perfection and served with drawn butter. I was enjoying my entree so much, I wanted to call time-out half way through the meal just to make it last longer. The dish was served with a fresh and crisp Caesar Salad.

Double Baked Potato
Crab Mac and Cheese
There are a number of sides to order at Shula's that are both mouthwatering and generous enough for two. While I've sampled several,  my favorite are the Double Baked Potato and the Crab Mac and Cheese. I have to tell you that I had leftovers so I brought some home, and they tasted just as fabulous the next day. The Double Baked Potato was creamy and oh so smooth. It was very difficult to share without getting a little anxious every time the other person dipped their spoon in it. And the Crab Mac and Cheese was a signature favorite. It was very cheesy, filled with nice chunks of crab, and had a delicious toasty crust that was unforgettable. Definitely a must-have.

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

Seasonal Berries
As dessert time approached, I could feel my excitement rising. No fumbles and no penalties so far. The pleasant and knowledgeable servers walked over and we were ready for the pass.  One by one they set down the sweets: Molten Lava Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake and Seasonal Berries served in an almond florentine basket. Their famous Molten Lava Chocolate Cake was the first one that spoke to me, but that shouldn't be a surprise at this point. It was rich and decadent, and served with creme anglaise sauce and vanilla ice cream. I still dream of it sometimes. The Cheesecake was light and creamy and served with a variety of berries. A nice, refreshing finale. The almond florentine basket the Seasonal Berries were served in was crisp in taste and together with the sweet, fresh berries and the vanilla ice-cream, provided an interesting combination of textures.

I really enjoyed boarding this time capsule and taking a stroll through 1972 (not that I was even remotely close to being born yet); to a time where the Dolphins reigned supreme. From the appetizers to the desserts, Shula's on the Beach scored a touchdown every time  With all the celebrations and specials going on this year at Shula's, and with the amazing adventure I had, I will most certainly be coming back this season. For more information or to make reservations, you can contact them at 954-355-4000 or visit them online at

Shula's on the Beach on Urbanspoon

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