After the disappointing Jambalaya I had last time, I said I wouldn't be back, but it's a small town and it's next to Winn Dixie, so here I went again.
I went during lunch hour for a change, and there were a lot of tables. Luckily I got a booth. I don't like sitting at the bar here.
Shuck N' Dive Bar
The decorations are thickly New Orleans, with big paintings and Saints banners. Music is pretty jazzy.
Shuck N' Dive Artwork
They don't really have servers here. The bartender bounces out and there's a dude who walks around and seems to be a jack of all trades. He read me the specials, although I'd seen them on the board, and I ordered an Iced Tea, which comes in a big plastic cup.
Shuck N' Dive Iced Tea
I ordered a cup of gumbo, because I always do, and also a Dirty Bird, which is a blackened chicken sandwich with provolone and caramelized onions.
The gumbo is ladled out and delivered quickly.
Shuck N' Dive Gumbo
I got liquid this time; the last time they left that part out. I give the Gumbo here a B-; there's always something not quite right about it. The "roux" was pretty thin, there wasn't one bit of okra in the cup. It also wasn't spicy; like at all. I toyed with the idea of adding some hot sauce; they have some on the table.
Shuck N' Dive Hot Sauce
I tried a drop in a spoon before ruining the entire thing, and it didn't work. Tasted like Tabasco, which is just too vinegary to me. Still not a bad soup; just not nearly as good as it could be.
One huge annoyance is that there very weak 3G service with AT&T in this place, so I could barely use my phone. They're proud of their stupid "No Cellphones" policy, which is left over from when cell phones where used only for telephone calls. I wouldn't be surprised if they jammed the signals. It makes waiting for the food seem much longer.
Finally it came out.
Shuck N' Dive Dirty Bird
This is the best thing they have on the menu, despite all of the rich-sounding Cajun and Creole stuff. $10.99 is kind of steep; up $1 from last year.
Dirty Bird Sandwich
It's pretty messy also; a 4 napkin sandwich. The cole slaw is mayo-less, which makes it more like a salad to me. Not bad but I only ate 1/3 of it.
The no server model here means that there's no one dedicated to checking on your iced tea or when you need the check. I flagged down the dude from across the room and he brought me the bill; then the bartender girl came over to take my card and put it though. Neither of them offered a refill on the tea.
With only 1 place serving Cajun food in the City, this place has lots of awards. If you've had good Cajun food or ever been to New Orleans, you'll be disappointed in most of the food here. If your "other" experience is Creolina (a bad Cajun place that used to be in Himmarshee), then you'll probably think it's great. It's not great. But it's all we've got.
I was running late; too late for lunch generally but while stopping in at Winn Dixie I remembered that Thursday was Jambalaya day at Shuck N Dive. It's not on their regular menu and it's never been a special when I was there, so I'd never had a chance to try it.jump--> I'm a big Jambalaya fan; it's the measure that I often use to measure culinary skill.
The place was dead-empty, as most places are at 3pm; I declined a menu and just ordered a "bowl" of Jambalaya.
Shuck N'Dive Blackboard specials
They still write "MKT" ie Market Price on their blackboard, so I guess they don't decide how much to charge for things until just before you ask the price.
This stuff isn't made to order; it comes out right away; it's been steaming all day. Unfortunately, it had turned to mush, which happens when you steam rice for 4 hours.
Shuck N Dive Jambalaya
Aside from the mushy rice, the dish was wholly underwhelming. No Shrimp, not spicy enough and not enough vegetables (celery, onions and green pepper). It had kind of musty taste. Not even as good as the stuff from VooDoo BBQ.
No bread; the usual 2nd rate experience. I'm reducing the Food rating to 2.5. I've tried enough here.>
Shuck N Dive is the only "Cajun" restaurant in Fort Lauderdale; in fact it's the only one anywhere near Fort Lauderdale. It's a quirky place that's not nearly as good as you've heard; I tend not to like it, but it's close to where I live so it's a nice change of pace once in a while. It reminds me a lot of the Southport Raw Bar; sort of a backwards place that still does things in a way that worked in the 90s.
The first time I came here was pre-smart phone era, and they had a big sign at the bar "No Cell Phones". It was before people were obsessed with texting, and I thought it was a bit rude. Since then, it's become sort of a signature thing; they've even had a sign made up for the entrance.
Another "signature" is their chalkboard, where they have their daily specials. Lot's of places have chalkboards, but they make a big deal out of it.
Shuck N Dive Chalkboard Specials
It seems to me that it's pretty stupid to put "Mkt Price" on a chalkboard, since it's likely that they knew the price they were charging when they opened for the day, but they do it anyway. I probably would have ordered the soft shell crab, but it took my server awhile to get back to the table and I didn't feel like asking how much it was.
I was eating light, so I ordered a cup of gumbo and some fried green tomatoes. The gumbo was much different than before; in fact it didn't seem like a soup or even a stew. On the left is the last time I had it, and on the right was what I got today.
Shuck N Dive Gumbos
hardly any liquid, it was more like sausage and okra over rice in a roux. Not very spicy as usual and not the best andouille, but a decent cup of stuff. The fried tomatoes were more colorful.
Shuck N Dive Fried Green Tomatoes
I thought they were cut too thin, which results in too much batter and not enough tomato. Lightly battered thick cut tomatoes are where it's at. Too much gloop and batter.>
Too bad they didn't put the price on the crab; I probably would have liked that better.
Service was haphazard as usual; the servers were sitting at the bar while the bartender came out occasionally to take orders and deliver food.
Not a good visit today. Serves me right for ordering something "Cajun" instead of sticking to the blackened burgers and chicken. I know better than that.
The Shuck 'N Dive is your typical neighborhood New Orleans style restaurant. Its a pretty nice place, with good music playing and a clean looking interior with Mardi Gras, LSU and Saints decor. There's a central bar with 3 TVs (one large flat screen), with 6 booths and 6 tables for dining. Outside there are some pub tables and picnic benches for outdoor dining.
The atmosphere attempts a New Orleans theme, they have music like "Jambalaya" and "I'm leaving here walking" and some pretty cool artwork on the walls.
Shuck N Dive Art
The food here is decent, but if you're expecting Emeril's orÂ you're a real authenticity snob you'll be disappointed. Also, if you're craving Jambalaya, forget it. Its only an occasional special. I tend not to like the usual suspects at this place, but some things are really good. I've had the Dirty Bird and really enjoyed it; it's blackened chicken on a roll with onions and melted cheese.
I decided to try the Gumbo, so I ordered a cup of that and an iced tea while I decided on my main course. It came out fairly quickly.
Shuck N Dive cup of Gumbo
It was a decent gumbo. A little spicy, the only downer being a stringy piece of okra that wasn't quite cooked enough. It also was a pretty small portion for $4.99, considering that it didn't have much in it that cost much. I had ordered the Bayou Burger; a half pound blackened burger with onions and melted provolone. Basically it's a dirty bird with a burger instead of chicken.
Shuck N Dive Bayou Burger
The cole slaw is very good here; a non-mayo version that's more like a cabbage salad. The burger has fantastic flavors, and it's just a greasy mess to eat. While everyone else is tinkering with gimmicks like nueske bacon and tillamook cheese; here you get a big, blackened burger with a slice of red onion and some provolone and it's as good as a burger can be for $8.99.
I tend not to like the typical cajun items in this restaurant; the rice and beans, etc. When I've had it they didn't use the really good andouille sausage.
Service here is quirky but friendly. A guy on a ladder brought me a menu and the server didn't make regular passes and I ended up waiting quite a while after I'd finished to get my check. Note that although they have a lot of TVs and the Sunday Ticket, this is a Saints bar, so you may not find the game you want anywhere.