I was thinking about going to Fresh First, but I couldn't pull the trigger. On a beautiful day, I turned left and went into Bimini Boatyard instead. I heard that they had a new "chef"; the lousy wings I had last time are off the menu, so I thought I'd check it out.jump-->
Interestingly, the 2 hostesses are both Caribbean, while all of the servers are white folk. The Bimini Boatyard is faux Caribbean; we all know that, but it's interesting how they try hard to pretend.
I got seated in one of the semi-booths that have big pillows that serve no purpose other than as decorations.
Bimini Boatyard Booths
There are a surprising number of people here; maybe unsuspecting tourists, or maybe people trying to re-live the past. Back in the day, the Bimini Boatyard was the hottest spot south of Mangos.
Bimini Boatyard Dining Room
My server was a low-talking mumbler, which is always a problem. They had a seafood pot pie as special, which seemed like a bad idea to me. I ordered an iced tea while I pondered the menu.>
Bimini Boatyard Iced Tea
They have skinny glasses that don't hold enough tea. Service isn't good enough here to keep this from being constantly empty, which is was.
I thought about the seafood chowder, but decided to try the gumbo. I also ordered the Shrimp and Lobster Mac and Cheese. The soup came out first.
Bimini Boatyard's Bogus Shrimp Gumbo
Clearly, this isn't a gumbo; gumbos are supposed to have gravy-like texture. This tasted like a bisque. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anything like what I expected or hoped for. As a gumbo, this soup is a complete failure. Zero spiciness.
When they brought out the Mac and Cheese, I had to hide my displeasure on an overall basis.
Bimini Boatyard Lobster Shrimp Mac and Cheese
The sprig of Italian Parsley shows that they have no idea how to do presentation, so they shouldn't make fools of themselves by trying. The issue here was the portion; this isi $16? This is a $5 side dish that they charge $11 extra for 2 medium shrimp and some "lobster", if it was lobster. And you'd think that a Caribbean restaurant would at least make the shrimp interesting and a bit spicy instead of just letting them curl up on the grill.
Bimini Boatyard Lobster Shrimp Mac and Cheese
The lobster didn't taste like lobster and it was chewy; probably garbage warm-water lobster. >
So for $28 I got about $11 worth of food and an iced tea. Another restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where you leave feeling like someone stole your wallet.
And the only thing worse than sitting in a restaurant that you feel is ripping you off is when you can't get your check. My server disappeared, leaving me with a table with an empty glass and an empty bowl. You'd think one of the other servers who walked by with pitchers of iced tea would notice and at least pour me a refill, but that doesn't happen here.
Bimini Boatyard Empties
The Bimini Boatyard. It was probably never much good, but it's much worse now.
There was a time when the Bimini Boatyard was THE place to be, particularly on Friday nights. They have a nice patio on the water, and it's still a nice place to go on weekend afternoons and happy hour, but the crowd is nowhere near the same as it once was. There were fewer choices back then, and more people who were born locals rather than transplants.
I'd had lunch at Bimini before; I got the simply grilled fish and it was a very small portion. It was before I had this site fully figured out. But I wasn't all that impressed. They've had a change in the kitchen since then, and although their menu is largely the same, there are a lot of compelling choices. Their jerk wings are one of the few I hadn't tried, so I thought I'd give it a try.
While the bar and patio are the big pull of this place, I opt'ed to eat in the dining room to get the full experience. They have a lot of booths with big, squishy cushions and big throw pillows that serve only as decorations; a bit too squishy for me. The dining room is busy even though there are few customers; there are people flying all over. It's hard to get a picture without them.
Bimini Boatyard DiningRoom
I knew that I was ordering wings; I could take them home for a snack if I didn't eat them all, so I needed something else. While this place isn't all that inexpensive (they have no lunch menu, so you're paying dinner prices), they do offer a dozen oysters for $10, which is less than a buck a pop. Some places offer oysters for $1.50 apiece as a special, so this a good deal. A real low-carb lunch.
While all of the runners are teenage kids, servers are professional. Little bits of paper on the table disappeared whenever she stopped by. Iced tea was filled before it was empty.
The oysters and the wings came out at the same time. >I usually order 1/2 dozen oysters; this was a pretty big plate.
Bimini Boatyard Oysters
They give you a mild cocktail sauce and plenty of horseradish to kick it up. Enough lemons, and the oysters were nicely shucked. Only a few bits of shell in the whole lot. The oysters are a winner; a great deal for $10. too.
Bimini Boatyard Jerk Chicken Wings
The wings, however were disappointing. The disappointing part was that they had no spice at all. They were more sweet than spicy, with a clear, sticky sauce. This is certainly not close to the standard Jerk with fresh thyme, scallions and scotch bonnet peppers. To make matters worse, the sauce included was terrible. If it was supposed to be blue cheese, it was the worst I can remember having. After eating 3 wings I decided to bring the rest home, where I could at least have the wings with a good blue cheese dressing. They also shouldn't serve them on the lettuce, which was sticking to the sticky wings and I constantly had to pick it off.
I'd have to say that this is an ok lunch place; the wings weren't bad; they just weren't what I was hoping for. They have some other interesting dishes that you can't get elsewhere, and prices are moderate. They didn't charge me for the iced tea, either.