By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
The waitress seemed sure of herself when it came to the entrees, however. The egg-battered grouper with a Grand Marnier sauce looked like a beautiful, lightly breaded fillet dressed with cream. But it tasted -- and I do not exaggerate -- like bleach, as if it had been run through the dishwasher with the plates. This was a dangerously bad piece of fish, a victim of either extreme spoilage or an attempt to make it smell more appealing. (Sometimes cooks or purveyors soak fish and meats in a mild bleach solution to "freshen" them.) But the server assured us we didn't like the fish because of the liqueur that had been added to the sauce. Sorry, Grand Marnier tastes like oranges, not kitchen cleanser.
A replacement cheeseburger was brought willingly enough, but the disk of meat was greasy and gristly, and the accompanying French fries half-cooked. A special of the house, the open-faced Osprey steak sandwich, was likewise dripping with fat, the garlic bread covered with sliced filet mignon so dry it had cracked in places like a sidewalk in summer. A garnish of sauteed onions and peppers, a drizzle of gravy, and a lid of melted mozzarella just made the whole thing messier.
If the steak was suffering from drought, then the chicken Parmesan with linguine had just gone through a rainy season. A watery tomato sauce had turned the breading on the pounded fillet mushy, and overcooking had rendered the linguine -- which was actually spaghetti -- lifeless.
The final insult was the bill. After the waitress added incorrectly, she insisted she was on target. "Watch, I'll do it again," she offered, ungraciously. "Why don't you bring your calculator to the table," we suggested, "and we'll all do it with you." Ah, teamwork. As it turned out, she'd overcharged us by $8.
Before visiting the Osprey, I'd been hopeful. The seemingly jinxed location was last occupied by Memphis Barbecue Company -- and about five restaurants before that. But early on, local residents claimed the curse was over. Bright, tropical murals of birds of paradise were added to the walls, and a martini crowd packs the bar. In Lighthouse Point, residents are frequent, rather than fine, diners, so they could use a casual place to eat. But one visit to the Osprey will convince them that casual, at least at this location, is not the way to go.
The Osprey. 3850 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point, 954-788-7995. Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday till 11 p.m.
Smoked fish dip
Osprey steak sandwich
Grouper Grand Marnier