A Brighter Yesterday

Moonraker on the Water

Indeed, it's a shame the staff can't get it together, because the kitchen is doing an admirable job. With the exception of the quesadilla, the appetizers were served at proper temperatures, and fried foods were remarkably nongreasy. We disliked one main course -- the sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna-steak salad -- but only because the wedge of tuna was so thick with sesame seeds it looked like a bird feeder that you hang in the trees. Otherwise the combination of napa cabbage and Asian vegetable slaw, tossed with soy-ginger vinaigrette, was aromatic, and the tuna itself was tender and rare.

The meat loaf, too, was succulent, served with sage-scented mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh broccoli. Horseradish-and-crab-crusted snapper, a special that evening, was delightfully flaky, the mild fish complemented by a fruit salsa comprising melon, pineapple, and kiwi. A pasta dish called "rigatoni roasted chicken," the best of all, boasted a flavorful amount of balsamic vinegar-glazed poultry strips, along with pine nuts, toasted garlic, verdant broccoli, mushrooms, and vibrant sun-dried tomatoes. An unbilled dollop of goat cheese on top, which our waiter thought "might be sour cream," unified and mellowed the ingredients into a sumptuous dish.

The wine list is impressively inexpensive, too, with labels like the Australian Oxford Landing chardonnay selling for less than $25. Dessert, however, can be disillusioning. Our crème brûlée was ice cold and unappealing, and its burnt-sugar crust tasted like the inside of a refrigerator. Thank goodness the food-runner didn't show up with this particular course three times.

The yellowfin tuna-steak salad looks as if it's for the birds, but people should like it, too
Melissa Jones
The yellowfin tuna-steak salad looks as if it's for the birds, but people should like it, too

Details

Dinner daily from 5 till 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday till midnight.
Closed Location

Moonraker, which was named for the reflection of the moon on the water, has a terrific view of the Intracoastal. The panorama is so pretty that most tables face the water, and few people sit with their backs to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that enclose the restaurant; in fact, if you're seated at one of the lower-tier tables, it can feel as if everyone is staring at you rather than the moon-raked water. You'd think that, with a setting like this, decently prepared fare, and a managing team that's been in the business for a quarter of a century, disturbing glitches would have been caught before they even had a chance to form. But you never know what a new restaurant, any more than a new millennium, will bring to the table.

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