By Hook and Crook

Through a quarter-century, Fin & Claw never says die

Try not to scarf down too much corn bread before your appetizers; this delicious yellow cake tastes great with the Schlagers´ oyster stew ($9.95), a half-dozen fat oysters sautéed golden and plunked into peppery cream broth. It´ll also save you from my own brush with disaster: I stupidly dumped a package of oysterette crackers into the mix they were so stale and tasteless that they nearly ruined my soup. Skip ´em.

Two sizzling disks of pure deliciousness make up a Baltimore crab cake appetizer ($10.95, $19.95 as an entrée), a brittle, lacy crust just barely strong enough to hold together luscious white meat, a trace of the sea with a whisper of cream, minced celery, and parsley.

We ate every bite, picked the last crumbs of corn bread out of the skillet, groaned, pushed back our chairs, folded our napkins... and realized we still had a three-course meal coming.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Fin & Claw

2476 N. Federal Highway
Lighthouse Point, FL 33064

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Pompano Beach

Details

Fin & Claw II, 2476 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday 11 a.m. till 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 4:30 till 10 p.m. Call 954-782-1060.

I don´t know what we thought we were gonna do at this point with the broiled fisherman´s platter ($29.95) or a dish of flounder Ponchartrain ($28.95), along with all the free stuff that came with it. I suppose we could have created a funky art installation or lobbed scallops at each other or made a generous donation to a food bank. But we sure as hell weren´t going to eat it were we?

Well, yes, in fact, we were. And we were going to eat the rather lackluster iceberg and veg salad, ladled with a choice of blue cheese, caesar, or Thousand Island dressings straight from one of those metal three-way dressing caddies. We were going to slurp through the cup of Manhattan clam chowder, a soup that finally failed to inspire: The clams were chopped so fine that they´d overcooked. We were going to eat the seasoned rice and the mashed potatoes and the creamed spinach all of which were pretty yummy. And by the time we´d put down all that broiled seafood medium scallops, lobster tail, flounder fillet, oysters Rockefeller, and shrimp mounded with seasoned crab meat and made a decent pass through a flounder Ponchartrain topped with shrimp and smothered in a cheesy, mustardy cream sauce, we were almost too done in to think about apple strudel ($3.95 and when was the last time you saw a dessert listed at that price?).

You have to hand it to the Schlagers: They don´t skimp on the food. This restaurant is like a pink-and-turquoise testament to the idea that there is always enough of everything for anybody. And while we enjoyed our fancy dishes, I think I´d go back to Fin & Claw for the simple classics fried oysters or potato pancakes, sautéed fresh fillet of red snapper, a crabmeat cocktail, a bucket of steamed mussels. My impression is that the broiled offerings can overcook quickly, and timing can be an issue. Although a whispered word to your server when you order (¨Please tell Mr. Schlager I like my salmon just barely poached¨) might resolve this.

Something went wrong with our strudel (yes, we ordered that too); the pastry layers, meant to be gently browned, transparent and crisp, were seriously undercooked, in fact, raw. And somebody had been mighty heavy-handed with the cinnamon. Which is to say that Fin & Claw can occasionally be uneven.

Still, the place will call you back for the warmth of the hosts and servers, the freshness of the seafood, and the satisfaction of your own infantile nostalgias.

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