Not everything was as flawless. The fish of the day was grilled mahi-mahi ($18) perched over yellow rice with a rustic "pico de gallo" made with tomatoes and hearts of palm. "It's too bad," said my dad, John, "because the flavors are so fresh, but the fish is way overcooked." I thought the same of the "Southwestern paella" ($16). It was less like paella than a sauté of mussels, shrimp, and scallops plated on top of Spanish rice (albeit, nicely).

More my speed: tamales ($12) stuffed with shredded beef and napped in a red sauce made from ancho and chipotle chilies. I asked our waiter if I could have it spicy, and the kitchen obliged. The tart, slightly smoldering heat of the sauce paired well with creamy yellow masa. I could taste the chicken stock, the cumin, and the corn husk it was cooked in too. I have never seen a tamale plated so beautifully. Buchanan has a painterly eye for his plates — I think it does make the food taste better.

The "Bluejay" burger, with blue cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and roasted horseradish.
Candace West
The "Bluejay" burger, with blue cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and roasted horseradish.
Soft corn tacos featuring skirt steak.
Candace West
Soft corn tacos featuring skirt steak.

Location Info

Map

Bluejay's Cafe

330 Himmarshee St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fort Lauderdale

Details

Bluejay's Cafe, 330 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Open for lunch 11:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and dinner 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Open for brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 954-306-8792, or click here.

Bluejay's has the requisite bistro burger, and it's damned good. The house version, called the "Bluejay" burger ($10), is a moist, glistening inch of beef, larded with blue cheese and applewood-smoked bacon and nestled into a warm brioche bun. My brother Chris swore he'd return to try the green chili-topped version. But for me, I'll take my green chili over breakfast, particularly the huevos rancheros ($8). Bluejay's serves those ranch-hand eggs just right: their yolks slightly oozing over a griddled corn tortilla, with roasted potatoes, tomatoes, and red onion sopping up the juice. I'd slather a bite with some roasted tomato salsa that comes in a metal tin on the side, take a big sip of coffee, and soak in the wonderful weather that is just now trickling into town. Yep. That feels about right.

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