We would bet that at least 75 percent of our visitors come to South Florida for the beach. Aside from the beautiful people, it's probably our best asset. That being said, there aren't too many hotels or restaurants situated directly on the beach.
And then there's the Pelican Grand Hotel. While it did take on a new executive chef, Todd Lough, last spring, the property recently completely overhauled its onsite restaurant: Ocean 2000.
The newly remodeled interior was revealed to the public on January 21. Sleek white booths, modern lighting, and oceanic-inspired prints and decorations create a modern beachy feel. While the view has always been stunning, the contemporary space has strayed away from the touristy hotel restaurant feel.
To bring the cuisine up to date, Executive Chef Todd Lough has worked with the corporate team to introduce more regional and seasonal menu to the spot. Being that it is an oceanside restaurant, fresh fish and seafood dishes make up a large portion of the menu. Lough and his team work to source local products, as much as possible.
Given the cultural influences in South Florida, the menu has also taken on a strong Latin influence. Aside from dinners like the Roasted Cuban Pork Shank ($22) and Florida Yellowtail Snapper A La Plancha ($28), the restaurant has opted to feature many Latin-inspired small plates and tapas style dishes intended for sharing. Guava BBQ ribs ($9), local fish ceviche ($12), and fresh homemade chorizo ($8) showcase the Latin tapas influence on the menu.
While the place is working to update its concept by highlighting local cultural influence, the restaurant will still feature traditional hotel fare. "We're still a hotel restaurant, so we need to be accessible for everyone," says Lough, "We want to attract a local following with different regional fare, but we need to be able to cater to hotel guests that want classics. We're still doing traditional dishes like caesar salads, but we're doing them the right way with great homemade croutons and dressing. We're focusing on making everything from scratch."
Lough has been steadily making improvements to the restaurant since starting last April. His main focus has been to train staff to make everything in-house, from scratch. Eventually, he would like to update the brunch menu with some a la carte offerings. According to Lough,"It takes times to institute so many changes. Right now our main focus is to really work on dinner and draw that local crowd."