While it can be uncomfortably awkward, change tends to be a good thing -- or so they say.
In the case of restaurants, it can go either way.
Over the past year, Fort Lauderdale's 3030 Ocean has seen an astronomical amount of change.
Founder and longtime executive chef Dean James Max and his most recent chef de cuisine, Jeremy Ford left; and former chef de cuisine Paula DaSilva returned as executive chef after opening and presiding over the nationally acclaimed 1500 Degrees in Miami.
Yes, it's been a big exchange, but it's a welcome change of pace in the Fort Lauderdale dining scene.
With the announcement of a new brunch pop up at the restaurant, we decided to have a chat with DaSilva about the modifications and how they've been received.
Clean Plate Charlie: We recently heard that you're planning a new brunch program. What do you have in store?
DaSilva: We're doing a little bit of a pop up brunch series, one per month in March 16, April 13, and May 18. We're still putting together the details, but we knew we wanted to do something different, and we've never done a brunch before. We're planning to set up outside with live music so people can get a nice ocean breeze, depending on the weather. We're still tweaking it for now.
We recently dined at the restaurant, and noticed the food has changed quite a bit. It's more rustic and less put together. When did you start changing the menu over?
I started almost immediately with some small changes, but I really went full force about two months into it when I brought in my sous chef from 1500, Adrienne Grenier, as chef de cuisine. When she came in came in November we made the changes we really needed to make.
How has it been received so far?
The majority of the feedback has been great. Some people frequented the restaurant for years and saw a big difference in the style. Some said they liked the old menu better, but have tried it and really like the food.
You obviously started off your career at 3030 and you've diverged from the fine dining and modern composed dishes that were served at the restaurant. Where do you find inspiration?
My style has evolved so much over the last few years. As I grow older and continue to grow, I draw inspiration from so many things: restaurants, T.V., other chefs. I tend to sway more toward a comfortable feel. As you grow older, you want to get back to that comfort zone. I've done everything, from dishes that take 35 steps to create with everything in the right place with tweezers, but I love casual places with really good food that you can enjoy, and know what it is. I also love fine dining with a clean modern approach, but there's been an evolution to how my style has changed.
Even while working at 1500 Degrees, you lived in Broward. Where do you like to eat up here?
I live in Coconut Creek, so I go to a lot of ethnic places out west. I go to a Greek place called Ethos. There are great Indian places out there; Cuban, that's kind of how I like to eat. I head to Delray Beach to 3rd and 3rd; it's really casual with good food. I like sitting at the bar at Market 17 to eat charcuterie.
What has it been like coming back to Broward -- good, bad, bittersweet?
The change has been good and bittersweet. 1500 was an amazing restaurant; it was my baby, I started it from the ground up. But 3030 was my home for ten years, so coming back and taking it to the future is also amazing. It's been good. People have been really receptive. So, it's all of it, really.
After spending so long running a kitchen in the nationally recognized restaurant scene in Miami, what do you see as the difference between dining options in Miami and Fort Lauderdale?
It's still so many years behind. Miami is light years ahead of Fort Lauderdale, from the diners and expectations to types of restaurants; you really notice the difference from one market to another. Delray is booming; Miami is booming. I'm not sure if chefs aren't sure about starting new restaurants or what people are comfortable with, but I think Fort Lauderdale going to get there. It looks like it just needs some more time.
Aside from the brunch series, do you have any other new programs at the restaurant?
The cocktail program is awesome. I've been working Taylor Hall, the restaurant manager, by letting her know what's in season and what's about to come in. They're changing anywhere from six to eight cocktails per season based on what's around and available. We do a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., and I recently took over the menu at the bar. We're doing really good bar food like poutine, ribs, and duck confit wings on the casual bar menu, but guests can also order from the full blown 3030 menu, as well. We started doing that on January 31.
3030 Ocean is located at 3030 Holiday Drive in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-4000, or visit 3030ocean.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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