First, the bad news about golden crabs: They're as ugly as a hockey player's nose, and their dining habits are macabre. Bearing a striking resemblance to giant spiders, they live in the deep sea and feed on corpses and carcasses, especially favoring rancid eyeballs. But the meat within a golden crab is oh-so-sweet -- not to mention plentiful. Some weigh up to five pounds. It was only in the 1980s that researchers discovered them in great quantities in the deep waters off the Florida coast, and since then, they've been slowly catching on with seafood aficionados. Captain Mike's gets its golden crabs off the shores of Miami Beach from depths of about 1200 feet and sells them whole for $2.69 a pound. Once cooked, they glow like burnished bullion and taste like a million bucks.
Clever name, considering that this storefront coffeehouse is at the junction of Second Street and Second Avenue. But that's not why we fall for the joint, which is all about high-octane fuel that's not even close to motor oil. It's actually refreshing to have this nonalcoholic haven to fall back on after we've tied on a bender at Tarpon Bend or chased with one too many sidecars at Side Bar. And unlike at most garages, the service here is actually friendly, encouraging those whose engines are stalling to stop in for a quick fix. The only irony? Well, parking on this street is a little tough.
The number-one reason this place is kid-positive: It's loud. Thanks to the minimalist décor, even the crankiest of two-year-olds will be drowned out by the echoing conversations of other diners or by the sounds emanating from the open kitchen. Not that there are many reasons for a child or an adult to wail here. Almost as soon as your party is seated, the fruit of your loins will be handed a fruit, vegetable, and quesadilla plate. This is the first of three courses from the outrageous "keiki" (kid's) menu, which features entrées like teriyaki chicken breast, broiled short luau ribs, and flat-top seared Hawaiian catch of the day, as well as the standby favorite, pasta. While you peruse the extensive wine and sake list, your progeny can munch happily on her food or scrawl all over her menu with a crayon. The children's selections are as artfully prepared as the adult's meals, and they are as beautiful as they are delicious, served sizzling, freshly made, and decorated with flowers. Parties with children are not relegated to the dark corners of the restaurant, mostly because there aren't any. All the servers are professionally friendly without being too cute to your kid or too personal with you. The only thing missing from this restaurant is a diaper deck in the men's bathroom, though dads can pop next door to the Holiday Inn and use those. That's a small price to pay for the glee in your child's eyes as she is led away to the kitchen to watch the pastry chef prepare her sundae. The three-course kid's meal costs $9.95, which is less than you'll pay for a sitter; the whole evening will certainly cost less than a family trip to Hawaii.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

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