Doors officially swung open late last month at Dune, Fort Lauderdale's newest, contemporary oceanfront eatery. The restaurant is the first East Coast culinary concept by the family-owned Auberge hospitality brand, known for its flagship Auberge du Soleil Resort and its Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa Valley.
The Auberge Beach Residences and Spa, which houses Dune, is a canvas of clean, neutral hues accented by pale ocean tones that frame the restaurant's interiors. Awaiting guests is an elegant dining room outfitted in leather and hand-carved woods, complemented with billowing curtains and tropical plants. With a central bar and a glass-enclosed wine cellar,
Chef Edgar Beas's menu is comprised of seasonal dishes that get the simple things right while delivering an element of surprise — a clever touch of flavors indigenous to different regions around the world.
"When creating the menu, it was important to us that the dishes evoke a sense of place," says Beas, who's worked in Spain, New Mexico, and at several restaurants in California. "Our biggest inspiration is the restaurant's stunning oceanfront setting. We created the menu to reflect Dune's relaxed beach house aesthetic, which is approachable and sophisticated while incorporating local, fresh, and sustainable ingredients."
Dinner is served daily, with plans for brunch and lunch coming in the new year. A charcoal-burning Josper oven is the focal point in Beas's kitchen; with the high, dry temperatures granting unique earthy tastes to the meats he cooks. Main courses include the house grind burger in a brioche bun with slab bacon, pickled red onion, aged white cheddar, and shoestring fries ($18). The rack of lamb is accompanied by charred cucumber, and warm olives, along with sumac and a tzatziki sauce, which are spices commonly found in Middle Eastern cuisine ($29).
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The menu's "Sea Offerings" section includes dishes like the whole, roasted branzino with charred lemon, heart of palm, and Vadouvan sauce ($34) and the pan-roasted wild salmon with melted leek, braised Tuscan kale, apple soubise, and pickled mustard seed ($29).
Guests can start their meal with appetizers including a coctel de camarón with shrimp, avocado, cucumber, and tomato ($15) or the seared day boat scallops, served with sea bean, shishito, orange segments, and ají amarillo, a yellow pepper used in many traditional Peruvian dishes ($18). For desert, options include the coconut pudding with strawberry, granita, macron crumble and passion fruit or the pumpkin semifreddo with molasses cake, candied pipettes, and coffee puree ($10 each).
And of course, given that the Auberge family's restaurant has been exceedingly successful in the Napa Valley, indulging in Dune's Napa-inspired wine list is a must. Another option is the Windows to the Past, a signature cocktail crafted with Maker's 46 bourbon, angostura bitters, orange zest and sugar cube ($16). For another treat, try the the Aurora, a concoction of Torres pisco, egg white, fresh squeezed lemon juice, seasonal fruit infusion, and Angostura bitters ($14).
Dune. Open daily 5 to 10 p.m. at 2200 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 754-900-4059; dunefl.com.