Boathouse at the Riverside has officially launched as a dock-and-dine, waterfront restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. The spot celebrated its grand opening March 13.
The indoor/outdoor eatery is the newest addition to the historic Riverside Hotel, which also houses longtime establishments Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille and Indigo Restaurant. The Mediterranean-inspired Boathouse offers 102 seats outside and 52 inside — including a 35-seat indoor/outdoor bar and lounge for a combined 5,573 square feet and 50 feet of dock space.
Executive chef Toby Joseph says the menu includes an array of hot and cold tapas paired with several coastal-inspired main courses. Joseph is also executive chef of the hotel's sister establishments and helms the Boathouse kitchen alongside chef de cuisine Alia Asher and pastry chef Annabel Asher-Solly.
Joseph says he wanted the menu to offer items not readily available in Fort Lauderdale. "The concept is entirely different from the cuisine currently offered in the area, and I wanted to play with bold flavors while highlighting fresh ingredients, so Mediterranean cuisine was the way to go."
Hot tapas ($6 to $18) include duck-fat potatoes with chimichurri and aioli; paella negra with octopus, mussels, and chorizo; and an herb-crusted lamb chop served with charred endive, heirloom tomato, and mint.
Cold tapas ($6 to $12) offer house-made chickpea hummus served with sun-dried tomato pesto and fresh-baked flatbread; pickled mussels with red-pepper mayo and fried crostini; and fruta de mer with squid, octopus, and shrimp.
"I really love the pickled mussels with red-pepper mayo and fried crostini. Pickling the mussels really gives this dish well-balanced flavors — you get vinegar notes from pickling, a little sweetness, saltiness, and a touch of acidity," Joseph says. "You can’t get pickled mussels anywhere else on Las Olas, and it’s one of this menu's most unique dishes."
To prepare the dish, the kitchen steams fresh mussels and uses the leftover stock to form a base for the pickling liquid. From there, sherry vinegar, paprika, chives, salt, orange zest, rosemary, and parsley are used to marinate the mussels, which are served cold alongside the toasted crostini and roasted red-pepper aioli.
Boathouse classics ($10 to $16) include more standard items such as a burger, a grilled chicken sandwich, and spiced, oven-baked baby-back ribs. Also on the menu is a Serrano pizza, topped with sun-dried tomatoes, almond pesto, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and shaved Manchego, as well as oven-roasted chicken wings garnished with smoked paprika and balsamic caramelized onions.
"A lot of people don’t know that Mediterranean cuisine encompasses the entire region around the Mediterranean Sea — it’s not just falafel, gyros, or hummus," Joseph says. "It's food from Spain, Italy, Southern France, Greece, Morocco, and Israel, among others. For this concept, we wanted to make sure to incorporate all the coastal areas and really show people what the food is truly all about."
Boathouse at the Riverside. 620 SE Fourth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-377-5494; riversidehotel.com/boathouse. Daily 4 to 11 p.m.
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