FoodieFrog is always searching for our next new favorite restaurant and we think we found it at S3. Located in the Hilton Resort right on Fort Lauderdale beach, S3 is part of The Restaurant Group Company which include YOLO, VIBE on Las Olas and Tarpon Bend Food and Tackle.
S3 Restaurant – Surf, Sun, Sand has a sweet spot when it comes to views. Directly on A1A and slightly elevated so you can see the water from almost any seat in the house. The patio has lots of space and seating with funky chairs and couches for those that want to lounge a bit. They also have regular tables to enjoy the outdoor sea breeze as well. We really love the outdoor circular bar at the corner of the patio, but it was closed to a private party on the day we stopped in.
The weather was a bit too windy today to enjoy sitting outside. We were seated immediately at a rather large booth and really liked the inside décor and vibe. Our booth was one of the furthest in the back of the restaurant but we could still see the ocean. Even a better view was the sushi bar and kitchen about ten feet from our table which gave us front row seats to watch their well organized open kitchen.
The dining area is very nicely decorated with darker earth-tones and soft lighting. The music playing was in the ‘chill out’ category, which was perfect and we were really just felt immediately relaxed.
S3 Restaurant specializes in ‘small plates’ which lends perfectly for sharing. The menu is categorized into snacks, raw, sushi-sashimi, specialty rolls, small plates, wood fired and of course the regular portion dishes. We cheated a bit and looked ahead at the menu online, so knew that we were going to do some small plates to share. Our server was helpful in helping us narrow the search and was very accommodating to any customization requests we had.
After ordering, they immediately dropped off some heated moist towels to clean up. Very nice touch.
We were so happy to see that our server spaced out our three small plate choices, so we had enough time to enjoy every bite. This is a point that many places overlook and bring all your choices out and once and it’s just not the way to do it. Our first small plate came out in about 20 minutes, with each arriving just as we finished the prior dish.
Short Ribs ($17) – Horseradish Mash, Sweet Peas, Crispy Parsnips. This dish was artfully plated and looked too good to dig in. Jeff was the first to cave and I could tell when he took his first bite, this was going to be good. The short ribs were fork tender and really flavorful. The gravy wasn’t needed but added to the complex flavor. Bottom line…it was really, REALLY good! Two pieces come in the dish, so no fighting over a third piece. The horseradish mashed potatoes were excellent and not overpowering at all. Every component was fresh and had a part to play. We were very satisfied with our choice.
Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts ($9) – Pork, Mint, Puffed Rice, Peanuts. We asked if they could hold the peanuts and they happily accommodated our request. This was a hearty portion of Brussels sprouts and they looked really good. They were smaller heads than we’ve had, but we think it made them extra tender and a bit sweeter. The char was perfect and the sauce had a nice sweet and citrus flavor that we couldn’t easily identify. The mint was milder than expected, but I didn’t mind. The pork lent some saltiness with maybe a bit of smoke flavor and the puffed rice seemed to be more for the visual than taste. We both really liked this version of Brussels sprouts and would order it again.
Mac & Cheese ($10) – Smoked Gouda, Crispy Prosciutto. Our server told us he wanted to give this dish to us last so we didn’t fill up too fast. One look and we knew we were going to be in cheese heaven. Served in a little cast iron skillet, it was a lot deeper than we originally thought. The top was slightly browned with the crispy prosciutto sprinkled on top. The first spoonful revealed the velvety smooth cheese sauce and let me just say “WOW”. This was probably the best Mac & Cheese we’ve gotten in a restaurant in a very long time. We really liked the smokiness of the Gouda and found it incredibly addicting. The balance of salt to fat was perfect and it was the total comfort food package. While we could have easily just split the portion in half, I think Jeff snuck MORE than his half when left to take pictures of the kitchen.
We were stuffed at this point and couldn’t eat another bite and unfortunately had to pass on dessert. The prices are definitely reflective of the location, but we felt that it was worth every penny. You can actually find some items priced for those on a tight budget, which means everyone should give S3 Restaurant Sun, Surf, Sand a try.
S3 Restaurant Sun Surf Sand is located in the Hilton Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach, 505 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. (original review posted on FTLToday.com)