An early weekend dinner at one of the newest seafood hot spots in Fort Lauderdale: NAKED CRAB.
If you’re a South Florida foodie, then you definitely know about Chef Ralph Pagano.
Not only is he crazy-good at what he does (case in point, the popular and always crowded “Naked Taco” on Miami Beach,) he also has a personality fit for the movies. With the intensity of “The Godfather” mixed with the humor of “My Cousin Vinny”, he’s a complete joy to be around.
The guy has more one-liners than Chris Rock doing stand-up on an HBO special. He also radiates the kind of warmth typically found in a true New Yorker — interested and interesting. Not that I’m gushing or anything.
If you don’t know about him…
After cooking on TV with the lot of them (including Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay), he built his own local food empire. With his solid reputation and extensive restaurant knowledge, he just keeps getting better and better.
His latest baby, NAKED CRAB, on Fort Lauderdale’s famed Seabreeze Boulevard, is a direct reflection of his continued success…
The restaurant, which is located inside “B Ocean Resort”, is light and airy but at the same time, hip and moody; with edgy chalk art on the inside and sexy colorful murals on the outside. If Fort Lauderdale and Miami had a baby, it would be NAKED CRAB; all of its good parts, anyway.
I started my spotlight experience with some light and salty “Shrimp Chips” and washed them down with a “Red Dragon Spritz” (which has some complicated ingredients). The most important part, though, is the Satsuma Shiranami Sweet Potato Shocu A.K.A sweet sake (add in some cointreau, Thai Chili Hibiscus simple syrup, lemon juice and Prosecco) and you’ve got yourself one helluva drink.
At least until your “Bangkok Slushy” arrives (made with tequila, cointreau, mango, tamarind and lime juice). You’ll feel like a giddy kid when you’re sucking it through its big straw. Just make sure you’re not overzealous: brain freeze is still a real thing and so are drinks that “sneak up on you.”
My favorite adult beverage of the day was the sophisticated “Geisha Martini” (made with Kettle One Citron Vodka, Awa No Kaori Rice Sochu, jasmine green tea simple syrup, lemon juice and fee brothers grapefruit bitters). Everyone at the table tried guessing its ingredients, but failed. We did, however, succeed in polishing it off. If you like the unique and unusual, this drink’s for you.
When our “Tuna Nachos” arrived, I was a little surprised, because it wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of tons of food piled on a plate (which is the usual nacho experience), it was polished and pristine (made with jalapeño soy glaze, crispy wonton and wasabi aioli). It was EXCELLENT. This is a must-try on the menu. I also enjoyed…
The “Lobster Knuckle Sandwich” which was generously stuffed with chunky Maine Lobster Salad. This is perfect for the person who likes bread with their seafood. It comes with a side of chips, too.
AND (drumroll please)…
Talk about getting the royal treatment!!! The “Royale” was rolled out…
Served with half dozen oysters and clams and 4 JUMBO SHRIMP, I thought I’d died and gone to seafood heaven. I’m not kidding when I say the shrimps were as big as my head.
Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but “Holy Seafood, Batman!” They were impressive, to say the least. I doused them in hot sauce and fresh horseradish and gobbled them up like a dead man walking. #GetInMyBelly
If you love the Florida Keys, then “A Key Party” is a creatively cool dish you’d enjoy. With a pound of large stone crabs, cracked conch and crab-topped snapper, it screams “dazzling tropical get-a-way.”
Last but not least, “The World Famous Crabster” was presented and it was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Looking back at it, I think it needed a marching band grand entrance or something 🙃…
I’ve never said a crab was beautiful, but there’s a first time for everything. “The Crabster” is a “beautiful” 5 pound Alaskan King Crab heartily stuffed with shrimp, crab and lobster (served in a beurre blanc).
Honestly, it was so ridiculously good, I don’t think my usual flowery adjectives could do it justice. It’s definitely a rich and decadent celebration of seafood. I thoroughly enjoyed it and don’t think I’ll ever eat anything as over-the-top again (until I go back next week 😁).
After a second round of the “Bangkok Slushy” — we got an unforgettable fire show at our table, while our cheeky server flaunted his “Bananas Foster”-making skills. He topped the dessert off with heath bar, M-&-M’s, coconut and Oreo’s. You don’t have to have all the toppings, but we told him: “treat us right”…lol. As if?!!
Well, there’s no doubt about it, I’m a huge fan of Chef Ralph and “NAKED CRAB” is a seafood lover’s dream. It serves a good steak, too. You know, if you’re more of a meat and potatoes kind of person or if you long for the “Surf & Turf” thing.
At “NAKED CRAB”, you’ll not only enjoy the great atmosphere, you’ll dine on extremely fresh seafood and sip on yummy creative cocktails and if you’re really lucky, Chef Ralph will tell you a joke or two, and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Thing’s. Cheers!
Naked Crab at B Ocean Resort
1140 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33316
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