3030 Ocean

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - South Broward - - DINING -

Eight months af­ter re­turn­ing to 3030 Ocean, chef Paula DaSilva is at the top of her game.

She is, quite sim­ply, one of the best seafood chefs in South Florida, mix­ing fresh lo­cal seafood and pro­duce in de­li­ciously in­ven­tive ways.

DaSilva, 34, started her ca­reer at 3030 Ocean in 2000, when she was just out of the Art In­sti­tute of Fort Laud­erdale. For a decade, she worked along­side the bril­liant James Dean Max, who­last year left 3030 af­ter 14 years at the helm.

DaSilva’s home­com­ing fol­lows a three-year stint as top toque at a now- shut­tered farm-to-ta­ble steak­house in­side Eden Roc Mi­ami Beach. The chal­lenge of a 3030 chef, es­pe­cially one of DaSilva’s talent, is to cre­ate a menu that ap­peals not only to Mar­riott va­ca­tion­ers, but to us year-rounders look­ing for the same kind of ex­pe­ri­ence her pre­de­ces­sor es­tab­lished.

There’s a raw bar, of course, that in­cludes Florida stone crab claws ($8, small); wild Gulf shrimp with sea salt and lime ($7 each); and fine ce­viche ($15), made with lo­cal wa­hoo, cilantro, jalapeno, aji amar­illo, red onion and lime. The menu changes ev­ery day, so the ce­viche of­ten ap­pears with corv­ina.

Among the other sub­stan­tially sized starters is a roasted-beet salad ($14), gor­geously pre­sented with av­o­cado, pars­ley pesto, wal­nuts, the won­der­fully aged Hum­boldt Fog goat cheese and greens lightly dressed in pineap­ple vinai­grette. Lo­cal bur­rata ($15) is served with Home­stead toma­toes, olive puree and baby greens. Grilled oc­to­pus ($15) ar­rives with a streak of chick­pea puree, olives, raw fen­nel, feta cheese and lemon vinai­grette.

It’s a mod­ern ap­pe­tizer menu, but one that finds room for such 3030 Hol­i­day Drive, Har­bor Beach Mar­riott Re­sort and Spa, Fort Laud­erdale 954-765-3030, 3030Ocean.com Cui­sine: Seafood Cost: Ex­pen­sive-very ex­pen­sive Hours: Din­ner daily Reser­va­tions: Sug­gested Credit cards: All ma­jor Bar: Full ser­vice Sound level: Can be loud when bar is full Out­side smok­ing: No For kids: High­chairs, menu Wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble: Yes Park­ing: $5 valet or free garage stal­warts as creamy wild mush­room soup ($9) and pasta car­bonara ($15), this ver­sion made with ba­con smoked in-house.

Dur­ing my two vis­its over the past four months, the men­uof­fered be­tween eight and 11 ap­pe­tiz­ers and 11 en­trees. There was al­ways roasted chicken ($30), with po­lenta and some kind of beef (ten­der­loin or porter­house). And, The bland din­ing room at 3030 Ocean in Fort Laud­erdale will be ren­o­vated start­ing in mid 2015. last week, the red-meat of­fer­ings in­cluded a won­der­ful Pal­metto Creek farms pork chops ($39), with Brussels sprouts and potato salad, greens, car­rots and an­cho chili jus. Even though a table­mate or­dered the chop well done, ev­ery bite was ten­der and moist.

DaSilva pays equal at­ten­tion to ev­ery el­e­ment on her plates. Sim­ple-grilled corv­ina ($33), for in­stance, comes with a cumin aioli that tasted al­most Mid­dle East­ern, along with cran­berry beans, Ben- ton’s ba­con, cherry toma­toes, arugula and olives. Roasted wild striped bass ($34) sits in a cir­cle of Parme­san-fla­vored grits along with mush­room ragout, cel­ery root and saba, which is thick as maple syrup and sim­i­larly sweet, but made from grapes. All these el­e­ments mag­i­cally meld. It makes me won­der why so many chefs in­sist on never com­bin­ing cheese and seafood.

Spicy seafood paella ($35) isn’t the typ­i­cal too-much-rice con­coc­tion. In­stead, oc­to­pus, clams, mus­sels, shrimp, a firm white fish, Span­ish chorizo, peas and sweet pep­pers come to­gether in fla­vor­ful uni­son.

Servers, pro­fes­sion­als with years of ex­pe­ri­ence, also work in uni­son. They know the menu. They know the glo­ri­ous wine list. They ap­pear when you need them and, more im­por­tant, know when to dis­ap­pear. I love the way they ar­rive as a group to deliver plates to the ta­ble, so that no one waits for theirs to ar­rive.

Pastry chef Hu­maNagi’s desserts ($10) are won­der­ful to my not-sosweet tooth. She had a warm Nutella bread pud­ding on the menu the other night, but hit­ting din­ers over the head with all kinds of choco­late doesn’t ap­pear to be her style. It’s cer­tainly not mine. In­stead, Nagi pre­pared an up­side­down rhubarb cake with pis­ta­chios, rhubarb caramel and straw­berry-pep­per ice cream. There was warm co­conut rice pud­ding with Home­stead straw­berry jam and cashew bis­cotti. Banana-cream tart comes with dulce de leche ice cream. These are my kind of sweets.

By the mid­dle of next year, a ren­o­va­tion of the bland and tired room that is 3030 Ocean will be­gin. It’s about time. I don’t want to hear cheer­ing sports fans as they watch the TVs above the bar, not when I’m eat­ing food cre­ated with this much skill­ful­ness. DaSilva and her crew de­serve a bet­ter can­vas for their hard work and cre­ativ­ity.

Af­ter that ren­o­va­tion, this could very well be­come a four-star restau­rant.

3030 OCEAN/COUR­TESY

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