New menu items & a revisit: SAIA, B Ocean Hotel – Ft. Lauderdale

Back in March Foodies on the Fly first visited SAIA at the sleek B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Since then, Chef Subin Chankesorn has added several new items to their menu and we were invited back to taste test.

Chef Subin’s unique culinary creations are a natural result of his exposure to Thai street market food in his earlier years and his travels throughout Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Prior to SAIA, Chef Subin served as Assistant Sushi Chef at Delano on South Beach, Lead Sushi Chef at the Lowes Hotel South Beach, Chef aboard Royal Caribbean International’s fleet and Market Cook in Thailand. Chef Subin strives to achieve balance between authenticity and heritage in his dishes and the modern (American) conception of what Asian dining.

“When developing this concept I was committed to creating a unique dining experience, with fresh interpretations and crafting flavors that would redefine South Florida’s Asian dining scene. We’ve succeeded!” – Chef Subin

Upon meeting the magnetic Chef Subin, FOTF left the menu selection in his more than capable hands. Thus begins our journey…

Green Bean Salad

The Green Bean Salad arrived first, served chilled with a black soy vinaigrette, sesame seeds, and dried garlic on top. The crisp, fresh green beans are a new addition, and we would gladly order them again as an alternative to our typical starter of edamame, which is also available.

Tamari Scallop

The Tamari Scallop was beautifully plated; one large scallop wrapped in paper thin bigeye tuna, topped with minced crabmeat, and masago atop a pool of wasabi spiked aioli. The thin, silky smooth tuna barely encased the meaty scallop and crabmeat, and presented me with a small challenge: How to most delicately devour this large bite? Chopsticks gripped, I chose to bite and conquer (and hope that the whole masterpiece would not end up on my plate, or worse…). My strategy worked, somewhat, only a few bits of green tobiko caviar and crabmeat were sacrificed. I can see why the waitstaff heavily recommends this dish. We do as well.

Hamachi Jalapeno

The thinly sliced Hamachi Jalapeno arrived next, spiced with Thai chili, ponzu uzu, shredded daikon and cilantro arrived next. This light fish was full of flavor from the citrus-y marinade to the kick of the Thai Jalapeno chilies. The Hamachi was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.

Miso Scallops

The Miso Scallops, a customer favorite, are lime and salt encrusted, covered in a sweet honey miso sauce, and presented atop a Japanese yam. Topped with a dash of sesame seeds, and curl of scallion.

This dish also had me fumbling with my chopsticks (Disclaimer: I am no expert, as you may have deduced) as the slick glaze had them slipping through my grasp. Laughing as yet again the scallop eluded me, I admitted defeat and requested silverware. Quartered by my newly acquired knife and securely speared by fork, the perfect bite of sweet, sticky miso scallop made it into my mouth. The lime and salt perfectly balance out the sweetness of the miso glaze, which is so delicious, I could cover everything in it. As I was savoring my first bites of scallop #1, scallops #2 and #3 have disappereaed. Definitely a favorite of my dining companion of the evening, and newest addition to the FOTF team, my BF “M”.

Shirome Spice

I did not have long to lament the loss of a possible shared scallop, as we were quickly presented with my favorite plate of the evening. The Shirome Spice, a crispy, lightly battered whitefish with a sweet and spicy garlic glaze and stir-fried mixture of onions, red, yellow and green bell peppers, and shitake mushrooms. The stir-fried vegetables were slightly al dente and added texture to the flaky fish and meaty shitakes.

Tropical Roll & Fire Dragon Roll

Next we were presented with not one, but two massive sushi rolls, the Tropical Roll and the Fire Dragon Roll. These two inside out creations push sushi lovers to the edge and have gained quite a following due to their unique flavor pairings. The Tropical Roll includes seared scallop, mushroom, shiso, cucumber, and spicy miso topped with salmon and mango. Our favorite, the Fire Dragon Roll starts with lightly fried shrimp tempura, wrapped in avocado, snow crab, and topped with spicy tuna and masago.

Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Lollipops

Another new addition to the SAIA menu are the Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Lollipops. M wanted to test out his review skills and adds: An unusual presence in an Asian restaurant’s menu, this item has been added in response to customers request to increase meat dish variety. But don’t let the oriental atmosphere fool you; this dish’s level of taste, tenderness and presentation is at least similar to what you would expect from any fancy steakhouse. With another signature twist from the Chef, the sweet and tangy sauce on the side is a surprisingly delicious variation over the traditional red wine, rosemary or mint.

Note: These lollipops were sourced from farm raised lamb in New Zealand.

Thai Curry Lobster

On a roll, M reviews the Thai Curry Lobster as well: I’ve been eating Thai red curries for years from many places of the world and thought I had tried it all. Yet Subin Chankesorn managed to create a masterpiece lobster red curry with a garlic rich mixture of pineapple, hearts of palm, green peppers, baby tomatoes and a delicious white sauce. Definitely a must try for curry lovers.

Here I will add that Chef Chankeson joined us for the last of our courses. We spoke about his childhood growing up in the Thailand, the different dialects and how one word could mean something very different in varying regions (floor mat -vs- tiger!) and finally we spoke about curry. Chef explained to us how he starting making curries under the guidance of his mother. He doesn’t follow a set recipe, yet adds and detracts based on taste of his ingredients of the day, striving to incorporate authentic Thai ingredients and spices. He adds, If you use a recipe it will be different every time based on the sweetness or tartness of the ingredients, so follow your sense of taste not direction.

Chef Subin's Dessert Plate

Our final plate was a taste of Chef Subin’s home, literally. He picked the starfruit from his backyard that morning and now it adorns our plate alongside a chocolate mini macaroon, strawberry, and mochi ice cream in a fruity yogurt sauce. Chef explained to us that he is not a fan of overly sweet desserts and this plate demonstrated a light hand as well. A perfectly sweet ending to a remarkable meal.

Foodies on the Fly highly recommends stopping by and, if you’re feeling adventurous, allowing Chef Subin to order for you as well. The staff is very accomodating and will take note of any allergies or preferences as well.

We thank-you for your time if you’ve completed reading to this point. It was an extensive meal (over 3hrs!) and review as well.

B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale- SAIA
999 Fort Lauderdale Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-302-5252

SAIA on Urbanspoon

Sushi With A View: SAIA – Ft. Lauderdale

On Tuesday Foodies on the Fly headed over to B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale the newly opened hotel on the corner of Sunrise and A1A to try out SAIA, a fresh and modern sushi restaurant.

The stylish restaurant was tucked in the corner and decorated with fabulous lighting fixtures, sleek tables, and an incredible ocean front view great for people watching. The menu incorporates an eclectic mix of flavors and dishes are prepared to share.

From the moment we walked in the staff was attentive and offered excellent recommendations like the Fried Ripe Plantains (amazing) and the Palm Chicken (delicious). Their illustrative descriptions made choosing from the menu so much easier, especially since we’ve never been there and everything was new.

We started our dinner with fresh Edamame and a Vegetable Roll. Both were delivered quickly and presented on chic white plates. The edamame was served steaming and the roll was prepared inside out stuffed with asparagus, cucumbers, and arugula and topped with steamed spinach.

For an entrée we shared Palm Chicken, marinated tender and moist chicken, marinated in coconut, lemon grass, Thai chili, and citrus. Each bite was better than the next and bursting with flavors. The tiny pinch of curry added to the amazing experience and we could have each devoured another order!

We ended dinner with Fried Ripe Plantains served with a Honey Glaze dipping sauce (best part of dinner by far!). The plantains were perfectly battered and fried, light and crisp and the honey glaze added to their deliciousness. So, good in fact, we ordered them for dessert!

We couldn’t choose just one, although we tried! We started dessert with Lemon Grass Mango Crème Brule; the small dish was the perfect size for one and incorporated lemon grass and mango. The two flavors perfectly complimented each other, neither one too overpowering and the dessert altogether was light and refreshing. Perfect after a day at the beach.

As our second choice we tried the Coconut Ice Cream withFried Ripe Plantains. Our love affair with the honey glaze was obviously apparent because our server highly recommended the dessert, which had the glaze, drizzled all over it. The creamy coconut ice cream wasn’t to overpowering and the combination of plantains and coconut together was just amazing. Both desserts were perfectly proportioned for one, but sharing is highly recommended.

The Verdict:
If you are looking for a flavorful experience, new and innovative dishes, drinks, and desserts, this sleek and modern restaurant is a must try. SAIA is conveniently, located on the corner of Sunrise and A1A and is currently open nightly for dinner. You can reserve a table online at OpenTable.com or by calling the number below.

We’ve gone back to test out NEW items. Read all about them here.

B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale- SAIA
999 Fort Lauderdale Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-302-5252

Bluefin Sushi and Thai – Parkland, FL

After driving all around Miami searching for Food Trucks on Friday and lunching at Rocco’s Tacos in Ft. Lauderdale there was only one way to end the long workweek. Sushi and Sake!

Livingsocial.com advertised a great deal for Bluefin Sushi and Thai but unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to participate in the special and opted to pay full price and I have no regrets.

Bluefin Sushi and Thai (6694 Parkside Drive) is located in a charming little shopping center hidden in Parkland, a quiet equestrian community in Broward County. We arrived around 9pm and the place was filled with patrons. Quickly greeted, we were seated within minutes and handed a menu that included sushi, Thai, and Japanese specialties. The extensive selection was overwhelming at first but without delay I started ordering from the menu.

First up, Spring Rolls ($6), crispy rolls stuffed with fresh vegetables and clear noodles served with sweet and sour sauce. The rolls were served hot and the portion was perfect for sharing.

Next, I ordered a simple Avocado/Cucumber/Asparagus Sushi Roll ($5), prepared with the seaweed outside, the roll was fresh and perfect for anyone who isn’t a fan of anything that swims.

As an entrée I decided to try the Chicken in Basil Sauce ($14), Sautéed basil, bell pepper, hot chili and onions. I ordered it with an extra kick, but all of the dinners on the menu can be prepared however you like (mild, medium, hot, or no spice).  Dinner was delicious, served hot, and left a lasting impression.

Aside from the food, one thing that really stood out was the staff. Everyone working that night was extremely helpful and polite to the clients as well as each other and that made the whole experience even more enjoyable.

The Verdict:
I will definitely return to Bluefin Sushi and Thai and highly recommend that you give them a try. Coupon or not, you will not be disappointed!

Side note: Try the Plum Sake-Tini. This sweet concoction is the perfect match for anything on the menu!

Bluefin Sushi Thai Grill on Urbanspoon