Beachside Seafood (redeux) Indialantic- 4.5 Stars
"Sometimes you have to burn yourself to the ground before you rise like a phoenix from the ashes." --J. Lekman
Like the aforementioned bird from mythology, Beachside Seafood has apparently been reborn in flames and is flying high above the many eateries that compose their competition on our tiny barrier island. After a dismal visit months ago I was contacted by the new owners who claimed to have upped the quality and asked for my return. As the last meal was a well earned 1 (almost garnering a spot on the BBDO Worst List), I figured the only direction for quality was up, so decided to give them another go round.
Tucked behind the former Pizza Hut in Seaside Center is where Beachside Seafood remains firmly planted. After my last review, I thoroughly expected this place to join the ever-growing list of failing restaurants that didn't meet the BBDO high standards. While I will never believe a leopard can change its spots, I do believe that a place can go from worst to better with a few changes, namely ownership and/or kitchen staff. In this case, as mentioned previously, Beachside Seafood has recently changed hands.
The new owners are (gasp) transplants from Columbus, OH. They were looking to relocate someplace warm and with one look fell in love with the area, something we can all relate too, can we not? They are a family trio with one remaining in OH and two always on site. Thomas is the man behind the counter/over the grill/getting a face full of steam. He brings his passion for cooking along with a world of experience into the kitchen with him and it clearly shows in the chow he flings forth from his galley. Leslie is the charming individual keeping an eye on the front of the house and making sure every patron is treated like one of her own. She clearly cares about the community and wants to make Beachside Seafood a vital, contributing part of our beloved coastal island.
To that end, she has replaced most of the previous crew, switched vendors and let Thomas loose. On this visit, I chose the Shrimp and Grits, a basket of fresh sea scallops, and a lobster roll. As the first forkful of shrimp and grits hit my palate all I could think was, "WOW! My, my, my how times have changed." The shrimp were tender, succulent little fellas mixed in with grits that had, I kid you not, cream cheese folded right in the mix! These had to be the most amazing cheese grits I have ever had. They are filled with sublime goodness with a slight punch on the end note. Forcing my appetite away from the mana that was the shrimp and grits, I skewered a fresh sea scallop with my fork and popped it in my pie hole. I couldn't believe my taste buds. This was not, I repeat, NOT the Beachside Seafood of old, au contraire mon ami, this was a new bird altogether. The scallops were cooked flawlessly and bursting with flavor causing my taste buds to do a little shimmy as it slid down my gullet. The lobster roll was just as good as the previous items and literally exploded with numminess in my mouth. The accompanying side garlic roll was fresh and dabbed with creamy rich garlic butter seasoned to new heights of tastiness.
However, as great as everything above was, and it was fantastic, it all pales in comparison to Thomas' homemade coleslaw. I know, that says a lot. As a Southerner, born and raised, I know slaw and this has to be the best coleslaw in all of Brevard, if not the state of Florida. It looked like cabbage (and other veggies) with a mayo-based dressing, but it tasted like pure nectar from the gods of old. If I was stranded on a desert island and could only take one side dish with me, it would be Thomas' coleslaw. It's that good.
The Big Boy says, "Reborn like the Phoenix, this is now a must when in the area or looking for a scrumptious home-cooked meal with worldwide influences. That slaw, OMG!!!!! #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout