Game Day Eats

 

Thinking beyond the sports bar for the big game.

Beachside Cafe
Photo: Eileen Soler.
 

Elaine Walker

Going out to watch football doesn't have to mean eating greasy wings. Here are three places that offer a wider selection to go with their wide screens.

If you're looking for a sports bar without all the craziness, out-of-the-way Beachside Grill might be just the ticket. Open a little over a month in the Lauderdale Beachside Hotel, it’s taken over the former Damon's Grill. You can watch the game in the bar area, but for more privacy ... and the chance to adjust the volume ... grab one of the cozy booths with individual TVs. The Italian and American menu skews a bit more sophisticated than a typical sports bar, but features nothing too outrageous. Original items include artichoke fritters - three crispy balls blending artichokes, blue cheese and basil. Top sellers include baby-back ribs (sauced just right & falling off the bone, a chicken paillard sandwich with cheddar and applewood bacon and Angela's Sunday Gravy, a hearty, home-style Italian pasta that is available daily. Beachside still has some kinks to work out, the potential is definitely here.

South Florida's home of the LSU Tigers isn't exactly a welcoming place for Florida Gator fans. But Cajun cafe Shuck ‘N Dive is a cozy, lively spot to watch a game and sample hard-to-find food. Arrive early on game day or you'll be waiting for a table or routed to the patio overlooking the parking lot. Come on non-game days for specials like Wednesday's two-for-one oysters or Friday's all-you-can eat fish fry. On any day, you'll find favorites like gumbo, fried green tomatoes, Cajun smoked sausage, catfish and po'boy sandwiches. The crawfish mac n cheese appetizer has plenty of the marquee ingredients and a spicy kick, but is a bit luke warm. The fried shrimp and oyster combo was lightly breaded and not greasy. Served in a bread bowl, the seafood gumbo brings shrimp, oysters, crawfish and tiny crab claws in a broth thickened with a hearty brown roux ... a perfect dose of comfort food, New Orleans style.

Davie neighborhood bar and grill Geronimos has stood the test of time in a half-empty shopping center. Next door to Nova Southeastern University, it draws a mix of college kids and locals. Walls that used to divide the restaurant and bar are gone, opening up the space for easier TV viewing, so don't expect a quiet dinner on game day. The menu ranges from basic sandwiches, salads and wraps to Greek specialties and more ambitious dishes like chicken macadamia and salmon oreganato. Food can be spotty - meat on the gyro platter was dry and tasteless, and the grilled tuna loin melt wasn't cooked to our specifications. A Colby jack burger was the best of the bunch, but nothing special.

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