After three years, Tony Sindaco is back in the kitchen. And he’s sizzling. The passionate, pony-tailed chef, best known for his years at Sunfish Grill, is cooking longtime favorites like heavenly conch chowder and hearty tuna Bolognese at his new restaurant, SEA, in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
Sindaco’s chalkboard menu is a little less adventurous — and less expensive — than it was in his Sunfish Grill years, but he says he’s trying to keep costs down. He’s also starting with a small but smart wine list, dominated by California labels priced from $24 to $80, with 12 by the glass. But customers who became hooked on the chef’s stellar seafood in the late ’90s, when he and his former wife first opened Sunfish Grill in a divey spot in Pompano Beach, will find many of his signature dishes and flavors here. A divorce ended that collaboration, but the wait is over. Sindaco’s back.
Ambience: The shoebox-size space, with 27 seats, five of them at the bar, is not the kind of spot where you’d expect to find his elegant filet mignon or expertly cooked black grouper. Bathed in pale blue and brightened by mosaic tiles and a whimsical mural of sea creatures, SEA has a laidback, friendly vibe, attentive service and value-focused pricing: prix-fixe three-course menus (soup, salad or appetizer, an entree and dessert) from $28 to $38. Add-ons are available — we paid an extra $4 for ultra-creamy burrata — and you can order a la carte. While there are staples, the menu changes every Monday and Thursday, so regulars won’t be bored.