Bring on the claws. And the tangy mustard dip. Stone crab season is here, and we can’t wait to indulge. Our destination is Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant & Market, a premier Hollywood spot for the sunset-colored claws, famous for their sweet, succulent meat. Billy’s gets its delectable crustaceans, thousands of pounds each week, from the Keys and Southwest Florida. If you don’t want a fancy meal, you can grab the claws in the on-site market and either eat them there or take them home.
Diners might be reminded of Miami Beach’s Joe’s Stone Crab, and with good reason. Restaurant founder Billy Hershey got his start at Joe’s before going out on his own. He’s been in the crab business for nearly four decades, running a few seafood markets and restaurants in the Miami area, before he opened Billy’s in Hollywood 15 years ago.
Ambience: Billy’s has the benefit of a stunning Intracoastal view whether you sit outside by the water or on the second-floor, split-level dining room, which has floor-to-ceiling windows (for a prime spot, arrive early). With its accommodating servers (waiters in full tuxedos, waitresses in white tuxedo shirts with black bowties) and classic bar (which serves killer martinis), the atmosphere is reminiscent of another era, with an Old Florida gentility. The restaurant just finished a $200,000 renovation project to spruce up the exterior and other areas, part of efforts by Hollywood’s Community Redevelopment Agency to enhance the area before the beach resort Margaritaville opens. Billy’s also updated its cozy wine room, mostly used for private parties, with mahogany-refrigerated units that hold 600 bottles of wine.
The Key West platter - a broiled, flavorful yellowtail (the fish of the day), with lump crab meat and shrimp sautéed in a beurre blanc with a garnish of sliced avocados
Ocean-fresh snapper with an herb sauce or sliced almonds
Nicely seared, but underseasoned, sea scallops
A wonderfully creamy Key lime pie (shipped from a Key West bakery) with just the right amount of pucker
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