Bite into eclectic eats at South Beach's Berkeley Beach Café
A shark bite is the last thing you’d want on the beach, but you can have a bite of shark at the 5-month-old Berkeley Beach Café on the patio of the Berkeley Shores Hotel, an Art Deco classic on Collins Avenue.
Chef-owner Vincent Thilloy grew up in the Saint-Cloud suburb of Paris, helping in the kitchens of the bistros his parents ran. After graduating from culinary school, he started a catering company, which he sold 25 years ago in order to relocate to South Beach, where he has had a number of restaurants, including Café des Arts and Marseilles.
The blacktip shark on the menu comes from Tampa Bay. Shark steaks are seasoned with Cajun spices and grilled, served with lemon aioli and fries. The firm, pale meat from the 10- to 15-pound sharks tastes a little like swordfish crossed with tuna.
Louisiana gator (pictured) is pounded, cut in strips, breaded and deep-fried, served with spicy mayo dip. It tastes like chicken with a hint of clam. The tropical salad brings greens tossed with nuts, avocado and mango in poppy-seed dressing with blackened salmon. Linguine comes with a skewer of jumbo shrimp, grouper and mahi. Surf and turf teams sirloin steak and Florida lobster tail with shallot butter.
Stone crabs run until the end of the season in May, so catch a wave and head over for cracked claws and a daiquiri.