Having out of town guests is at once exciting and a bit panicking. There is so much to consider, especially when they have not been to the area before, in this case South Florida. I strive to give them a taste of local seafood, ethnic cuisine, and also spend as much time by the water as possible while taking into consideration likes and dislikes and dietary restrictions.
For the first night of the Hungry Goddess Staycation and the arrival day of Sara and Ann-Marie from Delaware, I chose JB’s on the Beach in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It is close to me (I am in Boca Raton) and offers an oceanfront view which was particularly spectacular on the night of the almost Full Moon!
We do not have a lot of waterfront choices in the Boca Raton and Deerfield area, so JB’s is a reliable choice. Valet parking is the easiest but is not complementary. You can park in the area and feed the meters if you can find a space or also access the parking garage across the street. The garage is the same price as valet ($5), so we chose drive-up service. Reservations are a good idea. We ended up waiting briefly at the outside bar on a Thursday night which was not a hardship and we did choose to dine outside in anticipation of the moon rise.
Sara’s take: A perfect location for a first-night in Florida vacation experience. Kimberly’s suggestion was right on, as we oriented ourselves to the area, the restaurant was vibrant, we got an introduction to local food, and the view was spectacular. It also had a relaxed atmosphere that was perfect after a travel day. It was fun watching people play volleyball on the beach, and the rising of the almost-full moon over the calm water from our patio table.
JB’s has stellar Mojitos and the Mojitos on the night of our visit did not disappoint. Since Sara and Ann-Marie ordered Mojitos, I tried a combination of cucumber and St. Germain liqueur served in a Moscow Mule mug that was tasty, but not quite as awesome as the Mojito. They add lots of muddled mint which makes the Mojitos just perfect!
Sara’s take: This is exactly what I want a Mojito to taste like. Fresh ingredients muddled together, flavors of mint, lime, and rum mingled together, with a hint of sweetness that isn’t overpowering. This drink was effervescent and light, perfect for a hot summer night. JB’s knows how to make a great mojito! And believe me, I know a good Mojito when I taste one! We enjoyed a couple of these refreshing drinks during our dinner.
Our appetizer was a special – Lobster Tater Tots with a spicy remoulade style dipping sauce. Thumbs up to that sauce! The Lobster Tater Tots were a bit of a disappointment – mushy with very little lobster flavor.
Sara’s take: Indeed the Lobster Tater Tots were not as exciting as promised. The prominent flavor of lobster was missing and the texture unsatisfying. It looked more like a hush-puppy than a tater tot which I associate with potatoes. The dipping sauce, however, was excellent and I kept it to use as a dip for my sweet potato fries.
Dinner quickly followed – the service was absolutely stellar and our server was responsive and attentive.
I ordered the Janet’s Lobster and Shrimp Salad (a salad entree) with Maine Lobster, shrimp, mixed greens, hearts of palm, more veggies, and a mango dressing. Three things really stood out for me with this salad: the shrimp were succulent and perfectly cooked, I loved the addition of hearts of palm as something different, and the mango dressing was just the right amount of sweet. If you had just a bite of salad, it might seem overdressed but with a shrimp or chunk of lobster, the amount of dressing was just right.
Sara’s take: The presentation of this entree-sized salad was spectacular. I stole a few delicious bites off of Kimberly’s plate like a cat waiting to pounce on prey. The shrimp were cooked to perfection, and the lobster was moist and succulent. I loved the addition of hearts of palm, mango, and avocado to this dish as their different flavors and textures played nicely together on my tongue. I felt that the greens were a little over-dressed, but the mango dressing was good and not too sweet, which is a hard balance to strike when having a fruit-based vinaigrette. I would definitely order this entree again and to my preference ask for a lighter hand with the dressing.
Ann-Marie is our darling meat and potatoes eater so she opted for the JB’s Beach Burger and fries. She requested the burger medium well and the first try was more medium rare. Our server graciously swooped in and had another burger that was medium well within a few minutes. Fries and burger were tasty and perfectly acceptable on the second go-around. GREAT Customer Service!
Sara’s take: I was impressed by our server’s promptness and attentiveness to our needs. We saw her go and show the manager the under-cooked burger and a replacement was sent post-haste. That’s the way to give great service and show good communication between front and back of house. As someone who used to work in the restaurant industry, it was nice to see, especially in a resort town. While we waited we had this view of Deerfield Beach in twilight to enjoy from our table.
Sara ordered the Mahi Mahi grilled fish sandwich with sweet potato crinkle-cut sweet potato fries and here is her commentary on that….
Sara’s take: This was the first of many grilled fish meals on my trip. It was a great introduction to the fresh flavors offered in ocean-side eateries in Southern Florida and I soon would see that each restaurant has their own version of this classic sandwich. I ordered my selection grilled. Although I could have chosen Jerk seasonings or had my fish fried, but I asked for a simple grilled approach as I wanted to enjoy the subtle flavors of the fresh fish. This proved a simple and satisfying meal that was not too heavy. The fish was moist, succulent and perfectly seasoned. The dipping sauce from the Lobster Tater Tots was a great spicy dip for the sweet potato fries that were light and crisp, and I love a grilled bun. The tomato and lettuce garnish were unimpressive as we are in tomato season in Delaware/NJ right now, so I skipped adding these toppings to my simple sandwich. Overall this dish was satisfying and delicious.
We ended our dinner by ooohing and aaaahing over the gorgeous almost Full Moon making its way into the sky.
JB’s is not a relaxing, quiet dinner kind of place, but it is a fun place to take out of town guests who want to dine with an ocean view. It is one of the few places on the water in Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, so if you don’t want to make the drive up to Delray Beach or down to Fort Lauderdale, JB’s is great. It is a bit pricey, but I consider that I am paying for the view and that makes it worth it. Inside, under air conditioning dining is also available and may offer a more peaceful dinner.
After dinner, you can stroll for a bit on the promenade and admire the beach which is a lovely way to end dinner.
Sara’s take: Kimberly made the right choice for our first evening of our vacation in Florida. For an out-of-towner, in off-season, it was great to see a crowd of people in festive spirit. I wanted to feel the party vibe and switch gears from real-life to vacation mode. The scenery and vibe here delivered just that. It wasn’t raucous or too loud, and it is always a great sign to see the bustle of locals frequenting a place in off-season. The evening was punctuated by the moon-rise over the pier and a walk along the promenade to take in the sights of Deerfield Beach after dinner. I will definitely visit Deerfield Beach again when I visit Southern Florida!
I would love the locals to weigh in – where do you like to take visitors? I also highly recommend Boca Landing, a new addition for Boca Raton on Boca Lake!
**No compensation was received for this review – we paid for our dinner in full!