Like many new restaurants, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits in The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, has a menu crafted around farm-fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Such menus have become almost de rigueur with the food crowd.
But Burlock’s chef de cuisine Gavin Pera has taken his Florida fare one step further.
“On any given day 85 to 90 percent of our menu is locally sourced,” says Pera. “We not only connected with area farmers but also researched who was doing other cool stuff in the area.”
So after bringing in spicy arugula from Paradise Farms in Homestead, fresh pork bellies from Palmetto Creek Farms in Avon Park and fish straight from the docks in Fort Lauderdale, Madeira Beach and Tarpon Springs, he turned his attention to foodstuffs produced by local food artisans.
Taste tests required
“We looked into breads, charcuterie and things like that. And then we drove around tasting the products,” he says.
He had lunch at the Zak the Baker Café in Miami and met artisan baker Zak Stern. He returned a couple of times and got to know Stern while discovering his breads are consistent and of excellent quality. And Pera was pleased that every time he visited there was a line around the block to the café’s door.
“We knew Zak had something special going on here,” says Pera who now uses Zak the Baker breads and granola at breakfast.
He had a similar experience at Miami Smokers from which he now gets bacon and other charcuterie. “I was skeptical because I’ve lived in Florida just about all my adult life and I’ve never seen great charcuterie done here,” says Pera. It took a visit to the Miami facility where he met owners Andres Barrientos and James Bowers to convince him.
“The first day we met these gentlemen we got to taste everything they make and I was blown away,” says Pera who calls these products “a great match” with his restaurant.
Pera also ferreted out tomme produced by David and Dawn Green at their Winter Park Dairy. For those who haven’t had this cheese, it’s an “alpine-style semi-hard cheese with a robust Parmesan flavor.”
Pera also added sturgeon caviar to his seafood tower. But he uses sustainable caviar harvested and produced in Sarasota by Healthy Earth and marketed under the Black Opal brand.
Cocktails, beers also craft
But at Burlock Coast the local foodstuffs aren’t limited to the plates. You’ll also find them in the glasses of the cocktail drinkers holding court behind the newly installed bar.
“We aren’t so open-minded that our brains are falling out but we are looking at local ingredients and local beers people will want to drink,” says beverage manager James Camp.
There are 15 to 20 Florida beers available at any time including on tap, in bottles and cans. In fact Camp likes to serve hyper-local beers such as Screamin’ Reels made by SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach, Floridian Hefeweizen by Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, and Holy Mackerel Golden Ale by Holy Mackerel Brewing in Fort Lauderdale. “We don’t have to go to Miami to find good Florida beers,” he says.
Local rums also are represented with bottles from The Conch Republic Rum Co. in the Keys and Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery of Cape Coral as well as South Florida Distillers Inc., in Fort Lauderdale that handcrafts Fwaygo rum.
“At our restaurant,” Pera said, “we want you to experience new things and appreciate all the great things we have around us here in Florida.”
- If You Go
Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits
1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
For information: burlockcoast.com or 954-302-6460