- Posted November 20, 2012 by
Boynton Beach, Florida
This iReport is part of an assignment:
100 places to eat like a local
Hurricane Alley-Best Raw Bar in Boynton Beach
Wow, it’s sometimes amazing what treasures you find at some of the most unlikely place. It was a beautifully sunny day in South Florida, the top was down on my wife’s Mini, classical music played softly on the radio and there wasn’t too much traffic. We were searching for some fresh fish for dinner yet our stomachs were grumbling for lunch.
Then we remembered a place we had been to a year or so ago but hadn’t had a chance to return, Hurricane Alley, a local Raw Bar Restaurant off Federal Highway on Ocean Avenue in Boynton Beach. The owner also owns the Sea Mist, a drift fishing boat out of the Boynton marina, that supplies the restaurant with its daily fish specials.
The building is reminiscent of Old Florida with an advertisement for an Insurance Company painted on the side. A patio area the width of the restaurant is covered with a spanking, new awning and there are wrought iron chairs and tables, a blackboard and a service station, all spotlessly maintained.
We entered at the front door and were immediately greeted by the bartender who told us to grab a table anywhere we liked. The friendly smile and funky décor grabbed our attention. Old Florida photos, beer neon and surfboards adorned the walls and hung from the ceiling. Some might call it busy, but we thought it seemed fun. Everything was clean and dust free despite the amount of “Stuff”.
We sat down at an outside table and we were greeted in 45 seconds by Lynn, who welcomed us and was sure to inform us that they just received a full liquor license and that the drink specials were on the Table Tent. Lynn placed two laminated placemats on the table which also act as the menu. Food items were printed on one side and beer, wine and cocktails on the reverse. We were impressed by the selection and the prices. Happy Hour offered fresh shucked oysters and clams for $8.00 a dozen. The drinks section boasted “Old School Cocktails at Old School Prices” and they weren’t kidding. There wasn’t anything listed for more than $4.50.
After placing the menus on the table, Lynn said she would be back in a few minutes after we had some time to look at the menu. She returned in 4 minutes and offered to take our drink and appetizer order. She first asked if we had enough time to read the menu and asked us if we would like to hear the specials. She didn’t point to the blackboard as in many restaurants. She recited the Sesame Coated, seared fresh Tuna special and my mouth was watering.
I ordered a dozen oysters and my wife ordered the fresh, smoked Marlin dip. Lynn remarked that it was the best in town. We ordered a margarita, not too sweet, for my wife and a Budweiser for me. Lynn asked if we wanted the drinks before the appetizers but we declined.
We now had some time to peruse the rest of the menu. 15 appetizers including the infamous fish dip, raw bar items, conch fritters, peel and eat shrimp, calamari, grilled and fried and more. Thank goodness there didn’t appear to be any freezer to fryer items. Salad selections ran the gamut from Seared Tuna on field greens with an Asian Vinaigrette to Classic Chicken Caesar, Blackened Grouper Salad and a house Salad. There were 11 and all were described without much flowery language but with very descriptive detail with everything priced below $12.
12 Sandwiches, 5 wraps, 8 burgers and 15 entrees rounded out the menu as well as 8 side dishes including homemade slaw and steak fries. Two guys at the adjacent table had the juiciest looking burgers.
In short order (pun intended), Lynn returned with our drinks, the Oysters and the Fish Dip. The oysters were nicely chilled and served on an old fashioned beer tray with three sauces, Cocktail, Mignonette and Horseradish as well as a basket of Oyster Crackers and a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce. They appeared to be Blue Points and were pleasantly briny as they should be. The fish dip had chunks of Marlin and seemed to be prepared with sour cream as opposed to the normal mayonnaise. It had a touch of Cajun spice, was chilled and served with Flat Breads, jalapeno slices, celery and carrot sticks. It was magnificent as promised and in fact, the best I’ve had.
The Margarita was served in a 16 ounce cocktail shaker glass and my wife remarked that it was not too sweet and that she could actually taste the Tequila. My Bud arrived in an ice cold, frosted mug.
Lynn took the rest of our order and said “Please enjoy your appetizers.”
I ordered a soft shell crab sandwich and my wife ordered the Grouper Salad with the Asian Vinaigrette. We ordered a side of slaw and the fires. Lynn paid attention to us as well as the other 4 tables that seemed to be her assignment. She returned, cleared our appetizer dishes and then said she would be right back with our meals. She returned in less than 2 minutes.
Another WOW!! The soft shell crab was perfectly crisp and jumbo sized, served on a grilled potato roll with a spicy remoulade on the side. Garnished with fresh tomato and crisp lettuce and a slice of pickle it looked incredible on the plate. Someone in the kitchen was taking pains to present the food quite well. One bite and I was a devotee. The crab was crisp with a panko batter and obviously fried in fresh oil. The accompanying fries were crisp as well, lightly spiced and were not fried in the same fish oil. ( pet peeve of mine). The slaw was light on the mayo with a hint of caraway and it was delicious. My wife’s salad arrived on a huge round platter. Fresh field greens; I detected Bibb lettuce, Romaine, Radicchio and Arugula and a huge (12 OZ.?) piece of grouper which glistened.
The greens were chilled, no grit and not wet. The fish was amazingly clean and fresh tasting and the Asian Dressing had a hint of ginger and peanut. It was superb!!
Lynn returned after a short while, maybe 5 bites, and asked if all was OK and would we want another round. We declined and she asked if we would like some cold water. We said yes and she returned with two glasses of water with lemon wedges in a monkey dish!!
We finished our meal and I mean every morsel. Lynn returned at just the right time to clear our plates and suggest their homemade Key Lime Pie and Cheesecake. We were tempted but decided against it. Lynn placed the check on the table, said she’s take it whenever we were ready but if we decided to have the Key Lime Pie she would be glad to bring some.
We left the cash plus a 29% tip and vowed to return soon.
|This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure: 100 places to eat like a local|