by Fat Hand
Update: Bluejay’s is closed as of May 2011 : (
The Himmarshee district of downtown Fort Lauderdale offers plenty of bars, but precious few restaurants. In the two years since Creolina’s tragically closed its doors, the only real options have been Himmarshee Bar & Grill (which is fantastic but way too expensive for a default go-to option), Tarpon Bend (which makes an acceptable burger but is certainly nothing special), and Briny’s (whose food is interesting only in that it is fun when you find something edible on the menu). But thankfully we have a new option: Bluejay’s Cafe which opened last week on Himmarshee Street, just across the alley from Fat Cats.
Serving breakfast on the weekends and lunch and dinner every day except Monday at extremely reasonable prices, a place like Bluejay’s has been sorely needed in the neighborhood. Having eaten at Bluejay’s three times in the last week despite the short-sighted refusal of the FTLC editorial board to provide a food stipend, yet encouraged by New Times blogger Bill Citara’s inspirational post about amateur food critics, I say !#$%& Bill Citara and offer my take on Bluejay’s.
But before we get to the review, Bluejay’s is already attracting local pseudo-celebrities of certain notoriety as evidenced by the above picture taken last night. On the left is Russ Adler, the former name partner in Scott Rothstein’s law firm, dining with another gentleman I recognize from obsessive reading of Bob Norman’s blog, but cannot quite place…another Rothstein attorney? A local restauranteur? Anybody recognize the man on the right in my blurry picture? (Sorry, I’m a lover, not a photographer). But I digress…to the review!
The alcohol situation:
Bluejay’s does not have a liquor license. There is a yellow sign on the front of the restaurant notifying the public about an upcoming hearing regarding this license, and while I am sure that a liquor license is great and necessary for a restaurant, for patrons this short unlicensed period offers an opportunity to bring your own beer or wine (which the wait staff is more than happy to open and serve) and save a bundle on a great meal. Good luck Bluejay’s on the liquor license and I promise I will not show up at that meeting to oppose it.
Food that is amazing:
Shrimp & Crawfish Flatbread for 10 bills off the appetizer menu. Truly inspired. The ample crawfish chunks, along with shrimp, corn, scallions, red peppers and cotija cheese makes this a Southern U.S./Tex-Mex delicacy.
The Spanish rice accompanying the half-chicken entree. Infused with jalapeno, along with corn, tomato, and green and white onions, this rice offers a kick that is rare in a rice dish. Seriously, one of my best rice dishes yet eaten.
Food that is very good:
The filet. For 25 bucks you get a very good cut of meat, well prepared, served with mashed potatos. My only suggestion is that it would be nice to have a vegetable along with the meat and potatos, but what are you gonna do?
Half-chicken entree. Good seasoning, but I must say, I can’t stop thinking about the rice.
Food that is also good:
Skirt Steak Tacos, Fish Tacos. Both meals are just seven dollars for three tacos which are served in soft corn tortillas with filling of tomatoes, corn, onions, lettuce and cheese. The sizable tacos are certainly better than your average taco, and the grouper in the fish tacos tasted great; plus it was refreshing to see a restaurant not claim that every chunk of fish in every taco is dolphin…because come on, we all know that there is not an unlimited supply of mahi every season at every restaurant.
Roast Beef Sandwich. It’s a roast beef sandwich. Get it with the tasty sweet potato fries.
Bluejay’s: the best of luck. You seem well-situated for your market and serve very good food…much better than I was expecting from a brand-new establishment. The restaurant business is tough, but you have a passionate supporter in Fat Hand and, I can only imagine, Russ Adler. And Russ, the best of luck to you too sir.