Friday, September 16, 2011
Mussels and Martinis
Do you remember how I raved about the saucy and sensual garlic shrimp in Oahu's Kahuka region?
While I would gladly fly 5,000 miles to repeat that delightful culinary experience, I have found a similar lusty substitute close to home.
I normally avoid I-95 like the plague, but I would happily drive 40 miles to Fort Lauderdale for some of Timpano's mussels and martinis.
My mouth waters like Pavlov's dog on the northbound journey.
The black mussels arrive on a sizzling cast iron skillet coated in sea salt after being roasted in extra virgin olive oil. As if that wasn't enough, a bit of drawn butter for dipping adds a touch of lusciousness. Crusty bread sits waiting to sop up the juices and you'd swear -- once the skillet cools down and nobody's looking -- that you'd lick it after the bread runs out.
The tender mussels are waiting to be ravished, sitting inside pearly shells, heady with the briny fragrance of the sea. This dish transports me to some wild, rugged seashore.
The martinis are perfection too, generously poured and shaken to a very cool, crisp temperature.
This simple but seductive repast can be enjoyed at table or in the Sinatra bar, which features a lounge area with live jazz. Timpano's is a sophisticated joint, but it's warm and casual enough that you can forego your seafood fork and slurp in all that mussel goodness by hand. After all, no meal is truly sensual without it being a little sloppy.
There are so many textures to this dish -- the hardness of the shells, the softness of the meat, the silkiness of the butter, the coarseness of the salt -- all of this makes it so fun to eat. Go here on a date and if the two of you aren't horny by the end of this dish, you'd better be calling your doctor for some help.
Oh, and the rest of their food is pretty damn good, too. But for me, even just the mussels and martinis are worth the schlep.
Timpano's Chophouse is located on Las Olas Boulevard and offers a great happy hour, Monday - Friday 4 to 7 PM, featuring $5 bar menu and 1/2 off select liquors, wines and bottled beers.