Our server cut to the chase when we asked what menu items he recommended.
Any of the fish or seafood dishes, he said without pause.
This is what you want to hear when you’re dining oceanside at a handsomely set place, as is Sinclair’s Ocean Grill, the recently renovated restaurant and lounge inside the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa.
And this pleasant server was right on the mark. We chose to make a feast of Sinclair’s ocean offerings – and it was a delicious one.
We started our recent dinner with the Trio of Shrimp appetizer ($16), a strikingly presented platter of six shrimp, featuring two smoky bacon-wrapped shrimp, two Caribbean skewers of grilled shrimp and tangy fruit salsa, and two shot glasses containing grilled, fennel-laced shrimp served over greens in a cocktail sauce. Although each different, each preparation offered plump, well-seasoned shrimp that were grilled to a tender finish.
For our entrees, we ordered three of the fish specialties, each featuring locally caught fish, according to our server, and each prepared in a notably different fashion.
My favorite of the three proved to be the Citrus Mahi Mahi ($26), a fresh, succulent fillet, well seasoned and grilled, served in a wine reduction and topped with a summery fruit salsa and an orchid blossom. A small mound of red pepper-laced basmati rice, served alongside the fillet, benefited from the delicious, light wine sauce.
A fresh yellowtail snapper ($30) was prepared in a bold Mediterranean style, with a briny kalamata olive-studded caper sauce, a sauce that teetered on overpowering the delicate fish. The fillet was served alongside tomato-basil relish and a good-sized scoop of (overly) thick Parmesan polenta. The fillet proved to be fresh and tasty once liberated of excess sauce.
Also tasty, though a bit overcooked around the edges, was the fillet of Atlantic black grouper ($32), topped with a lovely and lemony crab salad and served in a lightly sweet herbed hollandaise sauce. As the other fillets, this one was served atop a latticework of lightly steamed, fresh and crisp green beans and carrots.
We enjoyed our entrées in a setting that’s understated, yet elegant. We had watched the view – a deck view of the sea grape-lined path to the ocean – fade to black as night fell. The tables that were filled, on the deck as well as inside the restaurant and lounge’s two dining rooms, appeared to be occupied by resort guests at leisure. I only assume this because the valet attendant told us he had just one other car come in that night.
It seems the place, despite its prime location and well-executed dishes, has not caught on as a dining destination for the public at large. Which is too bad.
On the other hand, I’m not sure Sinclair’s can withstand an onslaught of north county diners. On both of my visits, one for lunch and one for dinner, I noted lags in service, a long wait for entrées and an even longer wait for our check. Granted, there was a huge family party at a nearby table and wedding happening outside. The staff appeared to be busy.
During my lunch visit recently, our server seemed to disappear for a long while. We had few complaints about our dishes, however.
The clam chowder ($7), though thin in stock, was flavorful. The chicken quesadilla ($11), was every bit of the crisp, cheesy, hearty bite we expected.
The shrimp cocktail ($12) offered at least a half-dozen large, plump shrimp alongside a spicy pineapple salsa and Caribbean cocktail sauce.
The blackened mahi mahi sandwich ($14) was a tasty, hefty affair. However, I found the lobster filling in the lobster roll ($19) to be lightweight. I missed the meaty bite of warm lobster chunks. I did love the sweet potato salad side dish – it’s a different, intriguing take on the classic.
One word about dessert: order the homemade bananas foster ($8). Creamy cheesecake is wrapped inside a tortilla, like a burrito, deep-fried, and served with sliced bananas that were flambéed in a rum butter sauce. It’s a decadent and delicious way to end a seaside meal.
R E V I E W
Sinclair’s Ocean Grill
ADDRESS: 5 N. A1A, (in the Jupiter Beach Resort, at the eastern end of Indiantown Road), Jupiter
PRICE RANGE: Moderate to expensive
HOURS: Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
CREDIT CARDS: All major
RESERVATIONS: Accepted; walk-ins welcome
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes
WHAT THE GRADES MEAN:
A — Excellent
B — Good
C — Average
D — Poor
F — Don’t bother