Fins and Things: A Taste of Jamaica in the City of Sunrise, FL
About a month ago, my husband, cousin visiting from Canada, and I were literally in the car searching for some great seafood. Having an association with the Florida Palate puts a lot of pressure to show my out-of-town guest the finest and tastiest locations to enjoy a meal. At 9:00 pm on a Friday night with my cousin's pescatarian dietary restrictions, our choices were dwindling quickly. Luckily, I know several people that enjoy food as much as I do, so I made a few calls. After shooting down several suggestions, they mentioned "Fins and Things." We quickly did a few searches on our phones and scoped out the menu and the pictures. It seemed like we had found a runner up that would quench my cousin's love of Jamaican food and meet her dietary restrictions.
"Fins and Things" is a Jamaican restaurant in Sunrise, FL that provides an authentic Jamaican seafood menu. When we walked into the restaurant it was a sit-down establishment, which is not always common for Jamaican restaurants in South Florida. It had a bar-like atmosphere with televisions cascading the walls with sporting events on mute and ol'school reggae and r&b videos playing throughout the restaurant. Everyone was extremely laid back and you'll find yourself tapping your feet and going back down memory lane as the songs change on the television.
The drink menu host carbonated beverages, Caribbean inspired cocktails and drinks, and of course Jamaica's renowned Red Stripe beer. I've been to this restaurant several times since my first visit, and I've had the coconut water and strawberry daiquiri. The coconut water did not taste like someone was out in the back with a machete. I believe it was store bought, however it was still tasty and refreshing. The strawberry daiquiri came with two cherries on top and was a great option to cool my mouth while I devoured the spices. My husband ordered the Red Stripe beer. If you're familiar with Red Stripe beer, then I don't have to describe it to you. However, if you haven't tried it, I think that you should taste it to see the difference between American beer and Jamaican beer. I'm not a beer drinker, but I think that it has a smooth and distinct flavor.
Since my first time visiting the restaurant with my cousin and husband, I have dined one more time, gotten take-out about ten times, and sent all of my family members to try this local taste of Jamaica. It's hard for me to order anything other than the "Hellshire Escovitch Spicy" fish. This dish takes me back to Jamaica every time I eat it! I have a fond memory of being at Hellshire Beach in Jamaica as a child. By the beach, their was plank with a covering that had a group of men frying fish and rolling cornmeal to make festival (festivals are similar to biscuits but they are made with cornmeal and they are sweeter). My mother, as always, gave me some because she wanted me to have a diverse palate. Who cares if I choked on a bone from the fish... she knew that with a little instruction I would appreciate the Jamaican food culture as much as she did. Even as a child, I ate that fried fish and festival like it was my last meal, and festival became my new go-to Jamaican side dish.
Other than the escovitch fish, I've had the steamed fish and the "Negril Jerk Shrimp." The steamed fish is very good and you can get it with a bed of steamed vegetables for a really healthy meal. The jerk shrimp is very spicy, you may need a tissue to blow your nose when you're done! Both meals come with rice and peas,a Jamaican form of rice, red beans, and coconut milk that is sooooo yummy. The rice and peas really could be served alone because it makes such a delicious statement. However, as tasty as those two dishes are, they can't touch the escovitch fish in my opinion. The menu has curry entrees, lobster, conch, and other seafood dishes that I have no tried yet. I'm looking forward to trying the lobster entrees on my next several visits.
With everything that is great, there has to be a downside. You all know that I share the good, bad, and in between with you because I want you to have an amazing dining experience. One of the reasons that the food taste so fresh at "Fins and Things" is because it's made to order. Your fish isn't scaled, seasoned, or cooked until you place your order. Fresh food! This is great, right? Well, not everyone sees it that way. As Americans,we have become accustomed to chains that can produce our food rapidly. So, once the conversation at the table starts to slow down and our food is not there yet we typically get a little antsy and equate slow service with poor service. So, if you go to the restaurant during the day, you will usually get your food in a reasonable amount of time. However, if it's a busy night, expect to wait. How do I get around this? I order my food and pick it up 30 minutes later. I'd rather eat my fish at home. anyway. I'm too classy to suck on my bones in public. ; D
Extra information: This is not a fine dining establishment, it is more of a sports bar that allows you to relax, hear some old tunes, and eat some amazing food. The price is reasonable for seafood. They even have an incredibly priced lunch special, but I usually want a little more food than what is offered in the lunch special.
Would I recommend this restaurant: I've been telling everyone about it! It's the closest taste to Jamaica that I have had in Florida.