Why is it that everything is so much more fun if you do it when you should otherwise be working? On a day when you are not at said office but are out enjoying the wonders of beach living and the simple life (as if I like anything simple), make your way to Deerfield Beach. Take Hillsborough Blvd east and head for ze beach. There’s a little area full of surfers, half naked tweens and half naked surfing tweens. There are also a few good places to have a snack and a nice cold bevvy. Its also home to two places that actually let you eat steps away from the beach…Oceans 234 and JB’s. You’d think in South Florida there would be a ton of places where you can actually eat on the beach right? You thought wrong.
Steps away from the beach is a fairly popular eatery, Whale’s Rib. Its been there for 30 years (give or take a year) and really gained notoriety when spikey haired Food Network darling, Guy Fieri paid a visit for his popular show “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” in 2010. The program featured one of Whale’s Ribs most popular dishes, the Key West dolphin sandwich.
The interior is a rustic seafood dive bar with a large bar as you walk in and several small rooms for dining in. The walls are adorned with fish, fishing photos and old timey Florida knick knacks. Its style is very casual – you’ll fit in nicely if your bathing suit is on under your clothes or you’re wearing flip flops. On any given day, you will find a variety of fresh local fish and can have it cooked several ways like blackened, grilled, fried. Its raw bar is extensive and so reasonably priced. The menu is 90% seafood but seems to satisfy every taste with pasta, chicken and even prime rib. But really the star here is the seafood. So popular, most busy nights you can wait approximately 1 1/2 hours for your table if you’re not able to secure a coveted spot in the bar area.
On this particular visit, my dining companion and I waited 30 minutes and decided to split a few items. I started with a Bloody Mary. It was mediocre at best, even after I added one of many table side hot sauces. Having had some spectacular Mary’s before (like at the St. Regis Hotel who has perfected it), this one was meh at best. I have a photo of it but why post a photo of meh?
Oysters. Love them. Raw. Fried. Rockefeller. Love. Raw is really the best way to enjoy them. When served perfectly chilled with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce and horseradish, there are few dishes that are as perfect as an oyster. (As a side note, adding all of these items into a shot of beer for an oyster shooter, as taught to me by some bloke, makes for one fantastic shot. Its my second favorite way to have an oyster.) For a very reasonable price of $10.99 Whales Rib will give you a dozen average sized oysters to feast on. Ive had bigger (thats what she said) and Ive had worse. These were perfectly fine and fresh and so good we ordered a few more after we finished our meal. The horseradish here is pretty strong… you’ve been warned.
Moving on to shrimp. We settled on the rock shrimp and coconut shrimp which came with their Famous Whale Fries. Rock Shrimp is a plate of medium size shrimp either steamed or boiled in old bay seasoning and then tossed with some additional old bay before being served. The result is a rock hard shrimp shell on the outside. Served with a side of melted butter and lemon wedges your manicure will most definitely be put to the test. Peeling the shrimp open takes a little bit of muscle but the reward is well worth it – a moist perfectly seasoned piece of shrimp. You’ll fight over the last one.
The coconut shrimp, always a favorite of mine, was coated in huge pieces of shredded coconut. Nice and crispy, no hint of them being burned or overdone, they were served with a glorious side of orange marmalade sauce for dunking. And dunk we did.
The famous Whale fries are served along side most entrees.People cant mention Whales Rib without talking about the fries and sauce. They’re not actually fries but chips (or crisps for the UK folk) made on site. What makes them world famous is the sauce served with them – a sweet honest mustard like dipping sauce. I tried to figure out what the sauce actually was or what its secret ingredient was and Google only offered “honest mustard crack” so we’ll just go with that.
3 out of 5 forks.
Whales Rib Raw Bar, 2031 NE 2nd Street, Deerfield Beach, Florida