Fine dining in Florida...
I've now had dinners at Ruth Chris, Shula's on the Beach, Council Oak at Hard Rock (by far the best), and Fish Bones
I would not be the least bit surprised if these establishments were run by the same organization. They have almost the same cookie-cutter operation.
Every app... seafood consists of "out of state" oysters.. jumbo shrimp.. "African cold water" lobster tail.. and jumbo lump crab. I did note some "local" clams but that makes sense because little-necks are plentiful locally. Of course you can have some fried squid for 20.00 (don't worry the dipping sauce is free!)
The cuts of beef... basically all the same from place to place. Small.. medium.. large.. and stupid large. They all claim "aged" and "above prime" the nifty cuts are "bone-in" .. that's creative?! They are above most normal restaurants but at around 3x the cost you certainly don't get 3x the flavor.
I went from one to the next, to the next, and I thought to myself "same menu... same ala cart huge portion over-priced sides"
I'm not saying the food isn't good or isn't fresh. At Shula's I did 3 times have to remove cracked shell from my mouth from the lobster in their seafood cocktail and what I couldn't get out I swallowed rather than spit my food out in front of my co-workers. That was no fun. But otherwise good food... can't imagine any of it was really a good price but it is what it is.
These are the "go-to" places... it's sad. I don't want to "go-to" any of them again. The first night was good... I had steak.. and great crab.. bread.. etc. Then... what the hell to order? It's all the same only not as good?
Where is the creativity? I've fallen into a gold-vein of food for out of town corporate types, and it's not a good feeling.
If you come to Florida .. please.. research some independent places and find the chefs that are struggling to serve unique food at a reasonable price. Chances are.. if you're a fat cat sitting on a big corporate budget you aren't going to give one damn about my opinion and you're gonna eat at the "TOP" place on the beach.. but maybe someone out there will read this and think twice.. it's worth it.