Mastro’s Ocean Club – a part of national upmarket chain Mastro’s Restaurants – is a new entry to Fort Lauderdale’s arrive-via-land-or-water Intracoastal dining scene. We asked Chef Rocco Nankervis – whose previous stops include the Fort Lauderdale Ritz-Carlton, and who has appeared on Food Network program Chopped – about what makes his new workplace unique.

Q: Fort Lauderdale is Mastro’s first foray into Florida. What was the appeal of this location?
A: Fort Lauderdale was a natural fit for Mastro’s. The desirable location and waterfront views were the perfect complement to our fine fare. The amazing patio offers plenty of slip space for yachts to dock and dine. The opportunity was perfect in every way.

Q: Most cities, including Fort Lauderdale, have at least one or two high-end steakhouses, and of course here we also have a number of places that do excellent seafood. In a crowded market, what makes Mastro’s stand out?
A: Mastro’s commitment to excellence is unparalleled. From Japanese A5 Wagyu, Florida grouper, charred Spanish octopus, we source the freshest seafood and finest cuts of meat to cultivate the great offerings on our menu. The incredible dining experience is complete with live music seven days a week and amazing waterfront views.

Q: The Fort Lauderdale location is billed as “Mastro’s Ocean Club,” and it features amenities such as a big outdoor area overlooking the Intracoastal. What role does the physical space and design play in the Mastro’s experience?
A: Location is a big factor. It sets the tone for the guest experience. Our waterfront seating and cabanas are the ultimate place to be, especially at sunset. The patio has a retractable roof that opens up completely when the weather is just right. Mastro’s is a destination restaurant and each location is purposely unique in its own way.

Q: The menu’s diverse – in addition to steaks and traditional seafood, there’s even a sushi section. In your experience, is that in keeping with what today’s diners want? Is it difficult staffing kitchens that can create such diverse cuisines?
A: Our menu is eclectic. However, we strive to be the best, even with such a wide range of options. Mastro’s is not your typical steakhouse or seafood restaurant. We offer some of the finer things in life –things you do not find in every restaurant. It’s a special occasion each time you dine with us. In particular, the Fort Lauderdale location has one of the largest menus in the company. We have so many great options from the waters surrounding us. We wanted to capitalize on this and offer the best to our patrons. The prime steaks, local seafood options, and sushi items are what define us. We have elaborate systems in order to offer all these items, which is no easy task. The chefs work hard to make sure we are executing at the highest level to deliver an unparalleled dining experience.

Q: Finally, tell me about some signature dishes. Is there a type of steak that you know will always fly out the door? Are diners’ taste in fish different in a place like Fort Lauderdale where we have so many seafood restaurants? And tell me a bit about the Warm Buttercake.
A: Our menu has so many great options to choose from. We have a much higher concentration on local seafood at this location. Some of my favorite items are the Japanese A5 Striploin, Alaska King Crab Black Truffle Gnocchi, and the Clear Lobster Roll. Then there’s everyone’s favorite, the Warm Buttercake. We serve it with vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce and fresh segments of strawberry and orange. After the first bite, it becomes addictive as well as memorable. Once you have it you will never be the same without it!


The Dish: Yacht 27 Sangria

It’s not just the Mastro’s food menu that they’ve tailored specifically to Fort Lauderdale. Here they share a recipe for a tasty boat drink.

Ingredients:
  • 4 ea. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
  • 1 orange slice, do not muddle, add ice
  • 1 oz. Yacht Club vodka
  • 1 oz. Fonseca Bin 27 port
  • ½ oz. St-Germain Elderflower
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ½ lemon squeeze and discard
Method

Shake and pour into a wine glass. Add a splash of club soda. Garnish with lemon zest.

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