I am a big fan of tours: historical tours, museum tours, food tours. You name it, this nerd is DOWN. So, when I was invited to tour the three food and beverage outlets just opened at the newly renovated Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, I was ecstatic.
An over $100 million renovation has been undertaken by Howard Wein Hospitality (HWH), The Diplomat Beach Resort and Thayer Lodging Group, to transform the Diplomat into both a vacation and dining destination from "coast to Intracoastal". When 2017 ends, over 10 new eateries and restaurants will be open including concepts by celebrity chef, Michael Schulson, Food Network TV star and Chopped judge, Geoffrey Zakarian, and a beachfront casual taco and Nuevo Latino spot helmed by Chefs Sue Torres and Darren Carbone.
For this inaugural visit, we made our way first to Diplomat Landing on the Intercoastal, where the afternoon started at Bristol’s Burgers, a trendy casual eatery serving up fresh grilled burgers on homemade buns paired with signature cocktails, local craft beers, gourmet milkshakes, and more.
The Louis Salad is served as a traditional wedge salad with chilled jumbo lump crabmeat, shrimp and lemon.
The show-stopping beer battered onion brick with grilled lemon horseradish dip transforms the traditional onion ring into a work of true culinary architecture. Florida Fries are served with ranch pepper jack cheese sauce, beef chili and bacon bits. Next, we moved onto the restaurant’s signature sandwiches that dazzle and entice every palate.
The smoked boneless rib sandwich is made of chopped Berkshire spare ribs with creamy red coleslaw and Carolina bbq sauce. The double bacon burger features twice the bacon-y goodness, cheddar, pickles, and homemade ranch dressing. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of pickles, but the homemade pickles from Bristol’s are a work of vinegar-y, acidic art. The crispy chicken sandwich is a straightforward classic with spicy mayo, dill pickles, and shredded lettuce. Dessert at Bristol’s came in the form of the Brass Monkey milkshake that features peanut butter ice cream, banana, and candied bacon caramel.
Once “appeased” (more like stuffed) by elevated burgers and more at Bristol’s Burgers, we made our way across the landing to Portico Beer & Wine Garden, a quaint reimagined upscale Italian joint approaching the classics a little differently. When speaking with Culinary Director Mike Fiorello, he talked us through his inspiration for approachable Italian fare to match the laid-back outdoor patio vibe Portico offers. This inspiration came in the form of various bruschetta offerings.
We sampled the eggplant Milanese bruschetta with ricotta salata, arugula, roasted peppers and basil. Keeping with traditional Italian flavors, the porchetta bruschetta is served with charred escarole, lemon, and caper-parmesan aioli. Venturing off the beaten path, Portico features a Philly roast pork bruschetta with grilled broccoli, sharp provolone, and Calabrian chili and a smoked short rib pastrami bruschetta with pickled cabbage, caraway seed, and house mustard.
Other stand out bites from Portico include truffle popcorn, which would be incredibly dangerous when eaten in front of the TV with a side of Netflix. Meatballs are served with a spicy tomato sauce and pecorino cheese.
The jar of fresh pickled veggies offers a welcomed freshness to the menu and is served with ricotta and fresh toasted ciabatta. Sticking to the classics, you can enjoy fried local mozzarella and garlic Parmesan chicken wings prepared in the pizza oven.
Last and certainly not least, we sampled Portico's pizzas. The holy trinity of pizza: pepperoni, smoked prosciutto with arugula, tomato and shaved Parmesan, and roasted mushroom with black truffle white sauce, Parmesan and fresh scallions.
We then made our way back to the Diplomat resort lobby across the street to sample our last stop of the tour: Diplomat Prime. We were welcomed into our private dining room in the wine cellar with classic steakhouse cocktails like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Tom Collins, and daiquiris.
We suddenly re-discovered our appetites upon the arrival of the seafood tower with both east and west coast oysters, fresh lobster tails, stone crabs, and fresh shrimp. Lobster risotto is a plate of beauty with velvet risotto and perfectly poached lobster.
One of the highlights of the day was the Grilled octopus which is served with edamame hummus, black olive, French feta, and daikon radish.
The watercress salad is served with manchego cheese, marcona almonds, mango and roasted garlic dressing and presented beautifully and vibrantly.
Lobster mac and cheese is expertly executed with fresh poached Maine lobster. Local heirloom zucchini is served with Korean chili, lemon, basil and dill.
Now, it wouldn’t be a trip to a traditional steakhouse without the meat and potatoes. Steak tartare has deservedly become a steakhouse classic and at Prime it's served with cornichons, capers, tarragon, and egg yolk confit. The tomahawk steak is expertly seasoned after being dry aged in house for 48 to 60 days.
For me, however, the stars at Diplomat Prime are the two potato dishes. Duck fat fries are basically my religion. Perfectly crisp and with a more developed inherent flavor than its traditional counterpart. Not something you see everyday at steakhouses, tater tots are served with a spicy cheese sauce. Chef Fiorello gave us the insight that this dish is an homage to the Peruvian classic: papa a la huancaina. This dish is absolutely TO DIE FOR.
Overall, the food and beverage outlets at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood Beach provide something for the whole family; from casual burgers to trendy out of the box Italian fare and a classic steakhouse reinventing old favorites.
For hotel guests, this array of restaurants provides a good reason to never leave! And for locals, an opportunity to visit the newly renovated Diplomat and enjoy these great new options.
Stay tuned for more updates and more visits to enjoy Diplomat Eats!
And for a limited time share a photo on Instagram of your burger at #BristolsBurgers tagging @DiplomatEats to receive a complimentary draft beer with your meal. Limit one beer per customer – so bring your friends! Offer expires 12/31/16.
3555 S Ocean Dr,
Hollywood, FL 33019