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Amelia Islander

Sandy Bottoms Beach Bar & Grill

Jun 06, 2016 10:48AM
When you live on Amelia Island, you can take a “staycation” any time you want. I recently invited my sister Laura to join me for a special girls’ weekend in a suite at Seaside Amelia Inn. The hotel is located right next to Sandy Bottoms Beach Bar & Grill, where you can enjoy oceanfront dining with your toes literally right in the sand. It also has a large covered patio on the beach, as well as the Ocean Oasis Beach Bar, with its unobstructed view of the ocean. It was our first stop after we checked into our hotel. Chef Nick Hartley suggested some of the restaurant’s signature dishes for us to try, and servers Ashley and Jessie were eager to take care of us. They suggested we start with a cocktail, and we were happy to oblige! Sandy Bottoms’ mixologists are always coming up with new drink combinations, so Laura and I asked them to surprise us with one of their specialty drinks. We were presented with Orange Lime Mojitos, a thirst-quenching beverage loaded with fresh lime juice, oranges, mint, and rum. What a treat! Our appetizers consisted of Caribbean Nachos and Tuscan Calamari, two of Sandy Bottoms’ most popular offerings. The signature tri-colored tortilla chips are piled high with melted mozzarella, Peruvian pulled pork, black bean mango salsa, jalapenos, scallions, and spicy Bam Bam Sauce. The sauce is a spicy chili sauce mixed with mayonnaise, and it’s the perfect addition to the other ingredients. The Tuscan Calamari was like no other calamari dish I’ve ever had. Chef Nick told me they cut the fresh squid there at the restaurant, and then hand bread it before deep frying. They were golden brown, incredibly tender, and drizzled with sun-dried tomato garlic oil. There was also a lovely, fresh micro-greens salad on the plate, which was such a nice addition to this appetizer. We also shared a Florida Citrus Salad that was brimming with lettuce, spinach, tropical fruit, tomatoes, onions, and cukes, drizzled with homemade citrus vinaigrette. For our entrees, we feasted on Key West Shrimp and Lobster and Caribbean Fusion Tuna. Both dishes were superb! The Key West Shrimp and Lobster features tender seafood with onions and bell peppers sautéed and glazed with their special lime juice/hot sauce mixture, served over a bed of citrus-spiked rice and scallions. What I loved about this dish was the care taken with the rice, in addition to the perfectly cooked shrimp and lobster. The rice was so delicious I could have eaten that on its own, and I love it when a chef pays extra attention to the starch and vegetables on the plate. The tuna was also very well-prepared, seared to medium rare and topped with a homemade tropical fruit salsa, then drizzled with a ginger reduction and a bit more Bam Bam Sauce. I didn’t think we’d have room for dessert, but we could hardly resist a slice of Reese’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie served with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. What a wonderful ending to a perfect meal, served right at the beach! Sandy Bottoms is open 7 days a week and features live entertainment every night. For more information, call (904) 310-6904 or visit www.sandybottomsamelia.com.