There’s been a lot of construction and destruction in the emerging North Beach neighborhood (NoBe? Give it time) that sits blocks off of the sands, just north of Las Olas and south of Sunrise boulevards.
It was having a $20 million dollar makeover that took over two years. And now the property, which quietly opened in mid-April, is introducing a new restaurant called Botanic into the SoFlo cuisine scene.
“What we like to say is it’s South Florida [ingredients] with heavy Latino and Caribbean influences,” explains executive chef Rashaad Abdool. “We have local fresh fish from the local waters here. Fruits and berries and really the all around produce we get from local farms down here in South Florida.”
The menu features eight small shareable plates such as seared tuna sliders and crispy shrimp tacos. There are also three ceviches ($12 and $16) as well as three pizza choices ($14-$17).
Entrees include dishes ranging from red snapper in a coconut lemongrass broth, peanut gremolata over sweet potato and zucchini noodles ($33) to a spring vegetable quinoa with roasted cauliflower, asparagus, braised fennel, spring onion quinoa and pea shoots ($18).
Small plates are priced between $8-$18 and large plates are $18-$34. Botanic can seat 116 guests between indoor and outdoor seating, including a private dining room. The bar menu — which focuses on tropical and classic craft cocktails — includes 10-12 cocktails, 50 back bar spirits, 10 wines by the glass, 50 wines by the bottle and 10 beers (mostly local brews) by the bottle.
Though his family’s heritage is Trinidad and Tobago, Abdool was born and raised in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Before helming Botanic, he was executive chef at Diplomat Prime in Hollywood and before that executive sous chef at Stephen Starr’s Steak 954 in the nearby W Fort Lauderdale hotel.
He feels all of that gives him a firm grasp of what will resonate with travelers and locals.
“There is a specific breakfast one that we created, Eggs Botanic, our take on a classic eggs Benedict,” he explains. “Instead of an English muffin, we put it in on Cuban bread. We press it so it’s kind of like a Cuban sandwich, so it’s nice and crispy on both sides. And then we do avocado, some Black Forest ham, and then we do some poached eggs. And the thing that makes it Cuban for us is we do a mojo hollandaise. So it’s your traditional hollandaise but we spike it with mojo sauce, which, you know, is citrusy, garlicy, herbaceous.”
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He’s also excited about the Street Corn Salad.
“It’s a dish I kind of threw together,” Abdool says. “I do almost a deconstructed street corn, charred with chipotle aioli, with fresh blueberries from South Florida, fresh lime juice, coriander…and it’s finished with crispy grits croutons. At the friends and family [opening event] everybody thought the blueberries were olives.”
The Street Corn Salad is $13 and the Eggs Botanic is $16.
Botanic opened for breakfast April 29 and for dinner on May 3. Lunch service is still being tweaked and as for a weekend brunch, “That’s in the pipeline,” says Abdool.
Behind the three connected two-story buildings that make up the Goodland Hotel, there is an eight-story residential building, which will have a rooftop restaurant next to a swimming pool. The concept is still being developed, but hotel guests will have access when it opens later this fall.
The property started as the Escape Hotel in the 1950s, built by hospitality honcho and construction czar George Gill Jr. In the 1980s, the Escape closed and the buildings were bought by Marriott and repurposed as the Tiffany House, an assisted living facility, which stayed open until 2010. For years the property sat vacant until it was announced that it would be reborn as the Gale Fort Lauderdale Hotel, which never opened though the remodeling started in 2018. Soon after, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants took over the project and opened the Goodland Hotel on April 14, 2021.
- Breakfast is served daily from 7-10:30 a.m. Dinner is served Sundays-Thursdays from 5-10:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5-11 p.m. Lunch service hours will be announced soon.