Category: (15)

The branzino ravioli at Pompano Grill is bathed in a lemon compound butter with a hit of rosemary and garlic, blistered grape tomatoes, a shrimp ragu and pesto garnish. (Photo: Erika Sampson/Pompano Grill)

The branzino ravioli at Pompano Grill is bathed in a lemon compound butter with a hit of rosemary and garlic, blistered grape tomatoes, a shrimp ragu and pesto garnish. (Photo: Erika Sampson/Pompano Grill)

If you haven’t visited Pompano Grill in recent weeks, you’re in for a real treat, for owner Jackie Sampson recently welcomed Chef Luca Filadi to her restaurant.

You remember Filadi, he of the great, late Mango Tree in Cocoa Beach and Cibo in Rockledge? Yup, he is now creating his culinary magic at Pompano Grill in Cocoa Beach.

“Luca has been with us about a month now,” said Sampson. “We have been working on some exiting new menu items.”

Irma did some damage to Pompano Grill, but the restaurant is back to normal. In fact, it reappeared better than ever, thanks to a remodel. With the new look and the new menu, things are rosy.

“Exciting things are ahead for us,” said Sampson.

Sampson is providing the perfect opportunity to get reacquainted with her restaurant, to enjoy the chef’s dishes and to get a head start on holiday merrymaking during Pompanos first annual Holiday Wine Mixer from 6 to 9 pm., Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Enjoy a sampling of Filadi’s special hors d’oeuvres and Sampson’s scrumptious desserts, while Sampson’s daughter, Erika, and Brian Kerney of Augustan Wine Imports pour a selection of aperitifs, white and red wines and bubblies as the Harbor City Trio entertain with live music during this “Sip, Swirl and Twirl” fest.

The mixer menu includes agnolotti al plin from Italy’s Piedmont, with fennel confit, langoustines and tarragon orange spuma; suppli di riso, Italian rice balls with zucchini and saffron; tuille with parmesan and cognac mousse; New York strip with red onion jam and horseradish sauce, fried goat cheese with beet gel and candied kumquat, grouper cheek scapece and a selection of mini-desserts paired with digestifs.

“No one else that we know of is doing them,” said Sampson. “It’s a tempura-battered softshell crab, deep fried and topped with a scapece of vegetables (Italian-style picked veggies) with a chipotle mayo.”

The pasta dishes at Pompano, all housemade, are definitely worth the stop.

“My personal favorite is the branzino ravioli,” said Sampson. “The filling is divine.”

Divine indeed, since the $26 entree is bathed in a lemon compound butter with a hit of rosemary and garlic, blistered grape tomatoes, a shrimp ragu and pesto garnish.

Other house specialties include the wasabi crusted yellow fin tuna (market price), served with baby bok choy and forbidden rice with a soy ginger and lime vinaigrette, the Day Boat Scallops, jumbo scallops served with Peruvian green chili sauce and Pompano’s housemade bacon-fig jam ($32), and Shrimp & Grits ($26), blackened shrimp served over Vermont white cheddar and jalapeno stone ground grits, topped with shrimp bisque and bacon lardons.

In addition to the crab tacos, you can also get started with appetizers such as escargot ($9), sauteed in a brandy cream sauce with leeks and capers, or the Panko-coated deep-fried brie wedges, also $9, served with a lingonberry compote.

From the land, Pompano Grill features entrees such as Jerk Chicken Mac & Cheese ($22), jerk-marinated chicken breast with onions, peppers and pineapple served the restaurant’s signature Vermont white cheddar mac ‘n cheese, topped with house-made pickled vegetables.

As for endings, there are plenty of happy ones at Pompano Grill, since Sampson well knows her way around drool-inducing desserts.

Have you tried

What: The new menu

Where: Pompano Grill, 110 N. Brevard Ave., Cocoa Beach

Info: 321-784-9005 or pompanogrill.com

Also: The Holiday Wine Mixer will be 6 to 9 pm. Nov. 14. Cost is $65 per guest, plus tax and gratuity. To reserve, call 321-784-9005.

Email toastofthecoastfloridatoday@gmail.com.

Article by Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

When Harris Corp. decided to remain headquartered in Brevard County, it spoke volumes to the world as a place to do business. (Photo: TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY)

When Harris Corp. decided to remain headquartered in Brevard County, it spoke volumes to the world as a place to do business. (Photo: TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY)

Brevard County’s unemployment rate now stands at 3.6 percent. Essentially the area can boast full employment.

The last time the jobless rate was lower was March 2006 when unemployment was 2.8 percent and the Space Coast work force stood at 263,752.

In 2006 things were humming. Residential home construction chugged along nicely on the Space Coast, though home prices had peaked the summer of 2005 and the tone had been set for a major recession two years in the offing.

Activity at the Kennedy Space Center still rock-and-rolled in 2006, with three space shuttle launches.

The Florida Gators would rack up national championships both in basketball and football in 2006 and the deification of Tim Tebow would begin a year later.

So here we are today with low unemployment in Brevard and a local labor force of 272,160, which is 8,000 people greater than what it was during those heady days of March 2006.

I started asking a few people who should get credit for the current labor scene and to be fair I cast a pretty diverse net to get responses. My mistake probably. It took all of five seconds for something simple to become political ping pong.

A couple people credited former President Barack Obama for “pulling us out of the recession” ala former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. And, they said, he did it without the benefit of a World War. (The families of some of the guys with graves at Normandy probably didn’t see World War II as that great of an economic benefit though.)

Current President Donald Trump’s name came up naturally with some because they he’s slashing cumbersome regulations and “draining the swamp.” I also was offered a “Make a America Great Again” hat and a peace offering of sorts.

“We know you’re not fake news but those other guys in the media, well…”

Needing a breather from politics, I developed my own list. Here it is:

  • May neighbor June, i.e. Us: The people of Brevard County have allowed for various tax breaks and incentives to encourage companies to move here. Maybe the inducements were needed, maybe not. But companies from Blue Origin, to Harris Corp., to Northrop Grumman say there were needed and they have taken advantage of the programs that also are offered by other states. They boosting the labor force at many levels.
  • Embraer, Harris, Northrop Grumman, Port Canaveral, etc.: It’s hard to overstate their importance. While Harris talked about moving its headquarters to Virginia — and maybe there was some subterfuge going on to game suitors — they stayed here and that speaks volumes to the livability of the Space Coast. Those well-paid engineers create other lower-tiered jobs and the economic spin-off is quite valuable.

Same with Northrop. Maybe expansion on the Space Coast was on the company’s radar screen all along but the Northrop’s gargantuan growth at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport says a lot about Brevard.

  • The local school product: No matter how good the weather, the beauty of the sunrise against the ocean and the tastiness of a Publix sandwich, if the schools suck then families aren’t going to move here. And that includes both the public and private schools. When I talk to new residents, schools usually rank a slim second to cost of living as the top reason they chose to move here.
  • Public agencies: Sure this gets tricky, and controversial. Some people lambaste the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, CareerSource Brevard and other publicly funded agencies.  Their budgets, efficacy, etc. are worthy of discussion. But I’ve seen their work up close and do believe they have roles to play.

 (If you ever have the opportunity, go spectate a CareerSource Brevard program and talk to the people that attend them. These are folks that often need a career, and emotional boost.The agency usually delivers.)

  • Finally, it’s hard overstate the normal state of business cycles:    

    Economists describe cyclical unemployment as the result of businesses not having enough demand for labor to employ all those who are looking for work at that point within the business cycle. Most business cycles are repetitive in nature, with the downturn eventually shifting to an upturn again, followed by another downturn.

Guess that means, let’s enjoy this cycle while it’s here.

Here are some average year-end unemployment rate numbers for Brevard over the last decade:

2007: 4.4 percent

2008: 6.7 percent

2009: 10.4 percent

2010: 11.3 percent

2011: 10.9 percent

2012: 9.4 percent

2013: 8.3 percent

2014: 7 percent

2015: 5.9 percent

2016: 5.2 percent

*2017: 4.4 percent

(*Through September. Figures from Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.)

Upcoming job fairs

  • Embraer will hold a job fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 1205 General Aviation Dr., at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport.

Embraer is looking for both first and second shift candidates for assembly technicians (avionics, hydraulic installation, structures, etc.); A&P technicians; aircraft painters, logistics operators; quality inspectors; and manufacturing engineers.

  • CareerSource Brevard will hold a veterans job fair from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 8 at its Palm Bay office, 5275 Babcock St. NE, Ste. 8B, Palm Bay.

    The event will be open to all from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    To learn, or to register, go to https://csbnov2017veteranjobfair.eventbrite.com

Price is Business Editor atFLORIDA TODAY.

Contact Price at 321-242-3658

or wprice@floridatoday.com.

Twitter: @fla2daybiz

Article by Wayne T. Price, Florida Today Business Editor, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia hasn't giving up his financial records quest related to the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. (Photo: PROVIDED PHOTO)

Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia hasn’t given up his financial records quest related to the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. (Photo: PROVIDED PHOTO)

The end of NASA’s shuttle program in 2011 in the midst of an economic recession attracted international attention as an “economic disaster” for the Space Coast. Six years later, Brevard County’s unemployment rate of 3.6 percent — down from 11.8 percent in 2010 — is on par with the state and below the rest of the country.

Several factors influence unemployment rates, such as the health of the national and state economies. But one organization has worked to attract and keep some of the county’s largest employers: the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.

The EDC not only has worked to lure businesses and investments to the area, but also to expand its existing space, technology and aerospace industries, help train workers and guide businesses in navigating the patchwork of regulations in Brevard County and its 16 municipal governments.

Since 2010, more than 8,700 jobs have been announced at companies the EDC has pushed to bring here and 70 percent of those jobs already have been filled. Those companies — including Northrop Grumman, Embraer, Space X, Blue Origin, OneWeb and Lockheed Martin — have a $1.6 billion impact in Brevard, according to the EDC.

Why do companies move here?

A company’s decision to move here is based on several factors, ranging from what incentives and tax breaks are available to the nitty-gritty such as the cost of utilities and quality of schools. It’s hard to determine whether businesses would come without the EDC, but it’s clear the nonprofit plays a crucial role in selling the Space Coast. It approaches companies that are considering relocation, researches what incentives are available and digs up that nitty-gritty information that might close a deal.

The EDC receives an annual $1.4 million from the county and has come under fire recently for its public funding and its reluctance to disclose how it spends taxpayers’ dollars.

One of its main critics County Commissioner John Tobia wants to defund the organization. Tobia and other critics believe the county should do the work of the EDC, and say companies will flock to the Space Coast simply because of our beaches and what we have to offer as a community.

What they fail to realize is Brevard County competes with the rest of Florida and the country. We’re talking bigger cities such as Tampa, Charlotte and Jacksonville and states such as Texas and Alabama.

Defunding the EDC would be mind-numbingly wrong, but Tobia and other critics are right in pushing for the EDC to be transparent in telling the public how it spends public money. Although the EDC has no obligation to say how it spends its private funding, it should strive for greater openess.

The EDC agreed last month to disclose how it spends on advertising, travel, lobbying, events and the salary of its top executives. The public deserves to know that information as long as it doesn’t include confidential business dealings.

Successes 

Defunding the EDC as Tobia would like has the potential of unwinding years of progress we’ve made.  Among its greatest success stories are:

• Lobbying Brazilian jet maker Embraer to base its first North American engineering and design center at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. EDC CEO Lynda Weatherman said she began talking to company officials at trade shows long before it settled on the Space Coast in 2012. Incentives also played a big role: $30 million mostly from the state and also from the county, the city of Melbourne and the airport.

• Helping convince Northrop Grumman to bring a new program dubbed “Project Magellan” to Brevard. Announced in 2015, when fully built out, it promises to more than double the size of Grumman’s local workforce by adding 1,500 high-paying jobs and a potential $500 million investment at Orlando Melbourne International Airport under its contract to build the nation’s newest stealth bomber.

• Partnering with Eastern Florida State College to train workers for manufacturing jobs. The EDC works to find grants, scholarships and sponsors so these students can attend classes at the college. A shortage of such workers in Brevard and across the country has prompted the EDC to launch an upcoming marketing campaign to encourage more people to get trained for these jobs.

• Outperforming bigger economic development agencies in the state. The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast ranks second in terms of jobs announced per 1,000 residents, behind Hillsborough County and ahead of Miami-Dade, Duval and Orange, according to Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency.

Despite its successes the EDC has had a black eye. BlueWare, one of the companies it helped lure to Brevard County, allegedly paid a bribe to secure a contract with then-Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelman’s office and the case is currently on trial. EDC officials have said they couldn’t have predicted BlueWare would engage in the scheme.

It’s important for the public and elected officials to be vigilant of how economic development agencies spend our money. But we must understand that in a competitive business environment we must have a partner such as the EDC to advocate for the Space Coast.

FLORIDA TODAY’s editorials are decided collectively by its Editorial Board. To respond to this editorial in a letter to the editor, email up to 250 words to letters@floridatoday.com. Include your name, place of residence and phone number.

Article by Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

$18.1 million headed to coastal Florida airport for runway upgrades

Greg Donovan, A.A.E. (Photo: Business Wire)

Greg Donovan, A.A.E. (Photo: Business Wire)

MELBOURNE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–When Air Force One landed at Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) in February, Airport Executive Director Greg Donovan took advantage of the opportunity and advised the president of the United States that his 747-200 just landed on a commercial runway officially rated ‘poor’ in aviation terms. That’s going to change, thanks to an $18,132,588 FAA grant announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao today.

“We asked for, and received, tremendous support from the Florida congressional delegation,” said Jack L. Ryals, chairman of the Melbourne Airport Authority. “We are deeply grateful to Congressman Posey, Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio for their advocacy on this critical infrastructure. They knocked it out of the park, landing MLB the largest FAA discretionary grant in the airport’s history.”

According to Ryals, the airport addressed the runway needs with U.S. Secretary Chao at an international aviation convention this summer. He explained that the FAA is providing 90% of the project’s funding. In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation is providing $959,666, and the airport is matching with $1,055,067. “The state of Florida came through once again for this important community asset,” he emphasized.

According to Greg Donovan, A.A.E., the total funding of $20,147,321 will provide for the design and construction of the mill and overlay of the airport’s primary runway 9R/27L and runway lights project for the airport which serves a significant number of tourists, aircraft assembly and DOD contractors. “It’s long overdue, but highly gratifying for Orlando Melbourne International Airport to receive this funding, and with it the recognition of our importance to serve the people, the tourists and the businesses of Central Florida.”

ABOUT ORLANDO MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (MLB)

Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) serves the Central Florida coast with three runways, a 200,000 sq. ft. terminal and a 40,000 sq. ft. customs facility. It is served by Delta Air Lines, Elite Airways, Porter Airlines and American Airlines with nearly 500,000 passengers annually. Convenient to Orlando and Port Canaveral, the airport is also home to the world headquarters of Harris Corp., Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins, L3, General Dynamics, Thales and Embraer Executive Jets, among others. For more information, visit www.MLBair.com.

Contacts

Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB)
Media Contact:
Lori Booker, 321-723-6227
Authority@MLBair.com

Article by Business Wire, Complete Article [ HERE ]

The U.S. Navy has ordered Harris Corporation’s ALQ-214(V)4/5 integrated defensive electronic counter-measures jammers for its and Australia’s F/A-18s.
A U.S. Navy F-18 aircraft, which Harris has been contracted to provide electronic jammers to protect them against electronic threats. The contract also will provide similar services for Australia's F-18 variants. Photo by U.S. Navy

A U.S. Navy F-18 aircraft, which Harris has been contracted to provide electronic jammers to protect them against electronic threats. The contract also will provide similar services for Australia’s F-18 variants. Photo by U.S. Navy

Oct. 16 (UPI) — Harris Corporation has been contract for electronic jammers to protect U.S. Navy and Australian F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft, the company announced on Monday.

The contract for Lot 14 ALQ-214(V)4/5 integrated defensive electronic counter-measures jammers is worth $133 million. Australia is receiving the jammers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

Harris said the equipment will be used on F/A-18C/D/E/F variants. Deliveries are expected to be completed by May of 2020.

“Naval aviators face a growing range of threats as their missions evolve and hostile actors gain access to increasingly advanced technology,” Ed Zoiss, president of Harris Electronic Systems, said in a press release.

“Harris has helped keep naval aviators ahead of emerging threats for nearly 20 years. We remain firmly committed to supporting their critical missions.”

Article by Richard Tomkins, at UPI, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Melbourne-based Harris Corporation reported its earnings Tuesday morning. (Paul Brinkmann / Orlando Sentinel)

Melbourne-based Harris Corporation reported its earnings Tuesday morning. (Paul Brinkmann / Orlando Sentinel)

By   –  Associate Managing Editor, Orlando Business Journal
 Updated 

Harris Corp. won a five-year, $765 million contract from the U.S. Department of Navy to support current and emerging tactical radio requirements.

The new contract — which replaces a completed $300 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity deal that expired in August — will enable the Navy to procure radios, as well as attachments to support handheld, manpack, vehicular and base station mission needs.

Melbourne-based Harris (NYSE: HRS) — Central Florida’s largest publicly traded firm, based on Orlando Business Journal research — also will provide next-generation products as needed the release said.

“This award stems from our successful long-standing track record of developing and delivering the most advanced family of tactical radios,” said Harris Communication Systems President Chris Young in a prepared statement. “The award enables Harris to continue to meet the Navy and Marine Corps’ current and emerging needs so that they can successfully accomplish their missions around the globe.”

The news comes just a few weeks after Harris announced it was awarded a $260 million contract for tactical communication systems as part of an Asia-Pacific country’s modernization program, OBJ previously reported.

Harris supports government and commercial customers in more than 100 countries and has about $6 billion in annual revenue. The company and several other defense contractors with a huge local presence are hiring hundreds of workers in the region, as OBJ previously reported.

The List

Central Florida Publicly-Traded Companies

Ranked by 2016 total assets
Rank Company 2016 Total Assets
1 Harris Corp. $12 billion
2 National Retail Properties $6.33 billion
3 Brown & Brown Inc. $5.29 billion

 

Article by Anjali Fluker, Orlando Business Journal, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Northrop Grumman's little-known recon airplane program will be crucial to the company's financial success.

Northrop Grumman’s little-known recon airplane program will be crucial to the company’s financial success.

Defense and aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. has landed another major military contract, adding to its growing list of work. In addition, the company is increasing its Central Florida workforce to keep up with demand.

Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) won a $13.4 million contract from the U.S. Army on Oct. 12, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The company will produce a military weapons remote control system called Spider Increment 1A. Work will be performed in Northrop Grumman’s offices in Melbourne, where the company has more than 3,500 workers, as well as in Madison, Ala. The contract has a Feb. 13, 2019, completion date.

This contract adds to several awards Northrop Grumman has landed lately with work being performed in Melbourne and Apopka. In early October, Northrop Grumman won an $8.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy to support a targeting system for an aircraft. And in September, the company was awarded two contracts totaling $28.7 million, both from the U.S. Navy to support cybersecurity and refueling kits for the E-2D aircraft.

This bevy of awards is leading Northrop Grumman to hire more than 450 workers in Melbourne. Currently, the company has 457 positions open, according to its website — 400 in Melbourne, 45 in Orlando, and 12 in Apopka. Some of the available positions include mechanical engineers, software engineers, human factors engineers, software quality engineers and more. And many of the positions are for various programs within Northrop Grumman — not just related to the contracts awarded.

Northrop Grumman verified that while the website shows 113 positions, many of those positions will hire more than one person, leading to more than 450 new hires.

Northrop Grumman is not the only company hiring technology, engineering and manufacturing workers. Companies like Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS), EA Tiburon, AMD Inc. (NYSE: AMD) and more are hiring nearly 600 workers in Orlando.

Article By   –  Staff writer, Orlando Business Journal, Complete Article [ HERE ]
(R-to-L) Harris Chairman, President and CEO William M. Brown, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Harris Space and Intelligence Systems segment President Bill Gattle at the Harris Technology Center in Palm Bay, Florida. (Photo: Business Wire)

(R-to-L) Harris Chairman, President and CEO William M. Brown, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Harris Space and Intelligence Systems segment President Bill Gattle at the Harris Technology Center in Palm Bay, Florida. (Photo: Business Wire)

MELBOURNE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) Thursday toured Harris Corporation’s Central Florida operations and met with Chairman, President and CEO William M. Brown and other company officials to discuss innovative technologies supporting critical national security initiatives. Headquartered in Melbourne, Harris is one of Florida’s largest technology companies, with 6,500 employees at 15 locations throughout the state. The company is a world leader in innovative technologies for tactical communications, electronic warfare, avionics, air traffic management, space and intelligence and weather systems.

About Harris Corporation

Harris Corporation is a leading technology innovator, solving customers’ toughest mission-critical challenges by providing solutions that connect, inform and protect. Harris supports government and commercial customers in more than 100 countries and has approximately $6 billion in annual revenue. The company is organized into three business segments: Communication Systems, Electronic Systems and Space and Intelligence Systems. Learn more at harris.com.

Contacts

Harris Corporation
Jim Burke, 321-727-9131
jim.burke@harris.com

Perfectly-seared jumbo scallops at the Fat Snook in Cocoa Beach were served atop polenta blackened by squid ink and rendered creamy by, what was it mascarpone. (Photo: Lyn Dowling/For FLORIDA TODAY)

Perfectly-seared jumbo scallops at the Fat Snook in Cocoa Beach were served atop polenta blackened by squid ink and rendered creamy by, what was it mascarpone.
(Photo: Lyn Dowling/For FLORIDA TODAY)

Let’s cut to the chase: The dining locations participating in Flavor! this year truly are first-class and near the top of the list is the Fat Snook. It is a superior restaurant.

Though the Snook may be moving north in Cocoa Beach in the months to come, it still has that laid back, tropical feel, with wine prices chalked on the wall and a cozy comfortable bar. Tables are not clothed but are nicely set, with footed glassware and napkins folded into everything from candles to roses, origami-style; a story about napkin art will come. Things move smoothly. Service is flawless.

As always, dinner begins with an amuse-bouche, in this case, a tiny dollop of horseradish cream topped with a sliver of salmon. More, please.

Then came gifts, not least a card for He Who Eats Duck, whose birthday it was, after which arrived dishes with perfectly-seared jumbo scallops atop polenta blackened by squid ink and rendered creamy by, what was it, mascarpone? Marvelous.

Appetizers were two diet-killing, gigantic scallion drop biscuits with a guava spread that somehow managed not to be sweet and the brightly conceived and delivered potted Atlantic salmon. It was a small jar of creamy magnificence, served with hot French bread. Contrasts were everywhere, in texture as well as flavor, and they worked. The biscuits were extremely subtly flavored, but still, exceptional.

He Who Eats Duck ordered the expected and the wolfed down the grilled duck breast with tasso-spiced crackling, parsnip puree and pear mostarda.

Afterward, he simply sat there and smiled, monumentally satisfied, but 8-year-old Cora Jackson, visiting from Knoxville, Tenn., was more verbal: “When I bit into the duck it wowed me. The texture!” For what it’s worth, her 7-year-old sister Millie “really liked the mussel aioli” that went with the potted salmon.

On this side of the table, the entrée was wet-jerk pork ribeye, which contained enough pork to have served two. One of the most complex dishes we’ve had in some time, it included plantain and habanero gratin, macadamia nut granola rum vinaigrette and a mango and Napa cabbage salad. A little tart, a little sweet and a lot savory — it has some heat — this is a remarkable, substantial creation and, like the duck dish, the freshness and quality of ingredients was apparent with every bite.

The palate cleanser was flawless: slightly herbed cucumber sorbet with tiny pear coins.

As for dessert, the black-bottom crème brûlée, the lower layer of which is Nutella, was a delight, but no one could have been more thrilled than Duck, who sent the relatives photos of his chocolate and peanut butter flourless torte on its happy-birthday-in-chocolate plate.

The chocolate and peanut butter flourless torte at the Fat Snook arrived at the table with a Happy Birthday message. (Photo: Lyn Dowling/For FLORIDA TODAY)

The chocolate and peanut butter flourless torte at the Fat Snook arrived at the table with a Happy Birthday message. (Photo: Lyn Dowling/For FLORIDA TODAY)

The birthday part was dandy. The fact that the dense torte overdid nothing, including the flavor of peanut butter, was dandier. Neither dessert was an over-the-top sugarfest. Bravo, Snook!

Flaws? Only one: It would have been good to have had coasters, bits of heavy paper or something to absorb the condensation from the water glasses, which caused mini-puddles and dripped-on shirts.

Tell you what, though: We can deal with that if the Fat Snook will feed us again. This restaurant helped kick into gear Brevard’s ongoing culinary revolution, and it continues to move it.

Do yourself a favor. Dine there.

The Fat Snook

Four and a half stars

Address: 2464 S. Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

Hours: 5:30 to 9 p.m. daily

Call: 321-784-1190

WiFi: Yes

Online: www.thefatsnook.com

Other: Large selection of craft brews and wines (no spirits); frequent menu changes; reservations strongly suggested; children’s entrees

About our reviews

Restaurants are rated on a five-star system by FLORIDA TODAY’s reviewer. The reviews are the opinion of the reviewer and take into account quality of the restaurant’s food, ambiance and service. Ratings reflect the quality of what a diner can reasonably expect to find. To receive a rating of less than three stars, a restaurant must be tried twice and prove unimpressive on each visit. Each reviewer visit is unannounced and paid for by FLORIDA TODAY.

Five stars: Excellent. A rare establishment to which you’d be proud to take the most discerning diner.

Four stars: Very good. Worth going out of your way for. Food, atmosphere and service are routinely top notch.

Three stars: Good. A reasonably good place with food and service that satisfy.

Two stars: Fair. While there’s nothing special about this establishment, it will do in a pinch.

One star: Not recommended. Don’t bother.

Flavor

FLORIDA TODAY Flavor! month continues through Oct. 31, with three courses available for $35 per person. For additional information and a listing of restaurants and menus, go to floridatoday.com/flavor.

Want to talk food? Tweet @lyn_ dowling or email 321foodreviews@gmail.com.

Article by Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]


On Thursday, Siemens gave Florida Tech a software grant valued at $246 million. Michael Grieves, executive director of CAMID and a University Research Professor, talks about the grant. Video by Caroline Glenn, FLORIDA TODAY