The Sands Eatery, Marriott Ocean Club, BEST kept secret, for seafood on the edge of the beach!

What used to be the Marriott Ocean Club, Pool Bar & Grill, is still that during the day, but in the evening hours it recently got a serious upgrade, offerings an excellent dinner menu as the Sands Eatery.

Adolfo Bonarriva who manages the restaurants for both the Marriott Ocean Club and the Marriott Surf Club reports that when Simply Fish transformed into Atardi, his F&B team claimed the lovely, now abandoned menu and adopted it with just a few modifications at the Sands Eatery.

“We buy the best seafood,” he says, “we cook it lightly, and serve it to our guests with a variety of sauces, so that dinner becomes a customized affair Grilled, Seared or Blackened.”

The terrace restaurant enjoys spectacular sunset views and great proximity to the beach. Dinner patrons are entertained by Lazarus, a Cuban sax player, who can raise the dead with his soulful tunes. Best of all, Chef Miguel Garcia drops in to check on guests. As Executive Sous Chef for the entire Marriott Complex, he is always on the go, stirring the pots in at least one dozen kitchens!

Both Miriam Gomez Barret, the Operations Manager and General Manager Erwin Noguera, were on hand that night to offer commentary and entertainment.

I met Miriam when she was interviewing for her first hospitality job at age 18, at Divi resorts. We share a bundle of unforgettable experiences from that time. Erwin Noguera, has also been my friend for a number of years, and what we perhaps lack in duration, we make up in depth: Erwin is a candid, nonstop commentary machine, and one of the world’s most motivating individuals. So in answer to your question, yes, we had fun!

We shared everything, the table was heaving with small and big plates, but we were determined, to study that menu, crack its code. While Miriam was on a bit of a diet, I did not disappoint. I also demolished her share.

The appetizers arrived in fast succession, Crab Claws Al Ajillo, with parsley, thyme, basil, cilantro and garlic butter; Ancho Fried Shrimp with plump tomatoes and red onions; Sauteed Clams in a light Saffron Balshi beer broth with garlic butter and Roma tomatoes; Fried, Tempura Dusted Calamari with sage and spicy marinade. Attention Chef Garcia: I need that Ancho Fried Shrimp recipe.

The main courses followed as Adolfo predicted, beautifully plated just-caught Mahi Mahi, Grouper, and the best looking Tuna I have ever had, Scallops in a Lemon Caper sauce, and Caribbean Lobster Tail with beurre noisette. I might have overlooked the Chicken Schnitzel!

Of all the sauces, the Coconut Curry Sauce was my favorite, but all others including the Mango Chutney, the Roasted Peppers, and the Creole Sauce, were pretty fantastic.

Needless to say, we also ordered some sides the Creamed Spinach, the Funchi, and the Fried Patacones.

You guessed: We took it easy for dessert, a Coconut, Pineapple Island Cake and an off-the-chart warm Apple Rum & Raisin Tart.

After that I wanted to dance naked under the moon and the starry skies, but opting for propriety, we kissed goodbye and vowed to return.

Nice spot.

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January 16, 2017
Rona Coster