Surf’s up at LongBoards on Clematis

LongBoards, one of Clematis Street’s newest restaurants, could just be the long-awaited catalyst needed to reinvigorate the doldrums of the 500 block. This is the less-traveled western stretch of Clematis between Rosemary and Quadrille streets. LongBoards is the latest venture of seasoned local restaurateur and night club owner Rodney Mayo, whose other establishments include Dada’s, Howley’s, Monarchy, Respectable Street and The Lounge.

Mayo decided to create this unique, surfing-inspired restaurant at 518 Clematis St., which has been vacant for a long time. The open space is customized from the centerpiece surfboard-shaped bar and open kitchen to its weathered wood-planked walls. To exemplify its groovy vibe, authentic hand-painted longboards (longer and wider surfboards) adorn the walls while surfer movies play on flat-screen TVs throughout the restaurant.

Seating options include custom wooden booths and large wooden tables with swinging seats. The booths, designed to sit four people, are oddly small and slightly crowded for four. LongBoards also offers outside dining on Clematis or in the rear, sandy, fenced-in area with picnic benches and a vintage motorhome on display.

LongBoards, as you may expect, specializes in fresh seafood dishes. I have patronized LongBoards numerous times, and my experiences have varied. Earlier on, it was inconsistent, but the last few visits have been delightful.

Some standout dishes include the ceviche appetizer, which was packed with lots of fresh lobster and crab meat and perfectly seasoned. Other favorites are the lobster roll, seafood pasta, grilled salmon and the fresh Maine lobster.

The restaurant offers a choice of two sides with all entrees. I recommend the mac and cheese, fries, black-eyed peas and roasted Brussels sprouts – all of which are terrific. I found the collard greens greasy and the asparagus too large and undercooked, though.

LongBoards is a good bet when you want to hang 10 in a fun, casual environment offering good grub. Prices range from $5 to $16 for appetizers and raw bar, and entrees run from $6 to $25, including some salad choices.

It’s open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring two-for-one cocktails, beer and wine (no special happy hour prices on appetizers).

LongBoards is located at 518 Clematis St. in West Palm Beach (561-833-4660).

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