At Skyloft—the new restaurant featuring American favorites like barbecue, Cajun and seafood dishes atop the historic Heisler building—a smoker that was custom-made in Texas had to be lifted into place by crane because it was too heavy for the elevator. But the massive piece of equipment is essential for the authentic flavors served at this new dining hot spot opened in the former Rock’n Fish space in November by Ivan Spiers, who also owns Mozambique.
Ribs are slow smoked for six hours and brisket for twice that time with mouthwatering results, which rival the breathtaking ocean views from the dining room and rooftop patio, complete with a full bar, heaters and blankets so the party doesn’t have to stop when the evening chill sets in.
Inside, bands perform nightly with genres from Latin to jazz, rock, reggae and soul. The eatery’s ambience is worth a visit: Warm wood floors and ceiling combine with cool gray tones and a sleek central bar. Catch a game on one of the high-definition TVs while sipping a glass of beer, wine or a handcrafted cocktail like the popular Day Spa, a “skinny” drink that combines muddled cucumber, basil and blackberries, shaken with fresh lime juice and Hendrick’s gin.
Snacks and appetizers range from shrimp ceviche to Roadside Sliders, smoked chicken wings and stuffed avocado (half an avocado, tempura battered, filled with shrimp and crawfish tails, and topped with corn relish and Cajun aioli). The cheddar-jalapeno cornbread, sweet with a little kick, is perfect for munching by itself or with dinner.
The menu offers burgers, sandwiches, salads and soups including chicken gumbo and Fire House Turkey Chili, but go straight to the entrees for a tempting taste of the South: jambalaya, N’awlins BBQ Shrimp, smoked tri-tip and more. For a sampling of the house specialties, order the combo platter with half an herb-roasted chicken, full or half rack of ribs and brisket or tri-tip. All are tender, juicy and flavorful, but the pork ribs steal the show with succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat. After they’re slow smoked with hickory wood, they’re grilled and basted with your choice of sauce—from traditional sweet barbecue or mustard-based to “firecracker” style, which offers a sweet-and-tangy Asian twist. A spicy ancho chili sauce, typically reserved for the smoked chicken wings, can also be requested.
Now offering lunch and dinner every day, the restaurant aims to begin serving breakfast on weekends in April. Until then, Skyloft’s savory dishes will have you licking your lips—and fingers—for more.
TIP: To avoid drinking and driving, a shuttle service will provide a complimentary ride home for diners who live within 3 miles of
422 S. Coast Hwy.
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
—Written by Sharon Stello | Photos by Jody Tiongco