When I asked some New Yorkers for a short list of good
restaurants near my hotel, Rue 57 was at the top. A “Brasserie Parisienne et
Sushi Bar,” Rue 57 is a clamorous place with interesting fare that continues to
beckon my return.
Located a few blocks from Central Park at the busy corner of
57th and Avenue of the Americas, Rue 57 serves up some beautiful
dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner. My first meal there, lunch, was a turkey
burger with fries served with a side of artichokes and tomatoes that placed my pedestrian
choice over the top. A sautéed red
snapper special on the second visit wasn’t as intriguing, nor the kale salad
with apples and citrus dressing, which didn’t prove as tasty as the menu
suggested. The salad was redeemed when more apples and dressing were delivered
upon request. The not-so-fresh snapper was prepared beautifully but the dish
was an unpleasant juxtaposition of mediocre ingredients and a valiant attempt
at a cover up. A pleasant dessert of Profiteroles (cream puffs) in chocolate
sauce made me soon forget the main course. We returned a few weeks later for fluffy French toast with fruit, and an omelet with three cheeses ... a perfect brunch.
I’ve yet to sample their sushi with so many dishes to choose from … next time. Service is quite good, reservations
recommended, especially during peak hours when visitors vie with locals for a table at this popular corner of 57th Street and Aveune of the Americas. Full bar and sidewalk table seating available.
Tags: New York City brunch,
restaurants near Central Park, restaurants near the Marriott Residence Inn
Central Park, NYC sushi restaurants
Authentic American dining with an innovative twist or two is
in store for diners at the fast-paced Coolinary Café. Look for a spartan room
tucked away in the Donald Ross Villages Plaza with people waiting to get a
seat. It’s worth the wait.
For those who’ve dined at Charlie’s Reef Grill (Juno) and
Little Moir’s Food Shack (Jupiter), Coolinary will seem familiar: an austere
elongated dining space with tables, some counter seating and an open kitchen with a
few very organized pros preparing food at the grill. Owners of the three places once worked together.
The menu at Coolinary Café changes often to accommodate
season, availability and local sources. I supped on very fresh, delicately sautéed
Pompano with lemon butter and sautéed brussel sprouts – a plate that could have
met the standards of a sophisticated, more formal dining establishment. The
same can’t be said about the Bouillabaisse, their version of a fish stew.
This stew was an American take on the Marseilles, France
dish, which includes fish not available here but Coolinary’s version was
lacking in imagination. The soup was mildly spicy—and flavorsome— but the
seafood used was mainly shrimp with a few pieces of swordfish.
A very American dish was the boneless Southern fried chicken
atop a jalapeno cheddar waffle with grilled lemon and coleslaw. The café put chicken
and waffle together as if it had been that way from the beginning. New Orleans
served as inspiration for one of their starters, crab and corn beignets. Innovative
in flavor and texture, this gem is enough for a meal for one or an appetizer
for three. It’s one of their most popular plates.
Coolinary does wonderful things with waffles. I ordered a “carrot
cake-inspired” waffle with whipped cream and another maple-based topping. The
waffle was tender and moist. There was no mistaking this was an American original,
a great way to top off a meal at this fun and creative eatery.
Wine and beer served. Casual atmosphere but not ideal for
small children at night; it’s a small room.
Carmine’s Crab Shack was open only two days when we ventured
in to try some seafood. Normally I’d wait until a restaurant has its groove on
before writing about it but this place is well on its way. Carmine Giardini has already chaulked up a number of dining successes in South Florida and in Palm Beach Gardens.
His newest eatery was filling up a few minutes before noon but we were
immediately seated in the rustic sea-themed dining room at a large booth. Its table was covered with brown paper for those who indulge in crabs but for us it was too early to enjoy their headliner. Instead, we ordered a lobster roll, a Maryland crab cake sandwich
and Clams Oreganata.
Delivered on a roll with a bulky piece of lettuce to give appearance
of meat aplenty, the very fresh lobster sandwich would have been near perfect with a
tablespoon more of the sea meat and a pinch of spice. Lots of fries and tiny
sides of tasteless coleslaw or equally dull potato salad came with the meals.
is deliberating whether fries will be included for the sake of presentation
going forward. I vote YES.) The Maryland crab cake was made with more crab meat
than bread, the way they should be. Clams Oreganata—clams in the shell baked
with breadcrumbs and olive oil with a sprinkle of cheese—were delicious.
Carmine’s menu is ambitious with seafood galore: crabs,
shrimp, lobster, fish, seafood tacos, PEI mussels, Ipswich clams, conch
fritters, conch salad and more. A few
pasta entrees, some meat dishes and a kids menu will quash any reason for not visiting Carmine’s
Crab Shack. It’s casual, reasonably
priced and features a large, friendly bar (filled by 1 p.m.) for dining or socializing. Our server
did a great job and the manager came by to ask if we had any suggestions as we
left. This will be a busy dining spot; they are off to a great start.
Here are a few ideas for Easter 2014 dining. Some listed serve brunch. More may be added.
Beauty and the Feast - 954-567-8070
Atlantic Hotel & Spa
601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Breakfast/brunch 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Blue Moon Fish Co. 954-267-9888 4405 W. Tradewinds Ave. Lauderdale by the Sea, 33308 Brunch 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Adults $58.95 (plus tax and tip); children 6-12 $24 (plus tax and tip) ; children under six, free
http://bluemoonfishco.com/ B-Ocean Hotel - 954-564-1000 999 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 10 a.m. -2 pm. free. Adults-$69- (plus tax and tip); children $31- (plus tax and tip); under five free
Grille 401 - 954-767-0222
401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Open 2-9 - Easter and regular menu
Lips Fort Lauderdale - The Ultimate in Drag Dining - 954-567-0987 Three-course lunch - $23.50 1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd. www.floridalips.com/ Lobster Bar & Sea Grill - 954-772-2675 450 E. Las Olas Blvd. Open noon to 9 p.m. - Dinner menu
A stark modern setting with bare floors and high ceilings
and an equally austere patio facing Federal Highway belies Kitchenetta’s
concept of traditional Italian family-style presentation. Its ascetic décor seems
to beckon the trendy set rather than families with children on an outing.
But family style entrées created in a busy open air kitchen
dominate a board of daily specials brought to each diner. They really push
these daily offerings, which include quality seafood. Mussels and clams served in
a flavorful, full-bodied red sauce was enough for three as an appetizer. They
were delicious as was the main course of fresh cod loaded with cherry tomatoes
and cured olives—again for about three mouths. A side order of Italian broccoli in
oil and hot pepper flakes could be shared by at least four. They make bread to “order,”
which is really (they say) pizza dough with nothing atop. It’s great to sop up
sauce with but not impressive on its own. Ask for two forks when ordering their ricotta cheesecake, which is not too sweet—the
Italian way—and with lots of texture.
No half or side orders of pasta here, but they do serve both
single and family-sized portions from the regular menu. On Sundays, Kitchenetta
cooks up the time-honored weekend meal of macaroni and gravy (pasta served with
slow-cooked red sauce and various meats). It’s the dish that would keep Nona,
grandmother, in the kitchen at home for hours.
If one can get the hang of how and what to order, a delicious
meal awaits, but family-style here seems more a profitable revenue model than
homage to Italian culture. I’ll return
for the pizza. They do try hard to please and service is excellent. Just don’t
expect an old-style neighborhood Italian eatery with candles, cozy corners—or pasta side dishes. Reservations
recommended. Beer and wine. Free valet parking.
Tags: Italian restaurants Fort Lauderdale, east Fort Lauderdale restaurants, Fort Lauderdale pizza
A gluten-free diet may be the latest food fad to some; for
others it’s required eating to stay out of a doctor’s office or hospital. For
both groups it’s often equated with deprivation of tasty foods. Not so at Fresh
First, a small café off the 17th Street Causeway, which touts itself
as “South Florida’s first 100 percent gluten-free organic eatery and juicery.”
It’s healthy at this casual restaurant, but most important,
the food is good. Lots of salad choices grace the menu but there is a terrific selection
of sandwiches—turkey or veggie burgers, grilled chicken, tuna melts, vegetable Paninis,
grilled cheese—and quinoa dishes, raw foods, and house-made soups. Their version
of gluten-free bread is a perfect envelope for any sandwich. I sampled a mushroom
turkey burger with a side of organic slaw for about $14 and ended the meal with
a marvelous cranberry cookie of the day (about $4). It’s somewhat pricey, but Fresh First has gluten-free
and organic down to an art form; there are no flavor deficits here. They offer a children's menu, a few desserts, including cupcakes, and breakfast. They also sell organic wines.
The big test was to indulge in one of their Belgian waffles
with bananas and walnuts for breakfast. The waffle, fluffy and ample, will
appeal to all who like to start the day off with a little healthy decadence. (Yes,
at Fresh First these two words do go
together.) Their breakfast menu includes egg sandwiches, Eggs Benedict,
omelets, turkey bacon, chicken apple sausage, oatmeal and yogurt.
My only complaint is that Fresh First is not open for dinner
or at all on Sundays. Logistics: The valet
from Bimini Boatyard (close to the Renaissance Hotel) parks cars for Fresh
First. Parking is also available in the adjacent garage; with a receipt from
Fresh First, the charge will be waived. This cafe is tucked away, out of sight from 17th Street, but look for Bimini Boatyard.
restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, organic restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, restaurants
on 17th Street Causeway, raw foods in Fort Lauderdale
It’s fast Italian food they say. The words fast and Italian
are seldom found in the same sentence unless pizza is involved so I entered recent
newcomer to Fort Lauderdale’s fast food scene, italio, a skeptic.
I leftthe place sold on its concept.
OK, so one won’t find Nana’s Sunday gravy here or classics
such as lasagna, ravioli or gnocchi, but if you’re in the mood for something
tasty, Italian, inexpensive and totally casual, it’s here. They also serve wine
There's spaghetti—whole wheat or white flour—with a choice
of seven hot (alfredo, pomodoro, spicy prima rosa) or cold sauces (fresh basil,
sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, arrabbiata). Spicy prima rosa was flavorful and light on the oil. italio also offers toppings that morph the pasta bowls into complete entrées with a choice of vegetables, meatballs, sausage, steak, shrimp or chicken.
They’ll put together a salad with a variety of veggies and
toss it on the spot with a dressing. Very fresh. Italio
One of the dining areas;
another sits out of sight of counter
also makes an Italian wrap (piadina) with
the same mix and match of toppings they serve with the pasta. Dessert is
limited to cannoli chips but it’s enough.
Fill out the meal with a breadstick, soup or calamari and it’s
starting to taste like an Italian Sunday meal at someone’s house, if not
The same menu is available lunch and dinner; italio is doing a brisk business during both meal times. A children's menu offers the same choices but at reduced prices. With a dining room set apart from the serving counter, italio may not feel like a fast food joint.
Currently, there are three italio restaurants in Florida—Winter
Park, Fort Lauderdale, Boca—and one in Orland Park, IL; others are planned for Coconut Creek, Orlando, and Tampa. The Fort Lauderdale
store sits across Federal Highway from Whole Foods Market with easy parking in the rear and an outdoor patio in front.
Thumbs up for italio. Buon appetito!
Tags: Fast Italian food in Fort Lauderdale, fast Italian food in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale restaurants, party catering
Lighthouse Cove Adventure
Golf officially opens this week in Jupiter. It’s a three-in-one enterprise
that combines miniature golf in a fishing village-themed setting, a casual
eatery with flat screen TVs to watch sports events and an ice cream store that also serves wine and beer.
This welcome addition to Jupiter, one block from the beach,
close to Dubois Park, promises to be a popular place; the golf course was busy
a week before the official opening Jan. 8—and before the adjacent BurgerShack
The 36-hole course features sea life-sized figures of sharks and other fish, boats, caves, waterfalls and more. It’s the perfect setting for
group events, children’s parties, a date or family outing. For rates, see: www.LighthouseCoveJupiter.com.
Tags: Things to do in Jupiter, miniature golf, burgers, casual dining in Jupiter