Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Coco Asian Bistro & Bar: Glutton's delight or nibbler's heaven in Fort Lauderdale

Coco Asian Bistro & Bar
Harbor Shops
1841 Cordova Rd., Fort Lauderdale, 33316

Lunch daily: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner: Mon-Thurs, 3-10:30 p.m.
Fri, Sat: 3 to 11 p.m.
Sun: 3 to 10 p.m.
Take out and delivery available

By Jane Feehan

Chef/owner Mike Ponluang knows what it takes to earn status as one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. He opened his first place in London in 1979 then moved to Broward County in 1980. He’s worked at the Mai-Kai, owned Thai Express in Fort Lauderdale, and Thai Pepper in Coral Springs.  The unstoppable Ponluang launched Coco Asian Bistro and Bar in 2006. Since then he has solidified its well-deserved reputation by serving creative Thai cuisine in a sophisticated setting.

It can be pricey, but well worth it. Joining traditional dishes on the menu of spicy rice noodles with peanut, basil, coconut milk or curry sauces are prime skirt steak ($25), ribeye Delmonico ($35), rack of lamb ($39) crispy duck ($26), sea bass and other fresh fish ($19 - $35). 

For dinner recently, we gobbled up some Thai Egg rolls (skip these, egg rolls are too pedestrian for this place anyway), delicious Asian dumplings filled with shrimp, mushrooms and bamboo shoots, followed by another small plate of Coco spring rolls filled with chicken and shitake mushrooms. Then we plunged into the main courses, Emerald scallops – seared scallops with asparagus and portabella mushroom in green curry sauce – and another of delicate-tasting pad Thai with shrimp. Both outstanding.

Coco also tops the list of lunch places area business types head to, many from the boating industry eager to please a prospective yacht owner. Lunch features Bento boxes of sushi combinations with soup for about $13 and an interesting collection of traditional dishes with rice and soup for about the same price. Coco
Asian Bistro also serves vegetarian or gluten-free dishes.

An inviting sushi bar sits across the dining room from the bar.   The kitchen is creative, ingredients are fresh and presentation is top notch. Meals can also be comprised of an array of tantalizing small plates ranging from $7 to $18, perfect fare for the bar while listening to live music.

A piano player and a singer add to the bistro's rep as an evening entertainment venue. A beautiful, outdoor covered patio was added after Coco Asian Bistro was open for a few years. It’s perfect for those who prefer dining al fresco with ambiance. Both venues are worth a try. Live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. to close. Full bar. We'll be back. Coco Asian Bistro & Bar is both a glutton's delight and nibbler's heaven.

Tags: Tags: Asian restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, Fort  Lauderdale restaurants, restaurant with live music in Fort Lauderdale

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