Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hot & Soul, dining jewel in Fort Lauderdale

Hot & Soul
3045 N. Federal Hwy, Suite 60B
Fort Lauderdale, 33306
Dinner Tues-Sat 4-11, Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Lunch Thursday-Saturday

By Jane Feehan

Hot & Soul, open less than a year, may be a sleeper of a restaurant—but not for long. Out of its kitchen emerges creative fare that could challenge the best of area chefs.

“We serve what we like to make and eat,” said Christy Samoy who operates the eatery along with her husband and chef, Mike Hampton. It’s a simple formula that results in an array of dishes influenced by international flavors and a New Orleans connection to Emeril Lagasse’s creations at Delmonico’s, where Hampton once cooked.

Perhaps the tastiest stuffed flounder I’ve dined on, their “lost and flounder,” two generous fillets wrapped around a fistful of delicious gently spiced crawfish was a stunner. Meyer lemon artichoke butter and asparagus subtly accented this jewel of a seafood dish.

Creativity reigns in a low-key setting that belies the kitchen’s excellence. Other menu features such as “shankappotamus,” pork shank with red cabbage, black-eyed peas and rice and “suck em gingerly,” oysters with pickled ginger, rice vinegar and flake salt, reflect the owners’ sense of fun as well as their knowledge of flavor pairing.

I returned for lunch to sample more and was equally impressed with “knock knock jokes,” a creamy san marzano tomato soup with a manchego grilled cheese sandwich. A plate of “sweetie petitie” or sweet potato pound cake drizzled in maple syrup, was as good as it sounds. Most dinner and lunch main courses come in small or large dishes, a boon to those with small appetites. Vegetarians will also be pleased with dishes such as curried chick peas with Jasmine rice and papadum, coconut polenta with “shroom” gravy, topped with
olive oil poached silken tofu, and vegan rice pudding.

Hot & Soul, tucked into the shopping center anchored by Fernanda’s, also serves Sunday brunch. A recent menu included pillowy beignets with eggnog crème anglaise, shrimp remoulade on bibb lettuce, duck and andouille gumbo, crawfish étouffée with scallion and rice, and culotte steak with gnocchi. It can’t get any better than this for both those with adventurous palates and others who lean toward the traditional.

A good selection of wines and beers is available.

Tags: Fort Lauderdale restaurants

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