Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kitchenetta - modern Italian family style. Sort of.

2850 N. Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306
Tues-Thurs: 5:30-10 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 5:30-11 p.m.
Sun: 5:30-9 p.m.

By Jane Feehan

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

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