Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 072915 Contents 42 // 7.29.2015 // SFGN.com //
Viva Las Olas
It’s no secret that there’s lots of plastic surgery in South Florida,
but no “facelift” has been more successful than that of Fort
Lauderdale’s Las Olas Blvd. When it was constructed in 1917, Las
Olas was just a dirt road crossing swampy wetlands. Post World War II
it was developed as a commercial district and became famous in the
movie “Where the Boys Are” In the 1980s, Las Olas went through a major
renovation program and in the last 15 years has developed a nationwide
reputation for high-end boutiques and trendy restaurants.
1032 E. Las Olas Blvd.
The latest addition to the dining options is Louie Bossi’s, a retro-Italian
spot that has taken over the space formerly occupied by Solita.
Patrons of the old space won’t recognize it, and the transformation is for
the better. As re-imagined by the Big Time Restaurant Group, the 10,000
sq. ft. restaurant features five indoor and outdoor dining areas including
a huge piazza, a salumi bar and a patio facing Las Olas. It is inspired by
Italian-American neighborhood restaurants in New York and Chicago,
albeit on steroids. All this would be a waste of time if the food weren’t
good, and it’s not good, it’s great.
We kicked off our meal with a plate of olives and the bruschetta
sampler, which seemed high-priced at $28. What we didn’t realize is that
we’d be served pairs of the four different bruschetta; a lively caponata,
prosciutto with peppers, mushroom conserve and finocchia fennel topped
with fontina. There was more than enough for four to share, making it
quite reasonably priced. I enjoyed a signature cocktail, the Cetriolo, a
combination of sparkling wine, Canton ginger liquere and sweet and sour
The “Arthur Ave.” antipasti salad features giardiniera, fava beans,
provolone and salumi. Again, easily enough to serve four; abbodanza
seems to be the theme of the menu. That is certainly the case with the
bone-in 24 oz. rib-eye. Aged in house, the, huge chop sat all alone on the
plate. It had great flavor, but for $42, they could have thrown on a vegetable
or potato. A side of polenta, drowning in tomato sauce is not worth the
$5 extra charge. Linguini Nero presented squid ink pasta with four huge,
plump shrimp, perfectly prepared with chiles and rapini. Again, an oddly
small portion of pasta for a $26 price tag.
If you’re a chocolate lover, order the budino, a rich thick pudding, topped
with salted caramel, chopped hazelnuts and whipped cream. It is, quite
possibly, the best dessert I’ve ever had in my life. A scoop of blackberry
sorbetto was attractively presented with strawberry “ears,” marshmallow
nose and chocolate nib eyes. The plate of cookies was less successful.
Louie Bossi’s is a bit crowded and frenetic; ask for a booth or a table on
the piazza if you’d like a little elbow room and relief from the hustle and
bustle. Service can be harried, but our server, Martin is a gem. Not only
was he attentive, friendly and relaxed, but quite handsome. Opened less
than two months, the place is consistently packed, even on off-season
week-nights, so if you plan on checking it out, do so before it becomes
impossible. Make no mistake, it’s a pricey place, but you get top quality
fare. It’s about 20-30 percent cheaper at brunch and lunch and the bar’s
happy hour features $2 off all drinks and half-priced pizzas from 4-7 p.m.
Café De Paris
715 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Chef Louis Flematti and his wife Janine
have been through Las Olas’ ups and
downs for more than 40 years and have
thrived because they do just one thing; prepare
the best French bistro fare in town. Over the
years, the restaurant has expanded, with three
indoor dining areas as well as outdoor patio
seating. The three course early bird (available
from 5-6 p.m. and priced between $21-$28)
or gourmet dinner (available all night, priced
between $27-$39) dinners are cheaper than a
trip to Paris.
2 Fork & Balls
1301 E. Las Olas Blvd.
The meatball focused menu puts a fresh spin on the
traditional comfort food, featuring all types of balls
and combinations, including a number of vegetarian
options. Examples include; traditional meatballs served
with rapini, quinoa kale balls in coconut curry sauce,
Southwestern pork meatballs with black beans, ground
chicken meatballs with grilled romaine and pesto turkey
meatballs on whole wheat spaghetti.
904 E. Las Olas Blvd.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that this is
authentic Mexican fare, it is a good example of
Mexican-American cuisine. The party-like atmosphere,
no doubt enhanced by the 425 varieties of tequila,
extends to tableside preparation of guacamole and
margaritas prepared with house-made sour mix. The
tortillas are hand-made cooked fresh on a comal, just as
they are in Mexican kitchens.
4 Rocco’s Tacos
1313 East Las Olas Blvd.
Still going strong after 20 years, Mangos would be
successful even if it only served its two signature dishes;
snow crab bisque and chicken puff pie. Its menu offers a lot
more though, including a damn good lobster roll and “Las Olas
Shrimp,” served scampi style with artichoke hearts, kalamata
olives and garlic butter over imported linguini. Happy hour
specials include well drinks for $5, house wine for $6, domestic
and draft beer for $3, $5 burgers and half off all appetizers with
any drink purchase.
Four Other Las Olas Spots Wor th Checking Out
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