Archive for the ‘RESTAURANT REVIEWS’ Category

The Outback Restaurant Review   1 comment

I have been eating at this steakhouse for a number of years and have never had a problem. I love cheeseburgers but have never thought of ordering one here. We were going to the Quarterdeck for just that but because of rain the outside dining area was closed and there was a waiting line and I’m not one to wait on line to eat!
I know Allen likes the Filet Mignon at the Outback I suggested we go there.
No problem being seated right away and I reminded Allen to tell the server to not put any spices on his Filet.
I was going to order a cheeseburger but I made a mistake–I looked at an auxiliary menu and saw the Kingsland Pasta, a Steak and Shrimp special ($19.99) on pasta with Alfredo sauce and I forgot the cheeseburger—again! (Sorry but I ate most of the shrimp on the plate before I took the picture! LOL)
Allen was satisfied with his Filet (8 oz. $26.49)—whether they just didn’t add any more spices or just scrapped off what was on there didn’t matter.
The only complaint I had was with the server who was at the end of his shift and left before we were finished and the lady who took over for him made up for his ‘let me get out of here’ attitude.
Oh yes, they changed their rewards system but to me, that was always, and still is, just a bonus.
The check was about $30 each for lunch which is quite high but we know prices are always a bit higher than other chain steakhouses.
PS How can I not investigate this!!!

Tipico Cafe Restaurant Review April 2022   Leave a comment

Last I was here was in August 2021 and I really don’t know why except we discovered Jalisco and up until then Tequila Sunrise was my favorite Mexican restaurant which replaced Carlos and Pepe’s after they redid it. Regarding the taste and quality of food both Jalisco and Tequila Sunrise are equal with the latter having an edge always running a special of buy one, get one free for lunch and dinner (see and the former being right across the street from Winn Dixie where we go shopping every Thursday.

Basically we have been ignoring the Tipico Cafe though the few times I was there the food (and prices) were good so I suggested we go there for a change. The 4 window booths were taken—ah, if all restaurants had all tables by booths but they don’t so we sat further in the restaurant which wasn’t a problem. The prices were a bit higher like the special lunch Allen ordered—the Ropa Vieja had only gone up 50 cents which was more than reasonable. I ordered the Masas de Puerco which, sadly, was almost inedible though instead of returning it I ate it. (My bad!)

The server, only one, did a good job handling the 6 parties plus a to go order, the restaurant was clean but looks like we will go back to alternating between Jalisco and Tequila Sunrise, possibly giving Tipico another go in a year.

Di Valles Cucina Italiana & Wine Bar Fort Lauderdale   1 comment

After discovering the 22 year old gem Ferdo’s I figured that would be it for the year but within a month we found another gem called Di Valle’s. On the small side it looked romantic even in the afternoon light!

I have been looking for a good, old fashioned Shrimp Scampi for awhile now and after 4 different restaurants I had given up. One place breaded the shrimp, another put it in a heavy sauce and I still haven’t figured out how the other place made it.

As Keyrl, the server, put the bread and bruschetta down in front of us—which by the way was perfect with the outside of the the bread crunchy and the inside soft–I told her I was sort of hoping I would find Scampi on the menu and without hesitation said the chef could make it. He did and it was excellent with a very good garlic and oil sauce and 6 large shrimp on a bed of linguini that melted in my mouth as I took bite after bite!

Allen ordered the Stuffed Spinach Ravioli which they didn’t have and the chef offered the Stuffed Lobster Ravioli instead, at the same price. Allen’s complaint wasn’t about the ravioli but that there weren’t enough of them so he made it up by eating more of the bread!

We had a groupon so the check came out to about $20 each with tax and tip, which is average for lunch in COVID days!

The service and food was excellent, the surroundings pleasant and now that Nabu has closed the huge parking lot is more than adequate.

Posted October 15, 2021 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Crafty Crab Restaurant Review   1 comment

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Chris, our server, was excellent as was the food and upon our entering the host greeted and sat us immediately. All in all, except for 2 negatives which I will get to later, a good experience.Allen had the 6 scallops in garlic butter , which looked and tasted fine  and he also had the chicken strips with fries, again giving a positive response while I had the fried shrimp with onion rings and wasn’t a bit disappointed with the size of the shrimp, the breading and taste. Allen had a soda while I stuck to water. The check with tax and tip came to $50 which is a bit high for lunch but more and more about par for the course in full service restaurants

.Now to the negatives which may or may not have been noticed by other customers but having been a server for 38 years I pick up on these things.There was a table across from us that was dirty when we walked in and was still dirty when we left.  The floor was strewn with garbage and the table a mess and the baby chair gave me a hint a kid had been there!!

As far as I could tell the servers were responsible for cleaning and resetting their own tables as I had observed Chris doing just that  with his tables and he verified it when I asked. The other server was still being seated though they didn’t clean their tables never once taking a dish or glass or anything each time they walked back to the kitchen going empty handed in spite of carrying a bar serving tray. I didn’t see anyone who might have been a manager so that might be the problem.

Another problem is just a guess on my part. There had been another restaurant there which had been very good–great Prime Rib specials–but the entrance-way to the rear where the parking is can be very quickly passed by unless you know where you are going and don’t go on a rainy day as there is no way to let someone off at the front door and you will get wet walking/running/going to restaurant entrance!

Don’t know how to solve that problem but the original architect wasn’t really thinking right with the design.

Posted October 1, 2021 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, RESTAURANTS

Arby’s Restaurant–review   Leave a comment

Arbys Oct 25 2019
Being creatures of habit after going to a Friday movie matinee we alternate going to lunch between this Arby’s, IHOP and Subway and this week it was Arby’s!
We had the ‘2 can eat for $8.99’ coupon and the ‘2/$4 Roast Beef classics’ coupon for a total of $13.90.

(For those who may not know don’t through out your ‘junk mail’ without going through it because at least once a month you will find a page of Arby’s coupons for a variety of items).

The ‘2 can eat’ included 2 small drinks, 2 small curly fries, 2 Roast Beef classics and 6 Mozzarella sticks so with the extra 2 Roast Beefs we had our fill for lunch.

The fries and sticks were hot and crisp while the sandwiches were served dry you have several sauce options at the condiment bar.

The service was fast and pleasant, the food hot and tasty and coming to $7 each for lunch certainly reasonable prices! (Of course there goes all the diet rules but I’ll discuss that with my scale on Monday!)

Siam Cuisine Restaurant review   Leave a comment

Siam Cuisine Oct 24 2019

First to Dollar Tree then to lunch before going to Winn-Dixie–our Thursday route which we occasionally change with lunch before of after! I had a groupon for the Siam Cuisine where I hadn’t been in awhile so off we went.
My first reaction was they have kept the place up and in good shape only to be told later that it was being torn down and made into a double-decker restaurant!
In any case Allen had the scallops with vegetables ($20.95) and I had the Pad Thai with seafood ($24.95). These were dinner prices as the groupon wasn’t good for lunch prices though it didn’t say that on the agreement. I didn’t argue with the server because I just didn’t feel like being upset before and while eating! :O)
The food was tasty but the plates were wobbling on the table! Obviously not the best dinnerware.
We were served a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup which I guess came with the meal–lunch and/or dinner?
With Allen’s cola the check came to $11.30 plus I left $8.70 tip so with what I paid for the groupon ($22) lunch cost us about $20 each. We would have done better with just ordering off the lunch menu.
As I said it has been awhile since I was at Siam Cuisine and it will probably be awhile before I go back again even considering the renovations they will be doing.

Posted October 24, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Noodles Panini–restaurant review   Leave a comment

I haven’t been here since 1996 or 2004–don’t really remember though I tried to look up the history of the restaurant so I may be way off.
The main reason I would rate it okay is because of the server Yadira! She was alone on the floor and was waiting on 6 parties, including one outside, without any help and kept everything going smoothly, checking back with each table, refilling drinks without having to be asked, smiling the whole time without having a single customer calling, waving or trying to get her attention. As a retired server I admired the way she worked the customers and their orders.

]Now to the food! Is a meatball or chicken parmigiana sandwich/panini (no matter what you call it) worth $19 each? While tasty neither was special enough to make a trip for. You don’t get any sides or drinks with it though they do have a $15 lunch special including a panini, salad and, I don’t remember, either a dessert of soft drink included.We had a groupon for $50 worth of food for which we paid $28 and, of course, the lunch special wasn’t allowed with the groupon. For dessert we split a large slice of a non-descript Carrot cake with a small scoop of ice cream.

Altogether with the cost of the goupon plus the the check coming to $56.71 plus tip lunch cost us about $20 each, which more or less is becoming the ‘average’ for lunch.The main, and probably only, reason I would go back is just to watch Yadira in ‘action’!

Though they have changed the interior since the last time I was there Noodles Panini is still a small place and really has no need for 3 televisions!

Posted September 1, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

The Cheesecake Factory–restaurant review   2 comments

On February 29, 2000, celebrating my ‘Sweet 16th’ Leap Year birthday I started the celebration with a group of friends for cheesecake and coffee in the early afternoon out at the Sawgrass Mall and as soon as it opened on Los Olas Boulevard I became a ‘regular. The Cheesecake Factory is my favorite corporation chain restaurant.The service is always excellent, the menu changes enough to keep it interesting and the Godiva cheesecake is ‘to die for’.

We went there this past Thursday and, as always, the food was good and a bit different. I had the Pasta Napoletana ($15.50) which was a mix of meats on pasta with 2 different sauces which was very tasty but next time I would tell them to go easy on the cream sauce. Allen had the Lemon Garlic Shrimp ($17.95) very tastefully presented. He had a ‘little’ house salad (($5.95) on the side. For dessert I had the Godiva Cheesecake ($8.50) with coffee ($3.50) and he had the Pineapple Upside Down cake ($8.50) with a soda ($3.50).

With tax and tip the check came to $83 which is a bit much for lunch being members of the ‘99% club’! The server Therese was excellent coordinating everything and keeping check, not in an annoying way, that everything was okay.The Cheesecake Factory is always on my list of restaurants to go to but at current prices I am going there less and less.

Posted August 13, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS

A question asked–my answer   Leave a comment

Someone asked me a question about my restaurant reviews and this is what I answered–hopefully it will help and not add to the inquirer’s confusion.

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County where there are over 2,000 restaurants and it is too hard to keep a record of how many open and close within ONE year.

I have/had been in the restaurant business 38 years, all positions, now retired and the biggest problem I have found is that too many restaurants open before they are ready to open and/or don’t have enough money to see them through a year.

With all that said I am pretty easy with restaurants as I really don’t expect much except a clean place, good food—doesn’t have to be great!–good servers–not necessarily super stars but at least show that they have been trained well. With prices as high as they are today, with a choice of 4 types of restaurants starting with full service, followed by buffets, then the new fast casual and finally fast food, a restaurant really don’t get a second chance Added to that is the fact there are too many choices of each types of food. In 1970 we had 2 Mexican restaurants now I can count 23. Italian restaurants? There are 9 within 2 miles from where I live. Just recently, within 1 mile we have 3 Cuban restaurants and Peruvian restaurants are growing faster than I can count.

I eat out twice a week, one usually fast casual or lower priced full service and another a new one. I have 5-6 favorite restaurants that I try to get to 2-3 times a year at least. Add to that I am a Leap Year baby which means I have (and only celebrate) a birthday every 4 years with a dinner party at a restaurant, usually a new one, that I have tried in the intervening years and comes Saturday, February 29, 2020 I will be celebrating my turning 21 at the Nabu restaurant if #1 They are still open and #2 I haven’t come across a newer, better one. My last birthday was in 2016 and I held a dinner for 22 people at Cafe Vico and I couldn’t have asked for better food, service, atmosphere or evening.

I usually will try to speak to a manager if I find something wrong–some listen, some don’t. I see over 100 movies a year in theatres–maybe, if I am lucky, I will see 5 or 6 that I would want to see again. Why do I bring this up? Too many people today don’t have the money to go to movies anymore and certainly not to eat out. I don’t like to see any business close or employees lose employment but I know I read reviews for restaurants, movies, plays, etc., so I won’t waste my time and money.

I soon learn who to trust when when reading their reviews and who not to. For instance there is a critic in South Florida that I know if they dislike some place chances are I will love it!

Didn’t mean to go on so long–I appreciate your note and just wanted to explain a little–which turned into a lot!–of where my head is at regarding my posting reviews! I reviewed 2 restaurants recently–VALE FOOD CO and CAO Bakery & Cafe–each had something good but I won’t be returning to either because there were too many negative things that should have been taken care of before they opened if not after customers brought it to their attention. Hope you find some great places to eat!


VALE FOOD CO–restaurant review   1 comment

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The second time in a week that I was to a restaurant in a location that has failed before, the dish I had was excellent but everything else was either blah or downright not good.

We had other plans but with the water situation the few places we wanted to go to were closed and I had a coupon for this place  that had been another restaurant for a short time. Vale has kept the same set up which is fats casual, line up for your food, get it, pay and go look for a table, hopefully to find one that isn’t dirty, sticky and still have used plates on it.

I had the small Aci bowl which is normally $7.99 but with the coupon I got it free as long as I bought a drink, which I did and cost $3.52 with tax.

The Aci bowl was really good with bananas, strawberries, granola, something like a blueberry cream sauce but the drink, organic lemonade made with sugar cane and blue agave that tasted like gasoline

If nothing else that ‘drink’ would keep me from ever going to that place again but the dirty tables was/is even more of a reason not to go back.

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