Archive for the ‘RESTAURANT REVIEWS’ Category

Toojay’s–restaurant review   Leave a comment

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Except for our server Tiffany there really isn’t much I can say about Toojay’s. Okay it wasn’t their fault that at least 30% of the parking spots were taken up by people parking over the lines and not taking 2-3 seconds to straighten their cars out.

We were greeted and seated promptly and the place was consistently busy even though it was after ‘lunchtime’. Tiffany took our drink order with both Allen and I having diet Pepsi (fountain soda $2.89 while the canned sodas are ($1.99). Allen ordered the deli dogs with pastrami & Cole Slaw ($8.99) which comes with fries and I had the Latke Slider which said $9.79 on the menu, ($9.99 on the receipt). Allen felt the pastrami was overcooked, the slaw dry and the fries ordinary.

I really have nothing good to say about this dish! The Latke was far from ‘crunchy’ as said on the menu while the ‘fresh’ grilled sirloin was like a hockey puck, not too much cheese and too much mustard as if to give it some taste. The fried pickle was edible.

There had to be something wrong in the kitchen as 4 parties that came in after us were served before us and I saw Tiffany come in and out of the kitchen a few times, refilled our sodas without us having to ask, so obviously it wasn’t her fault. The well done pastrami and and the ‘hockey pucks’ gave me sort of an idea the cook forgot the order and either overcooked it or your guess is as good as mine!

Allen had a piece of Coconut cake ($6.69) and felt it was run of the mill so the check with tax and tip came to $37.98 with a $4.50 discount.

I have eaten at Toojay’s out west when I lived in Plantation  so I was looking forward to this new one but I am sticking to Pomperdale’s on Commercial and the New York Marina on 17th Street!


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Copper Branch–restaurant review   2 comments

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Though I love vegetables and eat more than the average person, including vegans, I have yet to find a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale that I would go back to after going to 4 of them.

We went here mainly because I had a coupon and because I like to try new places.

I asked the lady to order something for me, adding that I eat anything and I do, and she asked “Sandwich or salad?” and I said the former so she ordered me a smoked maple tempeh sandwich (marinated organic tempeh, sweet potato, zucchini, caramelized onions, vegan cheese, tomato, lettuce, BBQ mango sauce ($9.75) and not into ‘fancy drinks’ such as ‘power’ ‘organic’ ‘fuel’ or anything besides coffee, tea or water I asked for a glass of water.

Allen ordered the  general copper bowl consisting of shiitake mushroom General Tao, broccoli, avocado, organic brown rice, sesame seeds, srisacha coleslaw, General Copper sauce ($14.25) and a bottle of something on the receipt saying Liv ($3.99) that I couldn’t find on the menu.

I finished the sandwich–as I said I eat anything–but in spite of spices it was tasteless to me. Allen like the shiitake mushrooms but left most of the rice. The water I had to help myself to was warm on the verge of being hot. I was given a glass of iced water when I asked for it.

With the coupon the check came to $14.97 which certainly was a fair price for a fast-casual restaurant if only the food had been good and the place air-conditioned! (I hope the latter was only temporary!)

Posted May 16, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Good Spirits–restaurant review   1 comment

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From my waiter’s point of view, though it wasn’t that busy–it was about 2 PM–the parties were spread out and I believe the two waiters on duty were alternating parties so they had parties inside and out spread apart from each other. The restaurant should have been divided in half so both had tables inside and out but closer together for better service. (To better understand it you would have to know the layout of the restaurant.)
The bartender was also serving food at the bar and the manager was a working manager so there was really no faulting the crew.
The restaurant was pleasantly laid out–I couldn’t see the TV in the bar area which makes me happy–with cushions in the booths, but a little too ‘busy’ with the decor.
Living on a restricted budget I had avoided coming here for lunch as I heard it was expensive but came across a 2-4-1 lunch coupon requiring a beverage purchase so after shopping at the Dollar Tree–make out of that what you will–we went to Good Spirits for lunch.
Allen had The Bolo made of Rigatoni Pasta, Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Basil in Pecorino Parmesan ($18 lunch, $20 dinner) and an Arnold Palmer ($4) and loved it with 2 ‘complaints’ the first being ‘too hot’ heat wise and he was annoyed by the basil leaves mixed in. I explained that we were right near the kitchen and pasta has to be served hot as it gets cold very quickly.
I had the  Cordon Blue made of Chicken, Swiss Cheese, Serrano Ham on a bed of Asparagus and a Parmesan Creme sauce ($19 lunch, $23 dinner) and an Iced Tea ($4). It was served hot and the sauce was tasty but though I love vegetables Al Dente these were too hard consequently hard to cut. I, also, didn’t care for the way the chicken was made as I don’t recall ever having it breaded/fried in this dish.
Our check came to $37.87 with tax, tip, minus the $18 coupon plus a 20% tip based on what would have been the original total.
It was an enjoyable lunch but it is not a place I would go back to because there was nothing ‘special’ about it for me.


Posted April 11, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Outback Steakhouse restaurant revisited   2 comments

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The last time I was at Outback, I was pretty negative but taking blame for what we ordered and we have been back a couple of times and I thought it would only be fair to write a review giving the other side of the coin.
 
Now I am not saying the Outback is gourmet dining and a must go to but in my opinion it is one of the few corporate chains that offer decent food at, sometimes, decent prices, excellent service, good parking, pleasant atmosphere.
 
One thing most chains do is give you as many choices as they can and the Outback is no different with 4 menus to hunt down items! In the end Allen and I both had the 6-ounce sirloin steak & ribs ($14.99 each) with a side dish . We both had a baked potato with choice of sour cream and/or butter.
 
A definite positive is that they don’t charge extra for the side dish and/or warm bread–that Allen devoured but I did get to have a quarter of the 2 loaves LOL! He also had an Arnold Palmer ($2.99) and I had coffee ($2.99) and we both had a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($2.49 each) for dessert.
 
Our check came to $43.81 but I had a $4 coupon (generally in the Sunday paper coupon section) and though I usually have water with lunch I NEEDED a cup of coffee while Allen would also have water as he is trying to cut down on carbs and soda and the ice cream is just an indulgence (don’t ask) which would all have brought the check down $11-12 dollars . Bottom line is with a $10 tip lunch came to $25 each so tomorrow, after the movie, it is ‘cheap’ fast food! :O)
 
A few minor quibbles–I find their steaks over seasoned and I usually ask them to go easy but I forgot this time but after scraping most of the seasoning off it was a very good steak. Also the ribs were drenched in sauce plus they served more sauce on the side! They were very tender, falling off the bone and I would definitely order them again with a request to go light on the sauce. The only quibble I had with the service is that the wet naps should have been served with the ribs not after but otherwise I couldn’t have asked for or gotten better service.
 
From entering and being greeted by the hostess and seated immediately after asking if we wanted a booth or table until we left with a thank you and goodbye from both the server and hostess it all in all was a pleasant lunch and more could you ask for?
 
 
 

Posted April 4, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

KFC–restaurant review–I eat any/every where!   2 comments

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I believe the last time I was in a KFC was the 20th century, probably the late 1980s. I had some coupons and we decided “Why not?” Walking in I was really surprised how clean and new the place looked.

I think, not sure, (the receipt said  Lauren but he wasn’t a Lauren), it was the manager who took our order, gave us choices, told us it would take 8 minutes. He would deliver the food, I saw him cooking at one point and rectify a mistake immediately.

We had an 8 piece family bucket with a side of sweet corn and a side of mashed potatoes with gravy–that was a mistake as it should have been string beans but the manager changed it immediately–4 biscuits and a soda. We ordered the chicken grilled.

Another mistake was also ordering a Big Box which consisted of 5 chicken tenders, a side of Cole slaw, potato wedges, biscuit and soda.

All the food was hot, tasty with the sides being very large.

The check was $30 plus tax before the $6 coupon was deducted.

I have only 2 complaints and I don’t believe I am actually writing about one–we ordered TOO MUCH FOOD! LOL

Next time it is the ‘original recipe’.

Posted March 6, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

DoughBoys Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant Review—and sobriety!!   5 comments

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If I’m not mistaken it was in March of 2015 that I was here last. Though I am a man of habit I am not rigid, pretty flexible if a change is required. As an example every Thursday I go shopping at the Dollar Tree on 17th Street, then lunch at a full-service restaurant.
For some reason (Alfredo talking about it is THE reason!) I woke up this morning wanting chicken cacciatore which I haven’t had since January 1981 when I gave up drinking alcohol. After all this time I decided I wanted to go to either Big Louie’s, Bistro Mezzaluna or Cafe Vico but riding down to 17th Street I remembered DoughBoys being in the area. Doughboys Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant has been in business for over 30 years for good reason.
They have a huge, varied menu which offers different size meals for different people. All over their menu you can see: “can serve two”, 4 different size pizzas, “mini, small, large” Calzones and Stromboli’s, 2 different size wraps, ‘half and whole’ subs, cups and bowls of soups, ‘huge’ salads, ‘Smaller versions by specific request only’. They have 19 different categories of food such as Italian Specialties, Combination Entrees, Seafood, Fresh Pasta, Homemade Pasta–okay I don’t know if the fresh pasta is different from the homemade pasta but that’s for another day. They have everything BUT NO CHICKEN CACCIATORE!!
Instead of leaving we decided to stay. With all the above the food doesn’t disappoint and things run fairly smoothly I remembered why I haven’t been there in 4 years! I prefer going there after 5 PM instead of for lunch. The exact same menu is offered for lunch, dinner and late night bites BUT you don’t get table service for lunch. You line up at the counter, give your order, pay and then wait for your name to be called. I don’t understand why it is full price at both the evening and day time but not the full service.
I had their chicken Sophia (small $15.50 which surprised me as for $2 I could have had the larger one! It is a baked chicken cutlet topped with ricotta, pepperoni, ham and sausage covered with sauce and mozzarella. Though it was supposed to be baked the cutlet certainly tasted fried. In any case, I don’t think anything would have satisfied except–yeah, you know what. It was a large portion and served with a large salad and big portion of spaghetti along with a fresh salad All were certainly enough to be shared by two though Allen got his own which was a White Albacore Tuna Antipasto (small one for $9.95). My only major complaint was the lack of full service.
The folks behind the counter were friendly but it was lunchtime with people lined up to order and dirty tables all around with their looking/acting a little ‘in the weeds’ . Though there is no way of knowing it you are expected to clean up your own table as you would in most fast food places the staff does that with the dishwasher helping. Parking is free but if you don’t know the area chances are you will wind up having to make a U-turn if you are driving east as chances are you will go right by the end of the shopping plaza they are in. Going west it will come up surprisingly so you might find yourself taking a last minute right turn.
The cry of most restaurants is “Location, location, location” and after 30 years Doughboys proves that isn’t a must just as they show cutting back on service along with small inconsistencies doesn’t discourage business. (I still haven’t had my chicken cacciatore but writing this I realize I am celebrating 38 years of sobriety–hurrah for me!)

 

DEnny’s–IHOP–Sweet Tomatoes–JMarks   1 comment

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For the last 10 years before going to the Adrienne Arsht Center we would usually get a bite to eat at the Quarterdeck or Lester’s until this year. In  May when we went to see the touring company of “Chicago” instead of 40-50 minutes it took us 1 hour and 30 minutes. In November when we went to see “Hello Dolly” we decided to go down to Miami first and then eat. The two restaurants connected with the theatre are outrageously expensive  and where we get off at 36th Avenue there are a group of restaurants and we decided to go to Denny’s but that didn’t work out as there was construction  at the exit from the  off-ramp so we ended up getting a bag of candy for $10!!
 
On Wednesday December 26 we had tickets for the stage version of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” and decided to leave  3 hours before curtain time giving us 2 hours to get to downtown Miami, have a quick bite at Denny’s and make the curtain with some time to spare.
 
Any time you go on I-95 between 4-7 PM you are getting into bumper to bumper traffic. and I really can understand the stress commuters have. Both train systems aren’t good because their schedules don’t allow for coming back.
We left my place at 5 PM and got down to Denny’s around 6:45.  I worked at Denny’s on 17th & Federal and before that when it was called Wag’s. Denny’s has always had a bad reputation for service and it being very slow–of course, not when I was working there!
 
From what I can tell this particular Denny’s does more take-out and delivery than in-store dining. They own a really huge piece of property on 36th and Brickell with a parking lot twice as big as the restaurant so I am inclined to think, like most of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, it may soon become another hi-rise.
 
In any case they had 3 servers on the floor and we were the 4th party to come in. We had no problem with service and though it is not gourmet dining Allen had the double cheeseburger and I had the Philly prime rib. Both were tasty but—sorry, I can’t get used to this–just for the 2 sandwiches (we had water to drink) with tax, the check came to $22.35 plus a $5 tip. Our next show there, which is February 5, “Les Miserables” we are thinking of leaving 2 in the afternoon, go  via Miami Beach, have a snack there, if we have time go to the museum, and then, if the road work is done on the McCarthur Causeway we will get to the theatre with plenty of time.
 
 

IHOP–at Federal and Sunrise–went there Saturday for a light lunch –usually I have their cheese omelet with hash browns but this time, since I started my New Year’s resolution early, I had a plain turkey sandwich of rye —no bacon, cheese or mayo–with tomato and onion, a side of fresh fruit and black coffee. (When dieting I use mustard instead of mayo.) My friend had a chicken and avocado salad. Service was good though there was only 1 waiter on the floor and he was also the busboy and he had 6 parties to wait on, I got what I wanted, my friend picked up the check and I left a $5 tip.

Sweet Tomatoes–I posted about this place before–I love it for their 8 different soups,  pastas and breads. Anytime I/we go to the Regal Theatre we either go there, to the diner in the same center of to Cabo Blanco less than a mile away.. All have good discount coupons on either their websites or on localflavor.com

JMarks–went there Thursday December 27 after Dollar Tree and before Winn-Dixie–they are still running their $13.99 coupon special of a NY Strip, Chicken Parm or Salmon. John, the server, was excellent with a good sense of humor,. Allen had the Salmon and raved about it. I usually have the steak but this time I had the Parm which was a mistake. The breading fell off the Parm each time I cut it and the  sauce on the pasta was almost glue-like. Back to the steak the next time. Without the coupon I find the prices almost doubled and certainly not worth it but with the coupon it certainly is a good deal.

 
Oh yes, I didn’t have the carrot cake for dessert which is excellent because for the holidays someone bought me a 5 pound carrot cake! (What resolutions?!?!!?)

Posted December 31, 2018 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

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