Archive for the ‘RESTAURANT REVIEWS’ Category

Toast Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale–Review   Leave a comment

Toast Restaurant Feb 15 2018 collage

In spite of what some people may think I really dislike writing negative reviews of restaurants but I worked in the field 38 years and have eaten out since I was a kid plus having seen, literally, thousands of restaurants go out of business it is not an easy business to succeed in though many think it is.
I worked in this plaza on the diagonal corner in a small Italian restaurant over 20 years ago and no longer exists which was then followed by a very popular restaurant that featured a chef who was on a TV cooking contest and then closed. In the current location where the Toast restaurant opened was another restaurant though I never went there.
So many people refer to Toast as a diner but it is as much as a diner as Peter Pan is which isn’t my definition of one.
In any case, I only have two positive things to say about my first experience at Toast and that consists of all the ladies working there do their best, and succeed, working as a team and making the customers feel welcome. (There was a man ‘working’ there and I wasn’t sure if the owner or a manager but didn’t do anything and when I tried to catch his eye to correct something he never looked or acknowledged me.) The second positive thing was the open atmosphere with the restaurant having many large windows making the room bright and inviting.
Okay, let’s get to the food. Allen and I split a housemade Spanakopita (family spinach pie recipe baked in a flaky phyllo dough $5.95) which, and I agree this is a pretty out complaint, was too flaky ‘flying’ all over the place including table, clothes, and seats. Allen had the ham and cheese club ($11.95), which he complained, with a smile, was too big but he ate it all.
I ordered a Cheddar Cheeseburger ($9.95) but it came without the cheese and was more medium than medium rare as I ordered. (This was when I tried to catch the owner/manager’s (?) eye but without success.) When the waitress came over she immediately corrected the mistake. The burger tasted like it had been under the heat lamp for too long a time. The sweet potato fries were definitely overcooked as were the 5-6 regular French fries that must have been in the fryer that wasn’t cleaned out when the sweet potatoes were put in it.
Allen had a diet cola ($2.45) and I had coffee ($2.45) and the server made sure his glass and my cup were always full which in itself was an accomplishment because the coffee was served in the smallest cup I have ever seen in a restaurant except for a demitasse or cappuccino.
I never did get her name as she wasn’t wearing a name tag and there wasn’t any name on the check receipt (except ‘Server #: 1’). Though normally I would have asked her name I failed to.
By the way let’s not even get into the old cash register type they were using.
As we were leaving the new sign for the restaurant was being put up. I hope it is not a waste of time and money.

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Ki’Na–restaurant review–Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Ki Na restaurant Jan 25 2018

Thanks to nextdoor.com posts I kept on hearing about this restaurant which had taken over the building from a short-lived enterprise of a not so good restaurant. The new owners also run the Temple Eatery next door. On the top of their menus (both a lunch and dinner menu) is the following:

“Inspired by the memories growing up, Ki’Na, meaning “little kids” in Taiwanese, pays homage to the traditional Chinese cuisine. Our style of cooking startsfrom the freshest ingredients. We source non-gmo, hormone & antibiotic-free products as locally as possible. Currently, we proudly carry products from Harpke Farms, Sunfresh Farm, Springer Chicken Farm, Bio Farm Organics, Swank Specialty Produce, Cascade Organic, & Foods in Season.”

Daryl (called Darling on the receipt) the server was fast and efficient, answered what questions we had and made a few suggestions. We came in at 1:30 and there was one other couple but they soon left and the place remained empty though some did come in to look at the menu or read the one on the outside and left. It could be the prices seemed a bit high for lunch.

 

I had Spicy Sesame Noodle soup made with: ground chicken, soft egg, greens, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, chili oil with cucumber salad $14

Allen had Chicken meatballs: 2 meatballs, soft egg, braised Daiken, daily Asian green, soy glaze with cucumber salad $14 and Chocolate chili ice cream $5 of which I had a bite and just shrugged off.

Allen enjoyed his dish and I certainly liked the big bowl of soup filled up with tasty items but we both felt the cucumber salad consisting of 3 very small spears, along with the ice cream, was a major disappointment.

Also I appreciated the bottle of water, served in steel cups, with the bottle left on the table.

With tip and tax the check came to $40, about par for lunch in a full-service restaurant.

The service was good, the pleasant surroundings added to the enjoyment of the meal and the food tasted fresh and for a first time visit I would recommend it but, anddont ask me to explain why because I can’t, we probably won’t go back! 

Posted January 28, 2018 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Moonlite Diner Fort Lauderdale restaurant review   Leave a comment

 

There are plenty of diners in Broward County including the Moonlite, Lesters, Peter Pan and Flashback. Put a blindfold on and be taken to either and you wouldn’t be able to tell which is which because most of the food is the same. and there is nothing wrong with that as they all serve good tasting food, good portions and are in the mid-price range.

Take off the blindfold and you see the difference. The Flashback Diner has small TVs with remotes on all tables, Lester’s has remodeled their original place with an additional dining room (outdoors) to the two inside while no way does Peter Pan resemble a diner. Of the 4 mentioned the Moonlite Diner has the look of diners all over the country though it may be a little bit shinier.

I had the turkey wrap ($9.89) and next time would probably just have a regular turkey sandwich. I ordered hash browns done on both sides and they came just as ordered. I had coffee ($2.59) which was good and a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($2.99) while Allen had the Rueban (($10.49) and a chocolate milkshake (($3.99).

With tax and tip the check came to $39.27 We left a little more than a 20% tip because  Christin, our server, was excellent at her job giving us all and not more than the attention we needed, subtly suggested add-ons to the check and being prompt with refills on the coffee.

Besides the food, at all 3 diners, I have found that, as a rule, they usually have the most efficient servers and Moonlite was no exception with Christin.Moonlight Diner Dec 8 2017 Collage

2 Fort Lauderdale Chinese restaurants reviews   Leave a comment

Henry's China House Dec 28 2017 collage

Henry’s China House

It is hard competing with memories but that is what happened when I walked into Henry’s, a restaurant I haven’t been into for over 25 years and that wasn’t at this location.

For many years they were located a couple of blocks south of State Road 84 on Federal Highway located near a roller skating ring and The Copa, a gay bar and nightclub.

Did the food taste any better then or was it as pedestrian as the food we had today? I had the shrimp with lobster sauce ($7.25) and a diet cola ($1.25) served with pork fried rice and 2 fried wings while Allen had the Sweet and Sour Shrimp with rice and an egg roll ($7.25) and diet cola ($1.25) and Anthony had the Egg Foo Young with rice and a Spring Roll with ice tea ($2) no ice. With tax and tip, the check came to $33.50.

The food tasted like the food I ate in the Bronx many years ago, no better, no worse and certainly no fresher!

(And I hope the kids waiting on us–and they were kids, young kids–were just off for the holidays!)

I wish it was as good as I remembered but even this small ‘new’ place has no resemblance to what it once was.

By the way, don’t bother going to their web page–prices are all wrong–at least for lunch.

Lotus Chinese Kitchen

Lotus Chinese Kitchen Jan 12 2018

There is nothing really to differentiate the Lotus from over the 1,000 (probably) Chinese restaurants I have eaten in my 82 years (well started eating out when I was about 4 so let’s say 78 years.)

The fish tank, the menu, the food, the pot of tea, the dish of cold fried noodles is all par for the course. I had the Moo Gai Pan ($13.95) which came with an egg roll, brown rice and tea was as bland and ‘manufactured’ tasting as ever. Okay, it is a standard dish on every Chinese restaurant menu but sometimes you just want some familiar dish.

I’ve heard that most of the food here is homemade but certainly didn’t taste like it.

There is nothing wrong with the food and service while the main dining room is elegant looking but there is nothing that sets the Lotus Chinese Kitchen apart from the many other Chinese restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area or, for that matter, in the Bronx!

After not having Chinese food for a couple of years and eating at Henry’s China House on 17th Street last week and this week at the Lotus I can go for another few years without the run of the mill Florida Chinese restaurants for a while and will stick to Nabu when I have a yen for Chinese food.

For the record, both Henry’s and Lotus have been around for decades so they must be doing something right.

Cheddar’s Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale area   Leave a comment

Cheddar's Cafe Sept. 2017

Cheddar’s is a reliable restaurant with consistently good food at reasonable prices. I’ve been eating there since they opened every time I go out to Tamarac where Allen lives.
Allen had the dinner portion of grilled salmon ($10.99) (we were there for lunch) with two sides of vegetables and a diet cola ($2.69) while I had the New Orleans Pasta (a creamy version of jambalaya) ($10.79) and coffee ($2.59)
For dessert we each had a scoop of ice cream  ($2.99 each) with the check coming to a total of $35.13 plus a 20% tip.
Our server Nick was good from beginning to end anticipating our needs and that sort of attitude prevails from the opening the front door for us when we arrived with a warm welcome until we left when again the door was opened for us and was given a sincere invitation to come back, which I definitely will the next time I am near Commercial and North University Drive.
Cheddar’s (the Scratch Kitchen seems to have been added recently!) is a dependable place to eat for lunch and dinner and a definite place to eat when out west.

PS Always a plus is that I didn’t see any television in the dining room

Padrino’s Cuban Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale–review   Leave a comment

Padrinos Jan 4 2018 Collage

This is a modern, elegant looking restaurant from the moment you enter with the hostess on the left greeting you and the bar on the right inviting you, by its look, to stop and have a drink.
I have eaten at a few of the other Padrino’s restaurants and was excited to see it opening in Fort Lauderdale 8 blocks from where I live. I went for lunch their first week and it was just what I expected with a good sandwich, good service and the brother and sister, who are running it, interacting with the customers.
I waited a few months but finally, they started their lunch Monday through Friday buffet and I was there today. It is a good selection of cold and hot vegetables, plantains, pork, fish and beef dishes, yellow and white rice, black beans, a thick chicken noodle soup, fresh fruit, all for $13. Drinks and/or dessert are extra. (Unfortunately, there were no tags identifying what was what and there were 2 items I didn’t recognize but I ate them anyway! Meant to ask the very helpful staff members walking by but got too interested in sitting down and eating!)
The buffet is for a first timer eating Cuban food or the Cuban who wants a taste of home.
They also have their regular lunch and/or dinner menu available–just take a look at their web page.
With the buffet plus drink (non-alcoholic), tax and tip your lunch bill can run about $20 per person which is a bit high for my budget but I will still go a couple of times a month!

Le Bonne Crepe–Ft. Lauderdale–restaurant review   Leave a comment

La Bonne DEc 4 2017 Collage

 

The last time I was at La Bonne Crepe was August 8, 2015, and basically, all is the same and, surprisingly, prices have stayed the same.

Groupon was offering a coupon so off we went.

Le Bonn has been a mainstay on Los Olas Boulevard for many years and I stay away from that area because of the parking situation but we lucked out this time getting a spot right behind the building but they were doing work on the path to the restaurant and we had to walk around–not a big deal because it was a nice day.

Le Bonn Crepe is deceptive in that with a few tables outside, a few when you walk in but then there is a ‘back room’ that immediately increases their capacity.

We were greeted by Sylvie who was also our server and a good one at that.

We arrived about 1:30 PM and there were two parties outside and two inside. By the time we left the patio was almost full. During the season we get many foreign tourists who eat a little bit later than Americans so that is expected.

They have a large menu with many crepes under different categories of cheese, chicken, dessert, etc., which are numbered plus non-crepe options. Anthony had the Gruyere cheese and sausage Crepe ($13) and iced tea ($2.50) while I had a Crepe Suzette ($12) with coffee ($2.50) The crepes were big and very tasty and not that expensive which is surprising being on Los Olas!

It was pleasant sitting in the air-conditioned dining room, the food was good and the service was excellent. With the Grouponwe saved $11 so with tax and tip our checked came to $20.80

Le Bonn Crepe is a pleasant experience, consistent with the quality of food, good dessert and a nice treat every once in awhile.

An aside: seems I can’t/don’t/won’t go to Las Olas without stopping at Kilwin’s for ice cream as I did this time, too.

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