Archive for the ‘RESTAURANT REVIEWS’ Category

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.

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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!

Martin

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.

The “New” Quarterdeck–restaurant review   1 comment

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2 blocks west of the old  location, with trepidation, we went to the ‘new’  Quarterdeck. Though it was missing the old Key West feel of the Cordova location it was bigger, brighter and very inviting. From the greeting at the door by the hostess to the bright “Thanks for coming” as we left by our server this Quarterdeck was as friendly as the one I had been going to for over 25 years.
I had one major concern, and a couple of minor ones, but the first was answered positively when I asked if the same cooks were in the kitchen and so I ordered the Jambalaya and am happy to report it is still the best in Fort Lauderdale!!
I didn’t see any of the old staff but all the new people were a positive happy group. I couldn’t have asked for better service than what I got from Luis.

 
Though the old place had a lot of TVs the new ones here are overwhelming and I missed the aquarium but the ‘school’ of dolphins over the bar are certainly impressive.
 
The outside area is a lot bigger with many more tables for service and my main concern is what is going to happen in the rainy season now as I didn’t see any possible overhead covering.
 
I’m glad to the prices prices haven’t gone up too much and that one of my 10 top restaurants in Fort Lauderdale is still in the top 10!

By the way I wasn’t expecting it but I received a 2-4-1 email so our meal only came to  $22.45 plus a 20% tip.

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!


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

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