Archive for the ‘REVIEWS’ Category

Longhorn Steakhouse–restaurant review   1 comment

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I hadn’t been to a Longhorn since the one on Federal Highway (I think between Sunrise & Oakland–been a long time!) and since we were going to the Regal and I had a coupon for the Longhorn I decided instead of the usual good Sweet Tomatoes and the great Cabo Blanco we would give it a try.

Started off bad with waiting 5 minutes to be seated and even though 3 employees saw us none acknowledged us let alone say something to the effect that they would be right with us. After finally getting seated we once again had to wait about 5 minutes to be greeted by our server. Is it asking too much to at least let us know you are aware we are sitting on your station? After that the service was fine but wish we could say the same thing about the food.

We had a Firecracker Appetizer($9.99)  which was pre-made and probably had been frozen but was okay. Allen had the 12-ounce strip with a salad ($21.49) and a side of Cauliflower Au Gratin ($1.99) which I don’t think he knew was extra but thought counted as one of the sides with the steak. I had the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger ($14.49) with the seasoned fries (which were not seasoned as I had requested). We both had water to drink.

Allen didn’t say anything about the steak but thought the cauliflower could have used a little seasoning. The burger I had a  bun that tasted stale and was stacked on one side instead of the middle. Possibly there was a mistake either on my or the server’s part but I am sure I ordered the “$12.99 830 cal , Steakhouse Bacon Cheeseburger* Thick, juicy and expertly grilled, topped with applewood smoked bacon and your choice of cheese on a toasted potato bun.”  but I don’t see the BBQ Bacon on the web menu nor do I see a $14.49 burger! Also, mine came with fried breaded onion strips which I would never order ON a burger. Though I don’t think so I’ll take the blame for the order, something I would never order again.

For dessert Allen had the Chocolate Stampede ($9.49) and the server did say it served two but I decided not to have dessert (see the halo over my head?) even when she brought 2 plates and silverware! He didn’t make any comment good or bad about it.

With 2 discounts our check came to $45.44 including tax plus we left a $12 tip.

Next time we go to the Regal movie theatre we will go to Cabo Blanco or Sweet Tomatoes afterward. Also, comparing chain steak restaurants I would rather go to the Outback for a burger or steak when cost enters the equation.

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Posted May 18, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS, REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Big Louie’srestaurant—again—review–again!   1 comment

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Big Louie’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and everyone I take there, whether local or visitor, agrees it is a good place to eat!
 
Allen and I went there this afternoon with his having Penne with Meatballs and I had Veal Parm with Baked Ziti along with 6 garlic rolls and we left completely satisfied.
 
Full disclosure for those who may not know: My last, and one of my best jobs, as a waiter was at Big Louie’s for 3-4 years before I retired and it is one of the very few restaurants that I returned to eat after I stopped working there.
 
There will always be arguments about where to get the best pizza plus arguments of New York versus Chicago versus Neopolitian versus whatever but I will take Big Louie’s New York style pizza with a good thick crust, a lot of sauce and cheese and varied toppings over the thin, ‘burnt’, tasteless ones made at nameless places.
Big Louie’s has been a neighborhood restaurant now for over 30 years and its longevity attests to good food at reasonable prices.
 

P.S. Sheila was the manager when I worked there and was very good at her job and now that I left she is the best server there! LOL

Bahama Breeze–restaurant review   1 comment

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Bahama Breeze’s new location on Federal Highway is brightly decorated, has a lot of parking, though the sidewalk opposite handicap parking is a little bit off with the low sidewalk far from the entrance, a young staff does their best but like the rest of the Darden restaurant group it just doesn’t work completely.
There seem to be two reception desks and yet even though with 2 employees at each we didn’t get a greeting and had to let them know we wanted a table though it was obvious we weren’t there to rent a canoe!
After being seated we were approached by a waiter who took our drink order, explained that the menu is big (it is–in size and quantity), to take our time and if we had any questions to be sure to ask. We were certainly off to a good start with him only for him to come over a few minutes later to tell us he had just been told to go on break as he had to work the dinner shift and that our new server would be right over and she did with a big smile.
We had asked for water and after ordering we waited 10-15 minutes for our main course which is all we got! When you are paying $20-25 for a lunch it might be nice to get some “Bahmanien” type of bread or something while waiting for the main course or maybe a complimentary cup of soup or salad.
Allen ordered the Top Sirloin Steak ($17.49) medium but it came medium rare. I had the Seafood Paella ($18.99) which immediately reminded me of the Olive Garden in the sense that is supposed to be Italian food but is very bland. The Paella did have a good variety of seafood, plenty of it and a good portion of rice but there was no ‘kick’, no real spices to give it all taste. I did have a $6 off coupon I had gotten in an email so maybe if I had paid full price I would have gotten some taste.
Allen had the Chocolate Island ($7.49) for dessert which he liked.
The service was slow and I didn’t know whether that was because the server had too many tables, didn’t know how to coordinate serving or possibly the kitchen was slow so I gave her the benefit of a doubt as I never blame servers unless it is obvious.
The check minus the $6 coupon plus tax and tip came to $50 and for lunch for just a main course and a glass of water is a bit high for my budget.
I’m glad I went, gave it a try but it is not a place I would return to as I find most Darden Group restaurants, except for their Steakhouse, just miss that ‘thing’ that makes a restaurant good.

Posted March 7, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS, REVIEWS, Uncategorized

BurgerFi–restaurant review   Leave a comment

 Burger Fi April 2018

After the movie I was in the mood for a cheeseburger not having one in a while but instead of going along with my first instinct–Gilbert’s–and being just a couple of blocks away I suggested BurgerFi.

It has been 2 years since I have been to BurgerFi and it didn’t take me long to remember why. After I paid and went to get my soda ($2.76), which working the machine is a hassle in itself, I realized the woman behind the counter didn’t ask me how I wanted my cheeseburger ($7.37) cooked I went back to her and she told it only comes medium well or well done which is a deal breaker for me as I like my burgers rare to medium rare. Normally I would have canceled the order but, for whatever reason, maybe having just seen a bad movie, I didn’t. I also ordered a small fries ($3.17).

Oh yes, how could I forget? Instead of a sliced onion, which I love, they serve chopped onions which I don’t care for on a burger. Let’s not get into the fries which had a few burnt ones in the order, nor did I know you have a choice of salt or no salt on them.

The place was clean, the employees pleasant and many walked around checking if everything was all right, cleaning tables, etc.

I had three thoughts leaving BurgerFi with the first being that I have to remember not to go again and why don’t they take the next, and best, step going from a ‘fast casual restaurant’ to a full-service one? Also, how do you handle the tipping in a fast casual place with a tip jar?

“The Bodyguard”–review of touring musical   Leave a comment

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A ‘jukebox’ musical? A tribute to Whitney Houston? A concert? A stage adaptation of a best selling movie which contained one of the best selling soundtracks of all time? With Deborah Cox in the “The Bodyguard”, presented at the Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts, it is all of those and a real crowd pleaser is shown by the response of the audience last night.

From her opening number Deborah Cox, as Rachel Marron, takes command of the stage and the audience with her statuesque looks and though sounding like Houston makes all the song hits her own. In the singing she gets some competition from Jasmin Richardson, who plays her sister, and when singing “Saving All My Love For You” makes you want to her at Saturday matinees when she takes over the role of Rachel Marron.

The show follows the movie closely with the love story between Rachel and Frank Farmer, played by Judson Mills, who is hired to guard Rachel after she had received threatening notes. Of course, originating in Hollywood, with a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan with the stage book by Alexander Dinelaris, you know Rachel doesn’t like Frank and the main reason Frank takes the job is that of her 10-year-old son Fletcher, played by Kevelin B. Jones III who is quite the dancing and singing trouper. Offhand I can’t think of another leading man in a stage musical that doesn’t sing or dance but Judson Mills makes his role believable in an underwritten role.

The ensemble of 10 men and women give a lot of support to the stars and the supporting players with the men, especially, doing a lot of athletic dancing and the women singing up a song when needed.

The sets and costume designs by Tim Hatley along with the choreography by Karen Bruce and the direction of Thea Sharrock keep the production moving and looking sharp.  The lighting designer, Mark Henderson, goes a little overboard with the strobe lights but gives depth to the moving sets.

The musical hits are there from “All At Once”, “I Have Nothing”, “I Will Always Love You” (including a funny karaoke rendition by Mills), “One Moment In Time” to “Run To You”, “Queen Of The Night”, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” among the 16 numbers including the cast’s curtain call of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” which gets the audience up on their feet and clapping!

No one leaves “The Bodyguard” disappointed but you can feel the energy and hear bits and pieces being sung by the audience as they leave the theatre!

 

“The Bodyguard” has a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes including a 20-minute intermission.


 

Olive Garden Restaurant–review   Leave a comment

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I don’t go to the Olive Garden for an Italian meal as we have too many real Italian restaurants in Fort Lauderdale for the true experience. The Olive Garden is a wanna be Italian restaurant with real Italian names for their food items but that is as far as it goes. I have yet to taste a sauce there that isn’t just bland, tasteless.

I had a $35 gift card plus a $5 off coupon so off we went.

Upfront, Marlanea, our server was excellent. The breadsticks were warm while the salad was good but the Minestrone soup was loaded with vegetables and very little taste.

We both had the Shrimp ‘Scampi’, ($16.49 each) at least that was what they called it.  Yes, there are many variations of Scampi but the basic Italian restaurant will make it in an oil and garlic sauce while this was in some sort of cream sauce. They did put it over Angel Hair pasta.

I had a diet soda ($2.89)–is there some theme I am missing with all items priced to end in a 9? Allen paying heed to the latest report on diet sodas stuck to water.

We did share a piece of Black Tie Mousse cake ($7.79) which was very good.

Altogether our check came to $45.98 including tax plus we left a $10 tip so minus the $35 gift card and the $5 coupon it cost us about $8 each out of pocket.

It has been about 5-6 years since I had been to an Olive Garden and after this meal, I remembered why.

I’ll stick to Cafe Vico, Big Louie’s, MezzaLuna Bistro, etc., for an Italian meal!

Oh yes, a big plus in their favor was that I didn’t see a television anywhere! LOL

“Finding Neverland”–a touring company review   Leave a comment

Walking into the Broward Center for the Performing Arts I really didn’t have much knowledge of “Finding Neverland”. I had listened to a few of the songs, written by Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy, on Pandora and knew that it was based on a motion picture starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet which in turn was based on a play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan” by Allan Knee called “The Man Who Was Peter Pan”.

Playwright J. M. Barrie was that man and “Finding Neverland” is the story of how he met Widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her 4 boys in a park one afternoon, befriended the family and, through Peter who grew up too quickly upon his father’s death, found the child in himself and the boy. He remembered Neverland, an imaginary place he had created in his mind when he was a child and taking the other three boys playfulness recreated that world not only for Peter but for the now adult Barrie.

In the first act we meet Barrie (Will Ray), the theatre producer Charles Frohman (Rory Donovan) his actors (the ensemble), the Widow (Christine Dwyer), the 4 boys George (Finn Faulconer), Peter (Ben Krieger), Jack (Mitchell Wray), Barrie’s wife Mary (Lael Van Keuren), Sylvia’s mother Mrs. Du Maurier all having strong voices and excellent stage presence. The 4 boys are especially fine being boys who just happen to be singers and dancers as naturally as they are pirates and whatever else their imaginations bring to their every day play. Near the end of act 1 there is a 4 part song, “Circus Of Your Mind”, that gives the adult leads to soar above the  orchestra conducted by Ryan Cantwell while before that the 4 boys are highlighted singing “We Own The Night”.

Act 2 basically leads up to the Peter Pan story so many of us know. I must admit I was transported back to 1954 when Mary Martin as Peter Pan asked the audience to clap if you believe in fairies when Peter Pan (Dee Tomasetta) asked us the same last night. It is also in the second act that we get to have fun with Captain Hook (Rory Donovan and Connor McRory), Wendy Adrianne Chu and let’s not forget the real dog Porthos, played by Sammy, who deserves a bow of his own.

The company of “Finding Neverland” have a first rate production staff starting with the director Diane Paulus, the ever changing set and lighting designs by Scott Pask doing the former and Kenneth Posner the latter but there is a piece of stage magic done by ‘air sculptor’ Daniel Wurtzel that just dazzles the audience.

“Finding Neverland” has some dark moments but we are distracted by the music and theatre magic that takes place on a stage.

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. It is the last show of the 2016-2017 season with the 2017-2018 season staring in October.

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