by Thomas Echea
on Friday, April 7th, 2017 at 12:57pm.
12 Crazy Dishes From Fort Lauderdale Through Boca
South Florida abounds with culinary creativity, proving when it comes to food, the sky is the limit. Discover 12 gluttonous, creative and exotic dishes that will wow your eyes and your taste buds.
At B Square, the “Bs” stand for burgers and booze. But the elevated-casual American eatery that joined the east end of Las Olas Boulevard in fall serves up more than your average sandwich. Take, for example, the Decadent Dog, a foot-long American Kobe beef hot dog with sautéed lobster, truffle oil, garlic butter and slaw, served with Parmigiano-truffle fries and homemade chips. “We’re all about elevating and creating unique twists on the classics,” says Thomas Febbraio, the restaurant co-founder, developer, restaurateur and principal. Round of applause.
$38.95; B Square Burgers & Booze, 1021 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale / 954.999.5216 / bsquareburger.com
Caramel Kitchen Sink
Are you ready for a list of just some of the treats that are piled on top of these chocolate chip cookies? Marshmallows, chocolate chips, toffee crunch pieces, Edward Marc Chocolatier’s snappers milk chocolate and caramel, Little Debbie Star Crunch, Ghirardelli caramel chocolate square, and seven more items we’d list if there were more room. The dessert was first crafted through Little Gilbert’s Cookie Company and sold at Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill out of necessity. Due to an illness, owners Lenore and Robert Gilbert took a hiatus from the family business, leaving their daughter Beth Gilbert in charge. Unsuccessful at making her mother’s notable Key lime pies and cheesecakes, she improvised, building tall cookies so they took up space in the display case. Now, there are 10 versions of the kitchen sink cookie.
Davie’s Cupcake Galleria takes cake and ice cream to a whole new level. Boutique “cupcakery” co-founder Charli Flanders says she created the cupcake-set-atop-a-milkshake combo for “all of the chocolate lovers around the world.” We’re glad she did. Flanders left her job in law enforcement to open the storefront two years ago where she’s also known for whipping up delicious cupcakes (sans milkshakes) and cake pops.
Flying under the radar has been this up-and-coming food trend: Thai ice cream rolls. Delray Beach’s Eathai makes the dessert by pouring a cream base on a surface that’s roughly 10 F, flattening it and then rolling it into five sections using a spatula. (Pro tip: Order the true Philippines version that isn’t on the menu called Egg Yolk I-CE Halo, which uses a coconut milk base with a raw yolk on top.) Ice cream is only one facet of Eathai’s authentic experience. With offerings from spicy salads, to curry, to fried rice, owner Sopanut Sopochana says, “If you want a real Thai food you have to come here.”
If someone were to take a giant spoon, scoop up a portion of the ocean floor and offer you a bite, chances are you’d decline. But you don’t want to miss the opportunity to taste the black sesame panna cotta during a visit to Kuro at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. The dessert was created by chef Ross Evans who pulled inspiration from the sea. “There is a clear divide between those who love the panna cotta and those who don’t understand it,” Evans says. That’s unsurprising, considering the combination of black sesame, ginger, cucumber and seaweed does stray from a traditional chocolate cake or bowl of ice cream that often concludes a meal.
What started as a Cinco de Mayo promotion is now one of Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale’s best-kept secrets. Co-owners Thuan Lam and John Maser first tried a sushi burrito while visiting California. They decided to create their own during their restaurant’s opening last May, and while the dish isn’t a permanent fixture on the menu, for any customer who asks, Lam or Maser will turn a roll into a burrito—for a few additional dollars. Our call: It’s worth the extra change.
From $16; Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen, 4391 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale / 954.533.4218 / phatboysushi.com
Manhattan Mac + Cheese Melt
What’s better than a scoop of mac and cheese? A scoop of mac and cheese stuffed between two slices of toasted, buttery country bread. The Manhattan Mac + Cheese Melt is one of the most popular dishes at New York Grilled Cheese Co. in Wilton Manors and Boca Raton. Founder and CEO Leor Barak suggests pairing it with the BaconDog Lollipops—100-percent Angus beef franks that are dipped in a rich maple glaze, wrapped in premium apple wood-smoked bacon strips and presented on sticks.
$10.75; New York Grilled Cheese Co., 2207 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors; 954.564.6887 / 493 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton; 561.277.0777 / newyorkgrilledcheese.com
The Forman Burger
Who can eat three sandwiches in one sitting? (Best to not answer that question.) When you order yet another hidden-menu hit—The Forman Burger—at Pincho Factory in Pembroke Pines, that’s basically what you get. The burger is topped with a tomato slice, three pickles and a drizzle of Carolina BBQ sauce, and it arrives between two grilled cheese sandwiches. “I wanted to maximize the amount of cheese I can put in a burger and find the right balance of bread, meat and cheese,” says CEO Nedal Ahmad. He notes that customers sometimes order the sandwich as a challenge, requesting to triple the patties and add toppings like bacon, queso frito and an egg. “It [is] quite a sight to see,” he says.
A true rallier’s best friend, The Hangover Bloody Mary at Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle is a fire-red blend of vodka and bloody mary mix with layers of pickled okra, asparagus, tomatoes, celery and olives. Adornments include a cheeseburger slider, jumbo shrimp and bacon. “[I was] just playing around with some concepts, trying to come up with a unique, boozy brunch item when it came to me,” says Peter Boulukos, executive chef and co-founder of The Restaurant People. With a solution to overconsumption consequences, guests can feel less bad about also enjoying Tarpon’s legendary happy hour paired with live entertainment.
$12; Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle, 200 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale / 954.523.3233 / tarponbend.com
We’ve all heard of, or maybe even indulged in, Turducken—chicken stuffed with duck stuffed with turkey. Well, as executive chef Ralph Pagano set out to develop the menu at Naked Crab Seafood Kitchen & Cocktail Bar, which arrived in B Ocean Resort along Fort Lauderdale beach two months ago, he created a seafood dish that uses the same concept. His result is called The Crabster, and it’s a 2-pound Dutch Harbor red king crab stuffed with shrimp, crab and lobster.
$100 (serves up to three people); Naked Crab Seafood Kitchen & Cocktail Bar, 1140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale / 954.727.7090 / nakedcrabfl.com
Bud Light and Popcorn Gelato
At La Gelateria della Musica, you can have a beer and eat it, too. In addition to Bud Light-flavored gelato, ice cream versions of popcorn, bread and red wine can be found at the Boca Raton shop. Originally from Milan, Italy, the concept opened its first U.S. location in South Florida in January. Escape the heat with one of La Gelateria’s 140 traditional to (highly) creative gelato flavors.
Not your average hot dog joint, Gourmet Killer Dogs in Delray Beach takes 100-percent all-natural beef links and marries them with atypical to customer-selected toppings. Take, for example, The Doghouse Special, a jumbo “killer” dog with sautéed peppers and onions, cheddar cheese, a fried egg and fried cubed potatoes with the option to add candied bacon. It will satisfy a breakfast craving during any time of the day, but if the yearning is for a p.m. plate, try the restaurant’s famous Maine Lobster Rolls, or its newest creation, the Ipswich Clam Rolls.