3 stars for French eats at Fort Lauderdale’s Bouillabaisse

 

3 stars for French eats at Fort Lauderdale’s Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Rochelle Koff

A craving for bouillabaisse led to an epiphany for Harald Neuweg. The Austrian-born owner of Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables was expanding to a 12,000-square-foot, two-story building in Fort Lauderdale that he wanted to divide into three distinct venues. One would be a rendition of the German-themed Fritz & Franz, and the upstairs would be a 250-seat jazz and blues club called Satchmo. The small third space was a question mark, maybe a pizzeria — until Neuweg was in the mood for the classic seafood stew and realized there weren’t many French restaurants in the area.

Ambience: On Nov. 15, Neuweg opened the 45-seat Bouillabaisse, a still under-the-radar charmer. The setting is lovely, with all the requisite romantic touches: flickering candlelight, crisp white linens and fresh flowers at each table. There’s also a small bar, dark wood furniture and colorful art work. With seductive French music in the background, the place is perfect for couples but also works for friends looking for a cozy spot and quiet conversation. Charming maitre d’ Rudy Tachen sets the tone for attentive but not hovering service, doting on the ladies, naturally.

 

What Worked

  • Warm mini baguettes
  • An 80-selection wine list starting with a $28 2009 Beau Rivage Borie-Manoux Bordeaux
  • Rich French country pâté
  • Escargot
  • A refreshing salad of hearts of palm, slivers of red onions and artichoke hearts dressed in a simple vinaigrette
  • A bold dipping sauce spiked with cayenne and finished with a splash of cognac brightens small bites of jumbo lump crab
  • Bouillabaisse -  a bowl of glistening white grouper,  shrimp, a Maine lobster tail, mussels and scallops and local tomatoes in an out of the sea-salty broth, aromatic of saffron, garlic and fennel, accompanied by rouille, a traditional garlicky paste spread on toasted croutons
  • A special of fresh yellowtail - a large slab of snapper in a delicate sauce of lemon butter, white wine and capers, plated with delicious au gratin potatoes, a slice of winter melon and baby carrots
  • Perfectly cooked New York steak Madagascar flambéed with cognac and served with a nicely done, peppery crust,, rich green peppercorn cream sauce, potatoes and carrots
  • Scrumptious puff pastry tart made with cinnamon-scented D’Anjou pears topped with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream on a plate drizzled with caramel sauce
  • Classic chocolate mousse and crème brûlée

 

What Didn't Work

  • Chewy veal in a Française sauce

 

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