Bourbon on 2nd

 

3 stars for Fort Lauderdale Cajun eats

Bourbon on 2nd

Rochelle Koff

Here’s good news for Creolina’s fans who’ve missed its creamy crawfish etouffèe or hearty red beans and rice: Chef Mark Sulzinski is back at Himmarshee Village, cooking New Orleans-style at the new Bourbon on 2nd. Sulzinski set up shop in a Davie strip mall 261/2 years ago after losing the lease on his 12-year home on Southwest Second Street, but that move didn’t work out. Now, just in time for Mardi Gras, he’s a few doors east of the old Creolina’s spot as the chef, though not an owner, of Bourbon on 2nd. (We were disappointed that beloved waitress-hostess Rosa Mary “Rosie” O’Neal didn’t join him; she’s cooking breakfast at Webby’s in Plantation.)

Open since early January, the restaurant is still working out service issues. On our first visit, there were lots of lapses and a long wait for the check. We were happy to find a much smoother operation on our second trip, when a sweet, young server kept the meal well-paced.

Ambience: With doors open to the street, Bourbon looks like a lounge at first glance. There’s a stage near the entrance that hosts live music on weekend evenings.  The former Porterhouse Bar and Grill space has been renovated, with more tables and comfy booths in back. The decor is pretty minimal, but elaborate chandeliers salvaged from the over-the-top Plum Room at defunct Yesterday’s add that funky New Orleans-style glam.

What Worked

  • Cajun-Creole favorites
  • Soul-satisfying gumbo, built on a deep, dark roux, potent spices and the “holy trinity” of sautéed onions, celery and green bell peppers with the customary okra, tomatoes and sausage (Pennsylvania-Dutch smoked kielbasa with plenty of earthy, spicy flavor stands in for andouille) as well as lots of chicken, crawfish and shrimp, served with rice
  • Tender, flavorful gator tail prepped with a “secret” marinade then coated a cornmeal batter
  • Superb fresh oysters from Apalachicola
  • Delicious oysters Bienville with shrimp, mushrooms and brandy
  • Clams casino with bits of bacon and sweet peppers
  • Sulzinski’s simple, homey red beans and rice, available as a starter or entrée
  • The Cajun combo — samplings of red beans and rice, jambalaya with shrimp and crawfish étouffée, each in its own bowl
  • Étouffée — plump, coral crawfish tails in a creamy Cajun sauce on a mound of white rice
  • A sensational, juicy and well-seasoned whole, roasted baby New Zealand rack of lamb with a feta cracker-crumb crust
  • Classic desserts – cherries jubilee, peach melba, bananas Foster (flambéed in the back and presented without fanfare)
  • Cinnamony bread pudding, studded with chocolate chips and pecans and topped with a decadent bourbon custard sauce

What Didn’t Work

  • A chewy lobster
  • Bland mahi-mahi

 

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