When the clock strikes midnight, diners at Cero on Fort Lauderdale beach will be finishing dishes like foie gras-dipped apples, stuffed Dover sole in caviar butter sauce and fig beignets with warm chocolate foam. Not a bad way to start the New Year. Seafood with a Mediterranean accent dominates Cero’s menu, but chef Christian Clair plans to add Italian fare in the next few months. There’s much to like, and presentations are lovely, but the food could use a little dazzle to match the setting.
Ambiance: This is an idyllic time of year to dine al fresco on Cero’s terrace and savor its picture-postcard ocean view. The marble-floored lobby dining room, with crystal chandeliers and soothing natural hues, was No. 1 in Broward for decor in the 2010 Zagat Survey.
- A first course of sautéed house-made gnocchi with chives and tiny yellow and red organic pear tomatoes
- Delicious broiled oysters teamed with spinach and chorizo in a creamy Gruyere sauce
- Lovely lobster spiked with cognac and sherry and finished with cream and a bit of blue crab
- Bright and perky (albeit a bit watery) ceviche of fresh grouper with chopped red onions and red bell peppers, a hint of cilantro and a splash of lemon
- A whole, nicely grilled, butterflied yellowtail snapper presented with shallots, capers and a flavorful veggie medley
- Sea bass topped with a roasted garlic crust
- Plump and juicy pan-seared scallops
- A 1-pound Maine lobster stuffed with ratatouille and crab
- Creamed corn that tastes fresh off the cob
- An excellent, eight-ounce beef tenderloin with roasted zucchini and homey bacon-onion potato cake
- A 12-ounce veal chop with a hint of rosemary, served with cheesy grits
- Standout sweets from Spanish pastry chef Jordi Panisello – Nutella beignets paired with fun mini ice cream sandwiches and chocolate cappuccino sporting white chocolate foam
- Decadent white Godiva creme brulee topped with a glistening sphere filled with chocolate mousse