The who: Owned by the Restaurant People, the group that brought you YOLO, Tarpon Bend and S3, comes the new Fork & Balls, a homage to meatballs in Ft. Lauderdale. Peter Boulukos, a co-owner, serves as executive chef.
The space: Located on Las Olas Boulevard, this cavernous house of spheres is decked out in classic gastropub fittings: white brick, reclaimed barn wood and bric-a-brac like vintage scales, meat slicers and ashtrays. The vast rectangular bar that runs through the center of the restaurant features 20 wines on tap.
The dishes: It’s a build-your-own-meal menu, featuring five kinds of houseground balls (plus a daily special), five sauces, and a range of options like slider flights, heroes, pastas and sides. Ball options — beef and spicy pork, chicken, veggie, — can be sauced with classic marinara, housemade pesto, Parmesan cream and more. Daily ball specials can be anything from short rib to falafel to lamb.
Balls aren’t your thing? There are sandwiches, pastas and plenty of salads, like farro with feta and tomatoes, roasted beets, and classic caprese. Desserts stick with the comfort-food vibe and include chocolate chip cookies and a gluttonous fried bread pudding with bacon.
Prices are wallet-friendly with $3 sliders, $5 sides and $11-$13 meatball platters and sandwiches. Add in a couple of $6 beers, and you can easily have dinner for two for under $40.
The bottom line: The humble meatball becomes hip and stays affordable at Fort Lauderdale’s new Fork & Balls.