Considered one of the most romantic restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, 20-year-old Las Olas Café was forced to close in May when the landlord wouldn’t renew its lease. Fans fretted, but owner Paula Pace wasn’t about to give up. Along with LOC chef Ernesto Rado and Scott Kraft, her business partner in Wilton Wings, Pace opened Mason Jar on North U.S. 1. In a tight economy and a location that lacks the allure of Las Olas, the team changed its focus along with its address, switching from fine dining to upscale comfort food.
Christmas wreaths, lights and poinsettias make you feel like you’re home for the holidays, especially when savoring dishes like short ribs, fried green tomatoes and green bean casserole. Paula Deen would approve. Servers – most of them from the Las Olas locale — are warm and friendly. When ours saw that I had forgotten my glasses, he cleaned his and handed them over so I could read the menu.
Ambience: Done up with knickknacks, wainscoting and floral curtains, The Mason Jar isn’t as atmospheric as the café with its twinkling courtyard. But for diners looking for really good food and value in a family-friendly setting, it’s a welcome destination.
- Pork chops
- Roasted duckling
- Chicken-fried steak
- Corn spoon bread
- Hearty tomato, blue cheese and bacon soup – intense flavor of roasted tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and celery melding with the tangy cheese, smoky bacon and a little cream
- Rich and flavorful crab and corn chowder
- A starter of flaky phyllo triangles filled with goat cheese, cranberries and mushrooms with a garnish of blackberry mango
- Fried kosher dill pickles
- Grandmotherly chicken pot pie – slices of white meat, carrots, peas and potatoes in a creamy base accented with hints of cumin and coriander
- Janice’s meatloaf, a recipe from Kraft’s mom, topped with a beefy demi-glace
- Nice and moist walnut-crusted mahi-mahi
- Green bean casserole garnished with fried onion crisps
- Glazed organic carrots
- Brussels sprouts – leaves separated, sautéed in garlic butter and sprinkled with pistachios Luscious strawberry chocolate cake
- Chocolate bomba
- Frozen lemonade pie drizzled with a caramel sauce & served with fresh strawberries