New Broward Bites
Feast on a little taste of France, New Orleans & Italy at this new restaurant round-up
1902 Harrison St, Hollywood
Prices: Appetizers $6-$9, mussels $17.50 (includes wine or beer), other entrees $11-$16
The Big Easy Bar & Grille
1925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
Prices: Appetizers $5.95-$10.95, sandwiches $5.95-$11.95, entrees $8.95-$15.95
Don & Vinny’s
419 E. Sheridan St, Dania Beach
Prices: Appetizers $8-$14, soup and salad $6-$15, entrees $14-$23, pizza $10-$22
We’re always looking for new options in Southeast Broward. Here are three places, new and old, we checked out recently.
For a little taste of France in Hollywood, head to Le Comptoir (pictured). Judging from a recent Saturday night, the French bistro, which opened at the beginning of this year, is an undiscovered gem. The owners are waiting anxiously for the return of the French Canadians, but locals don’t know what they’re missing. Moules frites — mussels with french fries — are the star here, and a real value as well. For $17.50 you get a huge bowl of mussels in your choice of six sauces plus homemade fries and a glass of wine or beer. Two lighter eaters could easily share an order and just add a salad or soup. We tried two orders, one in curry sauce and the other in Dijon, a rich blend of tangy mustard and cream that we couldn’t resist mopping up with the fresh-baked bread. Other choices are white wine, cream, Provencal and blue cheese. The thick-cut french fries are also a winner. They were served piping hot, but we would have liked a crispier crust. There about a half dozen other entrees as well, including steak, chicken cordon bleu, tilapia and salmon, so if someone doesn’t like mussels, they won’t go hungry. We were way too stuffed to try the crepes for dessert. Maybe next time.
If you’re looking for a lively new party spot in downtown Hollywood, the Big Easy Bar & Grille is worth a try. As the weather cools, the large covered patio will be a great place to enjoy the almost daily live jazz and blues. For football fans, all NFL games are shown on flat-screen TVs, but be aware that this is a Buffalo Bills stomping ground. Free valet parking is offered most nights. The French Quarter decor includes murals of revelers watching a Mardi Gras parade. The place tends to be loud, so don’t come expecting a quiet dinner. The menu offers a mix of American classics, including a cheesy spinach-artichoke dip and New Orleans favorites including rice with red beans that could have benefited from more sausage but had a long-simmered flavor. Creole-style jambalaya was on the soupy side, but had a good mix of shrimp, chicken and sausage. For dessert, beignets were a doughy disappointment.
Don & Vinny’s is a classic neighborhood restaurant offering a mix of Northern Italian favorites ranging from pizza and pasta to parmigiana. Tucked in a neighborhood strip shopping center, it’s a casual and comfortable environment that caters to families. They accommodated our request for a large party with children and put us in front of the two small flat-screen TVs so we could keep tabs on the college football games. Make sure to get the fresh baked rolls, which look like twists of pizza dough. Most meals come with a choice of salad or soup — chicken noodle and pasta fagiole on our visit. Things went downhill from there. Service was slow and the food disappointing. Chicken Roberto, made with eggplant, was greasy. We sent back an order of odd-tasting veal parmigiana; it was replaced by a chicken version that was better but didn’t have much flavor. Even a basic cheese pizza wasn’t up to par. The meal ended on an unpleasant note when we found items on the bill that we hadn’t received.
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