3 stars for reinvented America at Fort Lauderdale's Indigo Restaurant
Chef Toby Joseph wowed foodies with his stellar cuisine at Cero in the former St. Regis on Fort Lauderdale beach and impressed high-rollers at lavish Bova Prime. He’s now the executive chef at the Riverside Hotel, the grande dame of Las Olas Boulevard, raising standards at its Indigo Restaurant. Indigo was once the hotel’s wild child to the more formal Grill Room, which is now used only for private events. Indigo abandoned its eclectic Indonesian menu for mass appeal years ago, and Joseph — honored by the James Beard Foundation as one of the nation’s top hotel chefs while at the Houston St. Regis — is giving it a more contemporary focus.
There are subtle touches like spiking mashed potatoes with chimichurri sauce and spreading goose liver pâté on a schnitzel slider. And instead of nightly specials, there’s a themed, international menu each month that tends to be more adventurous. Right now, it’s Oktoberfest; next month, it’s France. Prices aren’t as high as you’d expect on Las Olas, and you can save a few dollars with the $35 Dine Out Lauderdale menu, Broward’s version of Miami Spice, through Nov. 8 (not available during the Oct. 25-29 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show).
Ambience: Whether you’re brunching on Sunday or sipping minty mojitos under the stars, location is a prime draw at Indigo. Unfortunately, the service isn’t quite up to the setting. Young servers are sweet but the pace slows, and we had a long wait for the check.
- Creamy, but not gloopy, spinach-artichoke dip made with fresh veggies and a blend of Parmesan, Monterey Jack and American cheeses served with tortilla chips and a piquant pico de gallo
- Fan-favorite deep-fried bacon mac and cheese
- Lovely salmon fillet topped with crisp, lemony panko crumbs
- Butterflied whole roasted yellowtail served with the tail only
- Ultra tender & juicy braised lamb shank
- Rich mushroom risotto
- Butter-poached asparagus
- Moist, flavorful pecan-crusted chicken breast atop a bed of tomatoes, spinach and fennel with a perky pineapple beurre blanc
- “Lollipop” cakes — chocolate mousse, Key lime pie and chocolate-covered cheesecake
- Homey apple cobbler
- Utterly scrumptious molten chocolate cake
What Didn't Work
- Disappointing grilled octopus escabeche and grilled watermelon