Farm Fresh Restaurant & Bar
1850 SE 17th Street Causeway
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33316
Bringing the Best of Wine Country Cuisine to South Florida
Written & Reviewed by: Grace Abel, Wine and Food Writer
Dining in a pitch black room may sound like a “first date nightmare” out of a romantic comedy movie, When in Rome to be exact, but Market 17 ventures into this unique sensory dining experience with confidence.
In a glassed in, heavily curtained room separate from the main dining room, servers in night vision goggles lead diners through a blind tasting of food and wine where utensils are optional. Once the curtains are drawn and doors closed, you cannot see your hand in front of your face! Dining in the Dark is only one of the many gastronomic options at Market 17. This “wine country cuisine” restaurant, new to 17th Street Causeway, offers a farmer’s market style menu utilizing only the freshest local ingredients.
Brother and sister restaurateur team, Kirsta and Aaron Grauberger, are gracious hosts who are always eager to share the concept of their new restaurant with the dining public. Some of their innovative ideas come from world travels to famous wine regions and European cultural hubs like Amsterdam, where Kirsta discovered Dining in the Dark. The spacious interior of the restaurant and large dining area exudes South Florida chic, touting natural design features and high ceilings. The fully stocked large bar offers over 30 wines by the glass and features remarkable signature cocktails as well.
Market 17’s relatively small menu offers starters and entrees in petite and full size options, and can change daily based on the availability of local meats and produce. For a refreshing change from the ordinary, Executive Chef Daniel Ramos includes a mix of wild game such as Florida Rabbit Ragu and North Carolina Guinea Fowl. Owner Kirsta says they have even served ostrich, a lean red meat that quickly sold out to their knowledgeable dinner crowd. I am sure there will be many more exciting culinary surprises to come!
Since it was a warm night on the patio, my dining partner and I proceeded straight to the champagne list. I was pleased to find a small grower champagne producer on their list by the name of Voirin Jumel 1er Cru, modestly priced at $70. This light champagne had herbal notes of lemon grass and ginger, and exhibited a crisp acidity. The champagne’s perfect structural balance complimented out our first dish of Roasted Beet Salad with aged goat cheese and grapefruit coulis, finished with micro greens and walnut oil. Our server also delivered artisanal breads with olive tapenade spread, which I much prefer over the American tradition of bland dinner rolls and butter.
We decided on a mix of starters for a light meal, as we sipped our champagne and enjoyed the relaxing patio ambiance. Soon we were enjoying Chef Daniel’s Poached Farm Egg and Pork Trio, which included wild boar sausage, garlic roasted pork belly and pancetta, with a celery root puree and sunchokes. The dish was beautifully presented and the perfect tapas! The poached egg was a little over cooked to our personal taste, but Aaron and Kirsta were happy to prepare the dish over again. It was done quickly and much more to our preference.
We strategically chose a lighter dining style this evening so we could also enjoy some desserts. This was the most difficult decision, as there are multiple sugar-shock inducing options from Warm Cinnamon Monkey Bread with caramelized bananas, to a Creamsicle Fizz with house made orange soda and Papua New Gineau Vanilla Ice Cream. Finally we went for a Florida Keys favorite, Triple Layer Key Lime Mousse. The crust was made of a pistachio shortbread and the mousse fluffy with a key lime crème fraiche and custard. We paired a half glass of German Riesling with our dessert from Schloss Vollrads, at $4.50 for a 4 oz. pour. The wine had bright green apple acidity, bursting with juicy peach and apricot stone fruit nuances. This is the perfect pairing with dessert or an exotically spiced savory dish.
Market 17 is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm, Sunday and Monday from 5 pm to 10 pm. The starter menu ranges from $8 to $22 and entrees in petite and full size from $12 to $43. Dining in the Dark starts at $55 per person for a four course menu with the option to add additional courses for $10 each and wine pairings for $15 additional. Market 17 is located on17th Street Causeway next to Fort Lauderdale’s Convention Center.
Give Kirsta and Aaron a call for information on upcoming holiday events and reservations, or go to their excellent website at www.market17.net. Make your plans to visit Market 17 soon, and tell them Grace Abel from Dinnerreviews.com© sent you!