Sublime Restaurant & Bar
1431 N. Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33304
Reviewed by: Hannah Sentenac
Food: Service: Sublime is a vegan cafe located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, and it is a special place indeed. It is the vision of owner Nanci Alexander, a long time active leader in the animal rights field, who founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) in1989. 100% of the restaurant’s profits support animal welfare and vegan causes – a concept very near and dear to my heart.
This background is all the more reason to embark on a dining adventure to enjoy socially conscious cuisine, as well as the support of a very worthy cause. Of course if you are a true vegetarian, you will be in Heaven! Our Editor in Chief Tom House, who is not a vegetarian, also visited at a later date and enjoyed Sublime immensely. He has contributed to my story as well. Read on!
The decor of this famous vegan eatery is elegant yet simplistic. It invokes a natural environment; exactly what the establishment is designed to celebrate. With green accents, a bubbling waterfall and tidy table settings, you’re lulled into a calming stupor in which to assess the variety of eating options before you.
As a vegetarian who loves food in general, a menu full of enticing options (every one of which I’m able to eat!), is practically miraculous. Such a situation is quite rare, as restaurants that are exclusively vegetarian are few and far between in South Florida, or anywhere for that matter.
I sat with the menu in hand, overwhelmed by options that included everything from Sushi and Pot Stickers, to Reubens and Enchiladas. I agonized over the many choices, and frankly, was inclined to order one of everything. Luckily – there was one decision I didn’t need to make.
As a complimentary first course, Sublime serves up their signature item: pesto polenta triangles. They’re a wonderful light treat for any pesto enthusiast, and as the server placed it in front of me she said, “This is our alternative to serving bread.” Finally, my dining companion and I settled on the Broccomoli Dip as an appetizer. This unique hors d’oeuvre included a combination of garbanzo beans, broccoli and avocado. It was appropriately spicy and paired perfectly with warm flatbread and delightfully tangy marinated cucumbers. As an entree, I went with the Thai Pizza… a rich, flavorful combination of peanut sauce, scallions, carrots and tofu.
It was perfection on a pizza crust! The peanut sauce (of which I consider myself an aficionado) was the standout: sweet and thick with just a hint of spice. While I felt full after only one piece, I brought much of the pizza home and it heated up marvelously for lunch the following day.
I also had the pleasure of sampling the Vegetable Platter with blackened tofu, as well as the Veggie Reuben. The blackening treatment gave a surprisingly flavorful finish to the tofu, and the Reuben was tangy, sweet, rich and absolutely delicious. It is amazing what Sublime’s chefs can do with their myriad of meatless culinary creations.
During Tom’s visit, he enjoyed Organic Edamame, sprinkled white sesame seeds and bits of black hijiki. Of course these were served warm with the appropriate amount of sea salt. Tom also tried the Chopped Salad, commenting how perfectly it was stacked with the use of a timbale, and served wonderfully fresh and cold. One touch with your fork brings this delicious masterpiece tumbling down quickly, making it all the easier to devour. Next our voracious editor sampled the Enchilada, made with shredded gardein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardein), green peppers, brown rice, black beans, cheddar cheese and sour cream… This is a dish he’d return for!
As a lover of spicy food, Tom tells me he was crazy about Sublime’s Singapore Street Noodles! This is a combination of rice noodles, Asian vegetables, red pepper, water chestnuts, curry, cilantro, basil and chili Sriracha sauce! Somehow he managed to fit in a Sublime house specialty of Coconut Cake too…a tall, decadent white cake, topped with coconut butter crème icing. I found out later he took some things home in a doggie bag just like I did!
It’s hard to imagine anything on the menu being less than Sublime. The service, however, did leave a bit to be desired on our first visit, our waitress was somewhat aloof, and seemed a bit distracted most of the night. Our food was all outstanding, however, which helped to brighten the overall experience, regardless of our service experience. During Tom’s dining experience service was better overall, but he noted that the addition of food runners and busboys would improve tableside service from the servers who are expected to do a little too much of that part of the job.
Another important note, for all potential patrons: upon entering the lavatory, prepare to be surprised. In such a classy restaurant, the last thing I expected to hear was a song advising me to wash my hands. It plays on an agonizingly long loop in the commode. I find it slightly insulting that they feel their clientele needs to be told to engage in proper hygiene…but alas, perhaps there are people who need the reminder.
But nonetheless, Sublime earned an exceptional rating with their surprisingly savory, creative and tantalizing menu options. Bravo to a brilliantly unique vegetarian eatery. Rarely does a restaurant’s name so appropriately characterize the experience at hand. Sublime is simply … sublime.
Introducing Hannah Sentenac: Hannah has spent her adult life traveling extensively, exploring the culinary creations of the smallest towns, the biggest cities and everything in between. Born to a highly talented chef mother, her appreciation for fine food has evolved significantly throughout the years, resulting in a seasoned and discerning palate. These days she enjoys nothing more than tantalizing her taste buds with innovative eats (provided they’re meatless, of course). Hannah’s unique background includes vocations as disparate as writing for FOX News, waiting tables and campaigning to end the killing of homeless companion animals. She’ll now be using her way with words to offer a vegetarian viewpoint for the discerning readers of DinnerReviews.com©. You can #twEAT with Hannah on Twitter at: @hannahalexs