1821 SE 10th Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Review and Photos by Senior Staff Writer: Les Noteworthy
Food: Service: We arrived at Bistro Mezzaluna, tucked away just off the south side of the 17th Street Causeway. We were immediately ushered to a lovely booth, promptly greeted by our server, informed of the specials du jour and solicited for our water selection.
We opted for tap, and asked for a few moments to decide on our wine selection. As my guest preferred white, and I red, we decided to select wines from their glass program. She selected the Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, while I chose Davis Bynum Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Both selections were swiftly brought to the table for us to enjoy.
Our server drifted away, but returned with a wire basket containing a few pieces of crispy flatbread, some sesame bread sticks and 2 soft garlic rolls. Adjacent was a butter plate hosting 6 pats of ice cold butter. Sadly, the butter was far too cool to enjoy with any of the bread selections at that moment…
Although presented as an Italian themed restaurant, the menu offered a diverse selection of food items from a variety of other cuisines. We selected the Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna, served with Tamari Vinaigrette, Wasabi and greens, as well as the Maryland Crab Cake, with Roasted Corn Salsa and Chipotle Aioli.
The starters arrived very promptly to our delight. We shared everything, and were generally pleased with the results. The Tuna, appropriately served with chopsticks, had a noticeable Sesame Oil flavor, almost as if the seeds had been soaked in Sesame Oil, or the tuna itself brushed with the oil before searing. It was thinly sliced, yet an ample portion. The presentation left something to be desired, as the Tuna itself wasn’t presented as the “star” of the show, and should have been featured more in the central presentation of the dish. One of the cucumber slices had a noticeable age-bruise on it, and in my opinion should never have been used on the plate. The Tamari Vinaigrette was served in a ceramic ramekin, which I felt was too large for the plate detracting from the overall presentation. Most important however; the tuna was tasty with nicely balanced flavors. The greens were undressed, which was also disappointing, as it would have been a perfect opportunity to showcase perhaps another style of complimentary “Asian” vinaigrette.
The Maryland Crab Cake featured a single, large cake, perfectly golden brown, served atop a bed of Roasted Corn Salsa. There was very little “roasted” flavor in the salsa, but the sweetness of the corn gave a delicious stability to the cilantro, onion and citrus it was dressed with. The Chipotle Aioli was clearly the star of the dish. While the cake was golden brown, very moist and packed with lump crab meat, it was somewhat devoid of flavor, aside from the mildness of the crab. The aioli pulled it all together perfectly. It offered a smoky, mildly spicy creaminess that perfectly enhanced the crab cake. I wished those flavors of the aioli were inside the cake, but can easily understand why it was not. I also felt that the presentation could have used a bit of green as an accent color, perhaps as simple as a sprig of cilantro atop the cake.
Starter plates were removed, waters refilled and our server returned with individual decanters to refill our wine glasses. I like this touch, as it provides a lovely “hands on” service aspect, and a fair measurement with each pour.
Our positions were properly marked with necessary cutlery, hers a large spoon and mine a steak knife, after which the entrees arrived in prompt fashion. Very impressive timing from the kitchen and our server I must say. My guest had opted for an Italian Classic, “Shrimp Scampi with Linguine”, while I chose the “Skirt Steak, Frites and Arugula Salad” served with Chimichurri.
The Scampi was lovely, aromatic and delicious, featuring 6 large (possibly U-12) shrimp lovingly sautéed to the perfect snap-tender texture. The pasta was a perfect al dente, and the sauce was rich and garlicky as anticipated. My Skirt Steak was perfectly grilled to medium, as requested, and was served as an entire steak, rather than being pre-sliced before service. The “Frites” or Match Stick fries were crispy and delicious and the Arugula Salad was nicely dressed, but seemed a little lost on the plate, as such. This dish was served with a side plate containing stainless steel ramekins of Chimichurri Sauce and Ketchup.
Both dishes were very tasty, amply portioned and gone in virtually no time! Both wines also paired perfectly with our selections. As entrees were being cleared, the
server stacked a side plate onto one of the dinner plates while still resting on the table. Oooops! I pretended not to notice. (Fine dining says NO stacking of plates on the dinner table ever).
We finished our wine and opted for a pair of double espressos rather than desserts. These arrived in small coffee mugs, rather than a Demi-tasse cup and were both served on a beverage napkin lined coffee saucer with a teaspoon.
Our dining experience at Bistro Mezzaluna had come to an end. It was enjoyable, combining good food and wine with good service in a lovely venue. As always I ask myself… Would I return? Yes, definitely. Would I recommend this restaurant to others…Yes, definitely. It is a fairly pricey menu, but offers generously sized portions for the price, so it is recommended that you go to Bistro Mezzaluna hungry! Make sure you tell them Les Noteworthy from DinnerReviews.com© sent you!