2701 E. Oakland Park Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 33306
Food: Service: Reviewed & Photographed by: Tom House
Open for dinner Monday – Saturday, Ruggero’s Ristorante has relocated and reopened in Ft. Lauderdale on Oakland Park Blvd (original restaurant of 10 years ago was on Sunrise Blvd.). Owner Roy Cibischino brought in Executive Chef Giovanni Filippone who together have taken over the helm of this restaurant and thanks to Filippone, improved the menu from top to bottom as well. Featuring up to fifteen specials per night, Chef Giovanni has been developing dishes that savor the exquisite flavors of “fusion Italian cuisine”.
Of course many of the original classics are available as well, including CLAMS OREGANATO, RIGATONI BOLOGNESE, CAPELLINI POMODORO, POLLO SCARPARIELLO and PORK CHOP MILANESE just to name a few.
On this visit we dined on Brusquetta Alla Burratina, an amuse size version featuring fresh burrata, melted (roasted) tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil…a delightful bite indeed. Next we enjoyed two Antipasti dishes; Insalata Fruitti di Mare…a fresh seafood salad made with shrimp, octopus, calamari, mussels and little neck clams in a fresh citrus vinaigrette. This was followed by
Melanzane Naploetana; an eggplant stack lightly breaded and served with fresh mozzarella, oven roasted tomatoes and topped with a lemon basil pesto balsamic glaze. Both were delicious and well presented.
The caring servers are very hands on, showing off professional table side French service, making sharing with everyone at the table much more enjoyable and effortless. Under the watchful eye of General Manager Gabriel Salas, previous training and planning was
evident, as tables settings were marked with military proficiency and table cloths crumbed between courses. For the most part we never had to ask for anything, and that is certainly the definition of great service.
Next we moved into a pasta course, including Pappardelle with jumbo shrimp, freshtomatoes, arugula and white wine truffle sauce. Perfectly cooked noodles and delicious sauce! We also enjoyed Rigatoni alla Bolognese, a classic example, with porcini mushrooms, béchamel sauce and parmigiana reggiano of course! Both were great, but I preferred the Bolognese.
We had the pleasure of experiencing the Ellman Family portfolio of fine wines throughout our meal, courtesy of Adriana Chinskey. Upon arrival we were handed a crisp glass of 2015
Caryn Renae, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. I have enjoyed Ellman Family Vineyards wines before, and many have become some of my “go to wines” when I cannot decide what I want to drink or recommend. May I highly endorse the 2013 Brothers Blend and / or the Alexis Skye Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir… both are so smooth and food friendly!
My all-time favorite Ellman Family Vineyard wine is the Jemma, also a Napa Valley Proprietary Blend. On this night we enjoyed the 2013 vintage, and although it will continue to improve with age…it was spectacular just the way it was! I also want to mention an incredible new release called Stagecoach Vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley… this is a “wow” experience from first taste to last… Cheers to Ellman Family Vineyards and Adriana Chinsky for making the night that much more special!
The “secondi” course consisted of Pollo Scarpariello, with black olives, pepperoncini peppers, Italian sausage, red peppers finished with a balsamic reduction and rosemary roasted potatoes. I loved this dish, with its rough cut pieces of chicken and dark, slightly sweet sauce. Alongside that was Veal Scallopini, topped with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, fresh herbs and white wine, served over risotto. The flavor and texture of the veal was spot on, but the risotto needed a couple more minutes in the pot.
Even though there was not much room in our stomachs, we forced ourselves to sample Chef Giovanni’s Tiramisu… it was excellent and disappeared on the tongue in an flash of flavor…so creamy and cold. Also some puffy profiteroles stuffed with goodness and covered in powdered sugar… fuggedaboutit… so good. Make it a point to visit the new Ruggero’s on Oakland Park Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale… you’ll be glad you did!
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