Restaurant Review: Zuckerello's, Ft. Lauderdale.
This is another one of those restaurants I've driven by like 100 times or more. It's on Commercial Blvd. just east of US1 on the north side of the street. There are actually quite a few restaurants on this little stretch of road of which this is our 4th one. (See 'The Ambry', Pumperdale Deli, & Arva Taverna Greek Restaurant.)
Zuckerello's has been open for about 19 years, which is quite a long time for a 'local' Ft. Lauderdale restaurant. The cool thing about this place is that they keep the restaurant decor and menu updated, which is refreshing. While I do like going into some of the 'older' restaurants for that 'old Florida' feel, it's good to know there are those places that like to evolve.
When you first enter the restaurant, you are presented with the 'Specials Table'. It consists of real dishes of the specials of the day. It's a trick you see all over South Beach to entice people to dine in 'their' restaurant, but this is more for 'informational' purposes. When seated, you get the specials menu that lists the dish in detail along with the prices.
Zuckerello's 'Specials of the Day Table'.
The decor is updated with a few rows of booths and tables in the center of the dining room. The colors are earth tones and feels very inviting. There is also a large bar area that seemed to be quite busy for an early Friday evening. It's kind of 'minimal' which does make it feel a lot bigger than it is. Maybe they can throw in some other decor to 'soften' the place up a bit. But it was still a relaxing place.
Our view of the bar (LCD TV on the wall too).
Zuckerello's dining room.
Our server was spot on and very knowledgeable about the menu. She was really friendly and made us feel welcome. It actually seemed like all of the wait-staff liked their jobs. I love when the service is great. Our two soft drinks came very quickly along with the great fresh-baked bread. The bread is served with a garlic-olive oil mixture which is quite good. One word of advice...if you don't like your garlic flavor heavy...just dip your bread in the oil...don't scoop the chopped garlic. You can order a 'small house salad' for $3 with an entrée, but you have to say 'small house salad'. If you just say 'house salad', you get the bigger $5 salad (that's what happen to me). But the house salad was really good. Nice selection of greens, onion, katamata olives, tomato, cukes and the dressing is on the side. I got the vinaigrette. It's a very good salad.
(bread basket with fresh garlic & olive oil - left ; regular House Salad w/ vinaigrette dressing - right)
It also seems that they change their menu every 'season'. The menu noted "Summer Menu" on the top. The prices range from $12 for some pasta dishes to $20 for some of the specials, seafood and veal. They also have some 'big' salads that you can make a meal out of. The prices seemed to be fairly reasonable...especially since some Italian restaurants are raising prices what seems like every month.
I ordered the Chicken Zuckerello's. Chicken Breast stuffed with Spinach, Portobello Mushroom, Prosciutto and Fire-Roasted Red Peppers. It's then breaded and pan fried. It's served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Vegetable of the Day (steamed mixed veggies). There is also a Marsala Wine Sauce with this dish. The chicken was done perfectly and the stuffing was very good as well. The coating wasn't heavy and the veggies were not overdone at all. You could tell everything was fresh as well. It was a satisfying dish, but the next time I go back, I'm going to try something else. This seems like the kind of restaurant where you don't just stick to one 'favorite'. Price of this entrée is $16.
Jeff decided to get one of the specials of the day. GREAT choice. It was a large thick-cut grilled pork chop, with some kind of demi-glaze over it. It was a great piece of meat. Along side of this huge pork chop were Sweet Potato Fries and fresh Cole Slaw. The Sweet Potato Fries were freshly made and were actually quite good. The Cole Slaw was out of this world. It's not your typical heavy cole slaw. Everything was sliced thin but left in bigger pieces (if that made any sense). The dressing was more of a vinaigrette (rather than creamy) and there were fresh herbs mixed in. I love cilantro and this had FRESH cilantro.... YUM. I think I'm going to try and copy the slaw at home. Jeff was happy with his choice and didn't leave any left over. Price of this entrée is $20.
(Grilled Pork Chop Special, Sweet Potato Fries & Fresh Cole Slaw)
This is a nice restaurant and we will definitely be going back. They do have 'happy hour' 2-4-1 drinks at the bar and do offer some 'early bird' specials. I believe they are daily from 4 - 6 PM. Zuckerello's doesn't serve lunch...only dinner and they do cater as well. Overall check for 2 soft drinks (unlimited refills), unlimited bread basket, 1 house salad, our 2 entrées was $48 and some change - not including tip.
Zuckerello's is located at:
3017 East Commercial Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
FTLToday's restaurant grade: B