Fork and Balls Restaurant in downtown Fort Lauderdale has a name that’s sure to gain lots of attention. We stopped in this new Las Olas Italian restaurant for lunch, and yes, some found elementary school humor in their menu with how they serve their balls. Their meatballs. Either balls on top, balls in between or just balls. Well, maybe it was just me seeing the humor.
Fork and Balls is a casual dining restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard has only been open for about a week now and we figured the July 4th holiday would be perfect to avoid the typical weekend crowds. We were right and were seated right away.
They have a few tables outside, which might be really nice in cooler weather, but today was definitely an inside dining afternoon. The center of the restaurant has a huge bar that frames the space with several TVs. The inside is very rustic-modern with woods and exposed/painted brick. The lower portion of the bar creatively looks like wooden kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. The bar can fit lots of people and even has electrical outlets underneath the bar to charge your cell phones. Very practical and cool!
They have some long tables for the parties and lots of booths and tables around the perimeter. We really liked the look of the place and it fits right in with the modern ‘gastropub’ feel.
Our server was right there to explain the menu and the specials and take our drink order. We ordered a few craft beers and looked over the menu.
The menu focuses on…you guessed it, meatballs of different varieties like beef, chicken, spicy pork and veggie. They also have a weekly meatball special which was a Fork & Ball blend (veal, beef and pork I believe) stuffed with six-hour roasted short rib. You have several options on how you want your balls. Just Balls are just the meatballs with your choice of sauce. Balls on Top are your choice of meatballs with choice of sauce on top many different options like pasta or salad. Balls in Between are what they refer to meatball sandwiches. They also have some complete options that are more of a ‘meal’ that combines some favorites. The appetizers looked really good as well with calamari, garlic bread and brussel sprouts.
We started with the brussels sprouts – toasted garlic tomato sauce, topped with lightly fried with bacon, parmesan and I believe a little drizzle of balsamic. These came out quickly. Now I’ve tried brussel sprouts many times and never really found what the big fuss is about. Well, that all changed today. These were amazing. They were slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness. The bacon wasn’t that prominent, but added a bit of smoke and saltiness to the dish. The tomato sauce was fresh and went so well that we wanted more sauce on top. It was the perfect size for two to share and we thought it was priced just right. Fork and Balls has made me a converted brussel sprout lover.
Our server was great and kept checking on us and would bring fresh silverware and plates with every small course. Next out were the balls. First, the two meatball sliders. They’re $3 each and come with your choice of meatball and sauce. They are served between two thin pieces of focaccia bread. We chose the chicken ball and the ‘special’ ball (Fork & Ball meatball stuffed with short rib). The meatballs are maybe 1 1/2 – 2″ in diameter and are actually a prefect size.
We cut into the special ball with the short rib and it looked amazing. The short rib was definitely in there and it took up a good portion of the meatball. The meatball itself was tender and had some layers of flavor. The short rib middle was like a hidden gem. We didn’t eat it as a sandwich, we used a fork. The chicken ball was also really good. They managed to get a lot of flavor into it. Both were really good choices.
Next we moved onto the Just Balls. Three meatballs, we chose the Fork & Ball blend with herb pesto sauce. These meatballs just melt in your mouth. These were the same blend that as in our slider, minus the short rib filling. The mix of meat wasn’t tough or greasy at all and they had some great herbs that we liked.
The pesto was also quite good and they give you just the right amount so that it doesn’t overpower the meatball. The little piece of focaccia that is served with the Just Balls is a little small though and we could have gone for more.
So far everything we ordered was under $10 and surprisingly we were feeling full. Our server came by and asked about dessert and we passed. But then he mentioned that next time we had to try the Fried Bread Pudding with Bacon Toffee Caramel and a Rum Raisin Gelato. Jeff’s eyes lit up and said with a big grin, “Okay, bring us one”.
The Fried Bread Pudding with Bacon Toffee Caramel and Rum Raisin Gelato came out quickly and Wow, it looked really good. The first bite was awesome. The best part was the outer crust. It was slightly crunchy with a warm soft inside. The sauce was nice and sweet but we didn’t really taste the bacon, but we hardly missed it. The gelato was smooth and nicely flavored as well.
We were really impressed with the service and food here. While they’ve only been open for a few weeks, they seem to be running smoothly. I’m sure on busy nights, things can run a bit differently, but that happens everywhere. The prices are reasonable and we liked that everything we ordered was under $10 easily. While you won’t get the largest portions that give you leftovers for two days, we feel it’s priced just right. It’s actually a nice place to get a little Las Olas comfort food without busting your wallet.
We think the people of YOLO and S3 have another success here with this simple and comfortable Italian restaurant theme. If you’re looking for a place to eat on Las Olas Blvd, you’ll definitely have to try Fork & Balls Restaurant. Fork & Balls is located at 1301 East Las Olas Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.