| Restaurant Reviews

The Cove Bagel: Best breakfast & lunch all day

Posted on 13 February 2014 by L.Moore

The real New York way!

By Becki Coffy

If you are looking for a unique breakfast and lunch restaurant in Deerfield Beach, look no further than The Cove Bagel and Deli.

This special eatery offers a full breakfast selection and an authentic deli with all the delicious meats and salads you enjoyed back home and have been searching for here in town.

With 40 years in the business, Steve and Karen Kay opened their restaurant in Deerfield Beach 10 years ago. The help of their children, Stacy and Adam, truly makes this a family affair. From babies to Baby Boomers, there is something to meet everyone’s satisfaction.

The menu is quite extensive, and it really was difficult for my husband and me to select just one dish to sample. My husband decided to enjoy something from the breakfast menu, so I chose something from the lunch side.

Had I realized they offered Eggs Benedict, my decision would have been made for me! Breakfast is served all day and only farm fresh eggs and the freshest ingredients are used. The three-egg omelets are enormous and filled with cheeses, meats, fresh vegetables, Nova or you may create your own. Muffins, English muffins, toast and, of course, bagels are available with your meal.

My dining partner chose The Cove Slam, which includes French toast or pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage. The pancakes were light, fluffy and definitely some of the best we’ve had in Florida. The bacon and sausage had great flavor and were cooked just the way we like it. A unique dish that I intend to try in the future is the crunchy French toast — French toast smothered with frosted flakes and grilled to a crisp finish.

For my selection, I chose the classic Reuben sandwich stacked high with mounds of National Deli corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled rye and served with French fries and two huge half sour pickles that were fabulous.

Steve, the owner, also brought us a piece of marble chiffon cake, complimentary to all his customers on the weekends, while the supply lasts. He often offers complimentary items so his customers can sample something they may not usually order.

The lunch menu offers homemade matzo ball and chicken noodle soup, plus the soup of the day and 10 types of burgers, including a turkey burger and a turkey patty melt. All burgers are served with fries, lettuce, tomato, onion, coleslaw and pickle – no skimping here! Fish and chips, chicken tenders and shrimp in a basket are all available for $7.99. Triple Decker club, chopped liver, tongue, tuna, chicken, egg, shrimp and whitefish salad sandwiches help round out the menu. Be sure to try any of their “hot opens” – turkey, brisket or roast beef with gravy and French fries.

For those looking for lighter fare, there are grilled chicken sandwiches and seven salad choices from which to choose. Cove specialties include cheese blintzes and potato pancakes. Don’t forget to try one of their famous super deli sandwiches – corned beef, pastrami and brisket to name a few.

Our wonderful waitress, Connie, says she has a pastrami sandwich every day. The ingredients used in the restaurant are never frozen, and the salads are made in small batches throughout the day so that everything is amazingly fresh. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Although seating is available inside and out, we sat inside and enjoyed looking at all the memorabilia collected over the past 45 years. Whether hanging on the wall, sitting on the shelf or hiding in the corner, there was something to bring back great memories from a simpler time.

Outside seating is petfriendly and they will even bring a bowl of water out for your furry companion!

The Cove Bagel and Deli is located in The Cove Shopping Center on Hillsboro Boulevard at the Intracoastal in Deerfield Beach. Breakfast and lunch are served all day. They are open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (closed on Mondays). A children’s menu for both breakfast and lunch is offered. Catering services and free delivery to local businesses and residences is available. 954- 481-8600.

Steve and his wife, Karen, make a point of learning their customer’s names and making everyone feel welcome and at home. The prices are affordable, the portions are large and the food is delicious. The Kays really live up to their motto, “The old-fashioned way is still the best way.”

Be sure to stop by and enjoy all that The Cove Bagel and Deli has to offer. Steve and Karen have made this more than a restaurant, they’ve made it part of the neighborhood. Until we eat again.

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Gimme A Burger

Posted on 05 September 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Becki Coffy

Hungry for a great burger? Have a hankering for a hot dog? Then be sure to stop by Gimme A Burger restaurant at 1200 E. Hillsboro Blvd. in Deerfield Beach. The easy access and ample parking make it a breeze to enjoy this restaurant. The first thing you notice when you enter is the bright white and orange (a nod to Syracuse) decor and how sparkling clean and neat everything is. Owners Yasmin and Serhad Oktay chose the color scheme, designed the interior and the menu and their daughter suggested the hungry wolf logo.

This family business offers more than just burgers. There is something for everyone. Of course the most popular item is the Hungry Wolf Burger, made with your choice of 12 free toppings or, for a small fee, you may select other toppings, such as caramelized onions, bacon, wasabi mayo, Tahini sauce and fried egg, to mention a few.

Gimme A Burger has delicious hand-cut french fries, sweet potato waffle fries and onion rings. I hate to admit it, but we tried all three and they were wonderful. The onion rings were light and crispy with real onion inside. French fries were served with the skin on – my favorite.

The menu offers burgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, chicken, soups, salads, fish and falafel. We decided to break from tradition and started with their soups. My husband chose the chili that was made with just a hint of heat as the spoonful of thick, hearty soup slipped to the back of your throat. I chose their signature cheese burger soup, which was rich and creamy, filled with meat and topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes. It was not what I was expecting and a wonderful surprise. Both soups are made fresh in-house. We moved to course No.2 and my husband chose the most popular item on the menu: the Hungry Wolf Burger. So much for breaking from tradition! The burger was big, very juicy and full of flavor. All burgers are made from 100 percent certified prime black angus beef.

To shake things up a bit, they offer four other burger types. The Buffalo Burger is made from ground bison meat, the Wow Burger is primeblack angus beef mixed with spicy dried Turkish sausage, the Gobbler is a fresh ground turkey patty served with cranberry mayo and the Mediterranean Burger is fresh ground beef infused with onions, garlic parsley, herbs and spices.

I decided to take Yasmin’s recommendation and ordered her favorite, the ‘Wazzup Grilled Fish Sandwich.’ It was marinated in a blend of special herbs and spices to punch up the flavor of this flakey white fish, topped with lettuce and tomato and finished with a wasabi mayo to add just a little kick to the sandwich.

Also on the menu are hot dogs and chili dogs served on a grilled bun. There are crispy chicken tenders, a ground beef quesadilla, a grilled chicken sandwich and for the vegetarian they offer a ‘red, red vegan’ stuffed pita sandwich and falafel in a pita with tahini sauce.

Their signature salad comes with mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, dried cranberries, walnuts, chick peas and greek olives. Garden salads are also available. Chicken, a burger patty, falafel or grilled fish may be added.

For dessert, try the cinnamon sugar puffs. Add a scoop of ice cream if you wish or order one of their homemade milk shakes.

Gimme a Burger also serves breakfast from 7 to 11a.m. The ‘Cluck and Moo’ sandwich is an egg and cheese muffin served panini style. The ‘Howling Gobbler’ is made with an egg, cheese and turkey sausage. The Timber- Wolf, a sandwich made with a burger, American cheese, hash browns and a fried egg, will keep you full until dinner.

As for me, I’ll be trying the Snow Wolf Bizkitz on my next trip. These fried biscuits are served warm with powdered sugar and a side of cream cheese or mixed berry jam. Could that sound any more delicious?

Indoor and outdoor seating is offered and online ordering will be available soon. Menu available at www.gimmeaburger.com or call 954-708-2553 to place order in advance. Easy access, plenty of parking, great menu choices and friendly service make Gimme A Burger the new place to try. Stop by the next time you are out. Until we eat again..

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Experience a tour of Italy at Antonio’s Ristoranté

Posted on 22 August 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Becki Coffy

If you are looking for authentic, wonderful Italian food, then look no further than Antonio’s Ristoranté in The Cove Shopping Center.

Owners Alex Poulous and Paul Ferorelli have created a little piece of Italy right here in Deerfield Beach.

As soon as my husband and I walked through the door, we were greeted with the tantalizing scents of tomato, basil, garlic and fresh bread. White tablecloths and soft colors invite you to sit and relax. Fried calamari,mussels and Calamari Antonio, Scungilli salad, mozzarella sticks and homemade soups are available to start your meal.

We chose to skip the appetizers and head straight for the entree. Before we ordered, we were served a big basket of fresh garlic rolls. The rolls can be ordered with or without garlic, but when in Rome … The rolls were soft, warm, tender and covered with fresh garlic and olive oil.

For his entrée, my husband tried the Chicken Dijon. This chicken dish is sautéed with mushrooms and artichoke hearts and served in a white wine and Dijon mustard sauce with cream. There are many other chicken dishes to choose from, including Chicken Marsala, Francese, Parmagiana and Cacciatore, to mention a few. His meal included either soup or salad and a side of pasta with red sauce.

He chose to start with the Pasta Fagioli soup that was thick with beans, pasta and a hearty broth. I began my meal with the garden salad. Creamy Garlic, an Italian vinaigrette and Creamy Romano dressings are available. I tried the Creamy Romano, and it was delicious.

Since Antonio’s is wellknown for its fresh fish, I decided to try one of the daily specials and ordered the Snapper Francese. The fish was tender, moist and lightly breaded and cooked in a fresh lemon, broth and cream sauce. To go with my snapper, I chose the broccoli sautéed with toasted fresh garlic and olive oil and could not have been happier. The garlic was crisp and complemented the vegetable perfectly. My partner selected the pasta with red sauce as his side. The homemade sauce was thick and rich and full of spices and tomatoes. It was a wonderful delicate sauce for his pasta.

Shrimp Scampi, Fra Diavolo and Armando (shrimp sautéed with scallions, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichoke hearts in a rose sauce) and Linguini with white or red clam sauce are just a few of the seafood dishes available. Of course, the traditional Lasagna, Ravioli and Ziti are always popular selections.

Antonio’s menu offers veal choices such as Veal Milanese, Marsala, Francese and Parmagiana.

Pasta dishes include pasta with garlic and oil, meatballs or sausage, or marinara sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo, Penne alla Vodka, Angel Hair Carbonara and more.

For a more casual dinner, you may order a Calzone or Stromboli or try one of their homemade or specialty pizzas.

There are daily specials that should not be missed. The night we dined at Antonio’s, we could choose from Snapper, Tilapia and Salmon. All fish may be ordered Francese or broiled.

Paul Ferorelli feels the secret to their wonderful cuisine is the consistency. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try their cheesecake or any of their traditional Italian desserts such as Cannoli, Tiramisu and Spumoni ice cream.

Be sure to give this restaurant a try the first chance you get. You will not be disappointed. Antonio’s has been part of the Deerfield Beach community for over 40 years. They also have FREE delivery.

Antonio’s is located at 1636 SE 3 Ct. in The Cove Shopping Center. For reservations, call 954-427-4871 or 954-427-9002.

For more information, including menu, visit www.antoniosdeerfieldbeach.com.

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Amato’s Italian Grill

Posted on 08 August 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Rachel Galvin

In the mood for Italian? Step into Amato’s Italian Grill, a perfect place for a romantic interlude or a family gathering. With Southern Italian flair, the chef cooks up everything from sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to favorites like linguini with red or white clam sauce, Mussels Marinara, Chicken Marsala, Veal Parmesean or Eggplant Rollatine. The meal begins with a generous helping of plain or garlic knots teeming with butter and garlic. The Bruschetta Italiana is an appetizer that will make your mouth water for more. Chopped tomatoes, red onions and basil set atop Italian bread saturated with balsamic vinegar and oil make for a crunchy start and a melt-in-your-mouth, slightly spicy finish. Looking for a milder beginner, try the can’tget- enough Pasta Fagioli, comfort food at its finest. For a light tasting entree that will fill you up and satiate your Italian craving, try the Chicken Francese. One of the more popular dishes, these thin egg-washed slices of tender chicken are pan sauteed in a lemony white wine sauce, made from fresh squeezed lemons. Of course, no dinner is complete without the finishing touch – a dessert. Try their tiramisu, made from scratch with espresso lady fingers, Kahlua, Marscapone cheese, almond cookie and other tasty ingredients. Presented with a criss-cross pattern of chocolate over the dusting of cookie on top, this tiramisu is thick and creamy and sits atop a bed of powdered sugar.

To quench your thirst, there is wine by the glass or carafe, or bring your own bottle ($15 corking fee). There also is domestic and imported beer, soda and San Pellegrino.

Owner Reyna Amato’s favorite dishes are the clams, the Fruta di Mare and Chicken Amato. All of her dishes are made with family recipes. She began her life in cooking at the age of 14 working with her parents at their pizzeria in New Jersey. Her family moved to the states from Palermo, Italy. She moved to Florida four years ago and opened Amato’s in 2010.

Everything is homemade,” she said. “It is economically-priced, but fresh and high quality. Nothing is pre-packaged. The pizza is made every day. We have New York and Sicilian style.”

She plans on bringing entertainment back. At one time, it was outside on the patio; now, she plans to make it more intimate, allowing a single guitarist to play inside at certain times. For now, Italian music plays in the background.

They have unbelievable specials here, such as their lunch special – half a sandwich, cup of soup/ salad and a slice of pizza for only $6.99. Thursday is seafood night. For under $10, you get your choice of a wide selection of fish or seafood with your choice of sauce. Their early bird special is buy one plus two beverages and get second entree for $1.99. Ask about other specials and look for coupons here in the Observer.

Amato’s Italian Grill is located at 1901 N. Federal Hwy., Unit #112B, in the Pompano Citi Centre, Pompano Beach, FL 33062. Open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m., they also do take-out and delivery. Call 954-582-9211. For more information, visit www.amatositaliangrill.com.

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Your Pie

Posted on 01 August 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Allison Newcombe

Last Saturday, I went to a new restaurant that arrived in Lighthouse Point a little over a month-and-a-half ago. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious their pizza was.

This is the first of its franchise to make it down this far south, most are located near where the first Your Pie restaurant originated in Athens, GA. It’s not like any pizza place you have been to before, as you walk down a line and select all your options. They have a wide range starting from what dough you would prefer (whole wheat, original, gluten free), to the cheese, sauce and veggies you want. On Mondays kids eat free with the purchase of an adult pizza. Tuesdays is BOGO (Buy one get one) pizza night and Happy Hour is every day from 5 to 7 p.m. They only use the best quality cheeses and make their own sauce and dressing daily from scratch. Employees who work at this restaurant are very polite, always putting the customer first. The place is spotlessly clean and the gelato is amazing! The best part about Your Pie is that they have options for every type of customer, such as gluten free. Besides pizza, they also have bread-bowl salads, paninis and desserts.

Your Pie is located at 3650 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point, FL 33064. They also deliver; call 954-532-1531.

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Heart Rock Sushi — 2nd anniversary

Posted on 25 April 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Becki Coffy

Anniversaries are always something special. They are a celebration filled with joy and the recognition of a very special occasion.

My son, Ben, and I had the good fortune of enjoying the second anniversary festivities at Heart Rock Sushi Japanese restaurant last Wednesday night. Heart Rock Sushi restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale has been run for over 20 years, by owner, Ann Yamusenor, and her son, Moose. They have done an outstanding job in providing Lighthouse Point with a wonderful local spot to enjoy fine food and great friends.

The beauty of the restaurant, decorated in earth tones with greenery and soft lighting, immediately relaxes you and sets the tone for the rest of the evening. Soft jazz music for the anniversary special enhanced the night. To the delight of the crowd, Miss Sunset Place Teen U.S.A. enchanted the room with classical Tai dancing.

Where to begin on this extensive menu is always a difficult decision. With 13 appetizers, 12 sushi bar appetizers, seven soups and six salads to choose from, it is no easy feat. Our waiter, Faizal, helped us navigate through the many choices.

He suggested we begin with the Chicken Satay, which was prepared in a light sauce of coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric and a hint of curry. The curry added just enough heat to keep the dish vibrant. It was served with a side of creamy peanut sauce (one of my personal favorites) and a light chopped cucumber, carrot and red onion salad in a sweet and tangy dressing. The combination of the cool salad with the curried chicken satay was a wonderful pairing.

For our second appetizer, we chose the Lobster Rangoon. The moment my son and I bit into this appetizer, we both agreed it was the best we’ve ever tasted. I’ve had Rangoon appetizers many times in my life and all were good, some great. But this dish topped them all. The delicately-fried shell, so crisp and light, seemed to melt in your mouth and the pop of flavor from the lobster and cream cheese filling was heavenly. I recommend this dish to anyone who dines at the Heart Rock.

My son has sampled many different sushi rolls from the Heart Rock, so our waiter suggested he try the Heart Rock signature roll for something different. It was a large roll stuffed with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and white fish. It was delightfully fresh and clean. We both enjoyed every bite of this delicacy.

For my selection, I chose the Monsoon Shrimp. This dish was served with a choice of soup or salad. The house salad came with a light ginger dressing and was very good. Large butterflied shrimp, marinated with oyster sauce and garlic, were served with snow pea pods, broccoli, carrots, squash and onion served in a sweet and spicy chili sauce. I ordered the dish mild and enjoyed the slight kick of heat that the chili sauce delivered.

We were just too full and too satisfied to order dessert. However, I can personally suggest the deep fried tempura banana and ice cream if you have any room left. What an indulgence!

The Heart Rock Sushi Restaurant, located at 4460 N. Federal Hwy. in Lighthouse Point, offers a happy hour Monday through Friday from 5-8 p.m. with several appetizers ranging from $3-$7. House drinks are $5.

Reservations can be made at 954-532-1763.

Until we eat again …

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Brew Dogs: Coney dogs & more

Posted on 11 April 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Rachel Galvin

Home of the Coney Island Hot Dog and Brew Burger, Brew Dogs is really starting to attract attention. Not only are there many hot dogs to choose from, but there are also burgers, chicken and other sandwiches, and even breakfast.

Their authentic Coney Dogs, like those made in Michigan (owner Steve Brewer’s home state), Ohio or Pennsylvania, bring flocks of hot dog fans. The hot dogs are made without beans, but plenty of cumin, Greek style. Brewer is testing out some new prototypes, including the Big Papi, a hot dog wrapped with swiss cheese, ham, pulled pork, mustard and pickles, and the Big Texan, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with BBQ pulled pork, jalapenos and cheddar cheese. Their juicy hamburgers are 50 percent beef brisket with Angus. Both hot dogs and burgers can be customized. Breakfast items range from a sandwich or burrito to assorted pastries or a bagel. A potato pancake, bacon and sausage are welcome sides. Entrées are under $8! They also have beverages, including miniature Copa de vino wines and beer. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday with $2.50 longneck beers and Copas.

Brew Dogs, at 131 NE 2 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Take-out available delivery to certain areas. For information call 754-333-8648 or visit www.brewdogs.net.

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Diners save by using loyalty card owned by Pompano Beach resident

Posted on 15 September 2012 by JimLusk

Looking for a place to dine in North Broward? It’s time to join FeedingFrenzee.com, a restaurant discount community and customer loyalty network which brings you events and deals from many local restaurants. Observer favorites (check out our reviews on our website) such as Hot Tomatoe, Galuppi’s and Spanx BBQ-The Hog have all partnered with FeedingFrenzee.com. The new Lighthouse Kitchen in Shoppes of Beacon Light is offering buy one get one free on crepes with your FeedingFrenzee card (get it for free at the restaurants or sign up online at FeedingFrenzee.com). Dandee Donut’s in Pompano Beach is giving 5% off if you show the card.

Diners can join the FeedingFrenzee.com community for free and get a discount card that entitles them to benefits at all restaurants in the FeedingFrenzee community. For example, dine at Galuppi’s and buy one entrée, get the second one 50% off with your card or use in Deerfield Beach at Café Med by Bice for 15% off. Amasianing in Lighthouse Point is offering free soup or eggroll with lunch/free glass of wine with dinner if you use the card.

Owned by Tinka Hooper, a Pompano Beach resident, FeedingFrenzee was started as a way to help local restaurants increase exposure to local residents and also to help them build a regular loyal following through the discount card.

“Diners love the card because they are saving at great local restaurants,” said Hooper who, together with her team custom developed the software that sends out weekly updates to diners about specials and events in the local community. “It’s really important to support local businesses and this is one way to help them grow.”

Learn more or sign up for your FeedingFrenzee card at www.feedingfrenzee.com.

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Gimme A Burger

Posted on 29 March 2012 by L.Moore

By Becki Coffy

Hungry for a great burger? Have a hankering for a hot dog? Then be sure to stop by the newly opened Gimme A Burger restaurant at 1200 E. Hillsboro Blvd. in Deerfield Beach. The easy access and ample parking make it a breeze to enjoy this restaurant. The first thing you notice is the bright white and orange (a nod to Syracuse) decor and how sparkling clean and neat everything is. Owners Yasmin and Serhad Oktay chose the color scheme, designed the interior and the menu and their daughter suggested the hungry wolf logo. (see ad below.)

The most popular item is the hungry wolf burger, made with your choice of 12 free toppings. Or, for a small fee, you may select other toppings, such as caramelized onions, bacon, wasabi mayo, Tahini sauce and fried egg, to mention a few.

Gimme A Burger has delicious hand-cut french fries, sweet potato waffle fries and onion rings. I hate to admit it, but we tried all three and they were wonderful. The onion rings were light and crispy with real onion inside. French fries were served with the skin on – my favorite.

My husband chose the chili made with just a hint of heat as the spoonful of thick, hearty soup slipped to the back of your throat. I chose their signature cheese burger soup, rich and creamy, filled with meat and topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Both soups are made fresh in-house. We moved to course No.2 and my husband chose the hungry wolf burger. The burger was big, very juicy and full of flavor. All burgers are made from 100 percent certified prime black angus beef.

To shake things up a bit, they offer four other burger types. The buffalo burger is made from ground bison meat, the wow burger is prime black angus beef mixed with spicy dried Turkish sausage, the gobbler is a fresh ground turkey patty served with cranberry mayo, and the mediterranean burger is fresh ground beef infused with onions, garlic parsley, herbs and spices.

I decided to take Yasmin’s recommendation and ordered her favorite, the ‘wazzup grilled fish sandwich.’  It was marinated in a blend of special herbs and spices to punch up the flavor of this flakey white fish, topped with lettuce and tomato and finished with a wasabi mayo to add just a little kick.

Also on the menu are hot dogs and chili dogs served on a grilled bun.  There are crispy chicken tenders, a ground beef quesadilla, a grilled chicken sandwich and for the vegetarian, a ‘red, red vegan’ stuffed pita sandwich and falafel in a pita with tahini sauce.

Their signature salad comes with mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, dried cranberries, walnuts, chick peas and greek olives. Garden salads are also available. Chicken, a burger patty, falafel or grilled fish may be added.

For dessert, try the cinnamon sugar puffs. Add a scoop of ice cream if you wish or order one of their homemade milk shakes.

Gimme a Burger recently began serving breakfast from 7 to 11a.m. The ‘cluck and moo’ sandwich is an egg and cheese muffin served panini style. The ‘howling’ gobbler’ is made with an egg, cheese and turkey sausage. The Timberwolf, a sandwich made with a burger, American cheese, hash browns and a fried egg, will keep you full until dinner.

As for me, I’ll be trying the Snow Wolf Bizkitz on my next trip. These fried biscuits are served warm with powdered sugar and a side of cream cheese or mixed berry jam. Could that sound any more delicious?

Indoor and outdoor seating is offered and online ordering will be available soon. Menu available at www.gimmeaburger.com or call 954-708-2553 to place order in advance. Stop by the next time you are out. Until we eat again…

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Heart Rock Sushi

Posted on 01 March 2012 by L.Moore

Bai roll – tuna, avacado & more / Asian pear martini

By Becki Coffy

There is something very special about sharing an evening out alone with one of your grown children. It’s a time to relax, catch up and enjoy each other again. I had the pleasure of dining out with my son, Tim, last week.

Since he is an ardent devotee of sushi and I am a novice eager to learn how to fully appreciate this delicate style of food, he chose the Heart Rock Sushi restaurant in Lighthouse Point to further my education.

Although this eatery has only been open for nine months, the owner, Ann Yamusenor, and her son, Moose, are no strangers to the business. Their Heart Rock Sushi restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale has been open for 20 years.

Moose was responsible for designing the menu style and the interior space of the Lighthouse Point establishment while Ann, head chef for the restaurant, was responsible for creating the extensive menu choices.

The ambience is one of total tranquility. Soft lighting, earth tones in shades of cream leather, brown flat rock and green plants instantly transform you to a relaxed state of being. The beauty of the space only added to the wonderful experience of the evening.

Since the menu is so wide-ranging, we decided to rely on the advice of the Chef, Ann, and allow her to make some selections for us. Our waiter, Faizal, was a wonderful guide for the evening and explained the dishes completely.

We began our journey with an incredible icy cold Asian pear martini made with fresh fruit and lemon peel. The clean subtle flavor of this unusual cocktail was delightful. You really must try this when you visit.

The shrimp dumpling appetizer, filled with a rich center and deep fried to a golden crispness, was an explosion of flavor … crisp, yet light. I found myself going back for more and more, and it will definitely be a staple on my next visit.

Next, Faizal served us the Bai roll that was filled with tuna, kani, roe, avocado and scallions all rolled in a thin slice of crunchy cucumber, topped with sesame seeds and served with a miso sauce, a wonderful start to my newly-found appreciation of sushi.

For our main entrée, we chose the grouper lightly-breaded and finished in rich, velvet smooth lemon butter sauce with the slightest hint of heat. The fish literally melted in your mouth.

We also shared a dish of Pad Thai shrimp served with stir-fry noodles, egg, bean sprouts, scallions and topped with crushed peanuts. The large shrimp were cooked to perfection and the crushed peanuts added the flavor punch that made the dish irresistible.

Finally, Faizal brought us something called the ‘first love lover’ roll. This dish was an enigma. It consisted of hot shrimp tempura, cool eel and cucumber wrapped in white rice, topped with fresh tuna and sprinkled with roe and crunchy tempura flakes. It was served with fresh ginger, wasabi, a spicy mayo and eel sauce. I finally realized what I had been missing all this time.

Just when we thought we couldn’t devour another bite, Chef Ann brought over their fried banana dessert. The creamy banana concoction was deep fried in a delicate spring roll and served warm with green tea and coconut ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It was a little glimpse of nirvana.

The Heart Rock Sushi Japanese Restaurant is located at 4460 N. Federal Hwy. in Lighthouse Point. Reservations can be made at 954-532-1763.

Not only is the atmosphere delightful and the food delicious, but The Heart Rock Sushi offers a happy hour daily from 3 to 7 p.m. that is not to be missed. Drinks and sushi rolls for $5 and entrees for $7 are all included in the happy hour.

What a great place to unwind and relax after a day at work or to treat friends and family to something really special! Put this one on your bucket list, you will be so glad you did. Until we eat again…

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