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Big City Tavern Review

Category : American, Pizza, Salads, Sandwiches

Big City Tavern - view from Las Olas BlvdBig City Tavern is one of dozens of restaurants lining the street of Las Olas Boulevard, just east of downtown Fort Lauderdale.  If you are visiting Fort Lauderdale and looking for a hotspot, this stretch of Las Olas Blvd would be one of the places you’d want to visit.  Exquisite shops and restaurants to match, Big City Tavern seems to fit right in.

For this review we stop by at lunch time during a perfect Florida day.  Looking for a seat with a view and great food is the mission.  Walking up to the restaurant you can see about a dozen tables that are technically outside, but under a canopy.  There door walls are open allowing the indoor tables to get a feel of the outside.  This reminds me of Little Italy in New York. :)

Pricing is a notch higher than typical restaurant in the area, but it fits right in for the restaurants in this particular stretch of Las Olas Blvd.  Most dishes start around $10 and go up.  Aesthetically, the restaurant is very pleasing with rich detail and warm colors.

Todd’s review of the Sirloin Gorgonzola Burger with Ceasar Salad

Big City Tavern - Gorgonzola burger and ceasar saladBrowsing the menu I was delighted to see a nice mix of entrees with several unique sounding items to try.  There was a bunch of pizza, salad and other specialty dishes, but me being me… I was in the mood for a mans lunch, so I chose the Sirloin Gorgonzola Burger.  It comes with a Caesar salad and burger condiments for $12.

When it arrived at the table it did look unique.  It is served open faced and the burger looks quite large.  It was literally the size of a tube of socks rolled up.  I wondered why it was this shape; but after cutting into it it was obvious.  The burger was rolled into this shape with the Gorgonzola cheese trapped on the inside prior to cooking.  It’s like a beef twinky, with Gorgonzola cheese instead of frosting.

It really is quite delicious.  The warm Gorgonzola cheese was smooth and rich and complimented the burger very well.  Though it came with onion, tomato and lettuce, this ‘burger’ didn’t need anything other than a knife and fork (and a little ketchup).  The Caesar salad however was a little lacking.  It seemed as if little effort went into this.  The salad was very light on dressing and therefor lacked flavor.  Perhaps 4 or 5 croutons were in included, otherwise it would almost literally be a handful of lettuce .  Perhaps ask for dressing on the side so you can add more to kick up the taste.

While the food scored some points, the service was lacking.  Our waiter forgot to give us silverware (when the food arrived we had to lean over to another table and get it ourselves), forgot that Brandon ordered a coke (never brough it) and had to be visually queued to refill our drinks.  I saw the owner/manager making his rounds to various tables to see how things were going, but ironically, he skipped “the reviewers” table twice, even after I made direct eye contact with him, inviting him to ask.  I find this amusing because here I am reviewing the restaurant and he just walks on by.  It was a nice touch though for the majority of patrons he did stop to greet.

The Big City Tavern has a executive/snooty feel to it with most of the people dining in being men in shirts and ties.  The view of Las Olas was excellent and the restaurant as a whole has a upper class feel and high end decorated look.  With several dished coming in between $10 and $15 I can recommend this place for a treat.

Todd’s score: 86/100
Pros:
Burger itself was delicious, very unique and of good size.  Ambiance was great. Nice outdoor seating options.
Cons: Ceasar salad was ho hum and the service was severely lacking. Some items on menu are expensive.

Brandon’s review of the Grilled Chicken Baguette with Mozzarella, Romesco Sauce and Fries

Big City Tavern - chicken sandwichI’ve eaten at Big City Tavern many times in the past but usually I order the special (generally a salmon dish) which is always very good. This time I decided to try something and went with the grilled chicken baguette with mozzarella and romesco sauce. I think it was the romesco sauce that piqued my curiosity – I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but that was quickly rectified by a quick search on Wikipedia via my iPhone. For those of you also unfamiliar with Romesco sauce, here is the description straight from Wikipedia:  “Romesco is a sauce originating in Tarragona, Catalonia, that is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyores – a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onion.”

When delivered, the sandwich looked quite appetizing and by the time it arrived I was quite hungry.  In general I am burnt out on sandwiches since that seems to be a frequently purchased item by myself and Todd given all the sandwich places in the Fort Lauderdale area. However I must say that this sandwich was quite delicious. It was a bit different given the Romesco and large, thick slices of mozzarella cheese. The chicken was grilled to perfection and it was all tied together nicely on a flavorful baguette. It took me a few bites to realize how much I was actually enjoying the sandwich and it wasn’t long before I had polished off the entire thing.

The accompanying french fries were also quite good (though not as good as those at Argentelle Cafe).  All in all it was a delicious lunch and I can’t really think of anything negative other than the subpar service as Todd described earlier.  Regardless, I will be here again and I will definitely be ordering up this sandwich!

Brandon’s score: 89/100
Pros:
Different but delicious chicken sandwich; Overall meal was very satisfying and atmosphere was quite pleasant.
Cons: Price is a bit high (compared to what we are used to) and service could have been better.

Big City Tavern - menu and a nice shadow of my iphone Big City Tavern - indoor seating with an outdoor view Big City Tavern - indoor dining area

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