Jack Mancini‘s newest addition to Las Olas Blvd., M Bar, offers up global tapas, and larger plates as well in the farm-to-table sustainable spirit. What exactly are “global tapas”? Think small plates, meant to be shared that are influenced by a variety of cuisines including Mediterranean, Asian, Italian, and Middle Eastern. Tapas are a great way to try several different dishes without worrying about ordering too much, or convincing everyone at your table (and adjacent) to share, not that we’ve ever done that before…
I arrived (solo this time) to lunch at M Bar last week to sample their newly evolved menu. Mancini’s plan is to regularly switch out menu items as fresh ingredients are available. The lunch and dinner menu differ slightly, but there were still enough options to give me slight pause in ordering. Thankfully, the owner himself stopped by to say hello and was available to assist with selections. I ended up with the modified array below. (As I was dining alone I received smaller portions of more items to taste test, which made it just about the best. lunch. ever. I’m all about the options.)
Arriving first was the Red & Yellow Local Beets. They came with fresh arugula, chilled raspberry “caviar” (I just learned this term from Chef Rachelle when I was raving about these beets the other day, thanks! Apparently it takes a high level of skill to pull off, so I was dutifully impressed.), and a tasty hazelnut vinaigrette that included small candied hazelnut bits. The crisp cold bite of the raspberry pearls was such an unexpected treat. A bright, beautiful start to my tapas tasting.
Next, I dove into the Spicy Tuna Tartare. The tuna is seasoned with a sriracha aioli for a mild kick and sits atop thin slivers of cucumbers. The wonton crisps and sesame seeds are not only decoration, but provide a contrasting crunch to the velvety tuna. This item from the small plates section is the perfect size to share, and a customer favorite.
Sometimes you just crave a good old fashioned burger and fries. M Bar’s eclectic menu has you covered, featuring three full size burgers or a Trio of Beef Sliders (one pictured above). All are paired with their always crisp house-cut Kennebec fries, which are made fresh daily. The sliders include tomato, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and pickles. The grilled mini brioche bun (from a local bakery) was what really elevated this burger. The sliders can be purchased separately if you crave variety as well.
Looking for another accompaniment to your burger? How about a gigantic Onion Ring? These come oversized (and typically more than one to an order on the small plates section), encrusted in Lay’s potato chips with a slight seasoning. The onions themselves are massive and thickly cut. Slightly sweet onions + slightly salty chips + rich buttermilk aioli dipping sauce, this has the makings to be one addictive dish. My only minor disappointment was that they lacked a bit of spice, if only I had my trusty Lazano sauce in my purse…
I’m convinced no restaurant opens in SoFL without the “cut of the moment”, so enter M Bar’s Braised Kobe Short Ribs. These stand out due to their perfect sear, propensity to fall apart when prodded with your fork, and delicious, rich dark chocolate stout reduction. Mmmmm…. If I could bottle that sauce I swear I would cover everything with it. The short ribs, featured as a medium plate, are served with a generous mound of creamy truffled polenta, with a nod to an upscale roast beef and mashed potatoes.
The grand finale (or so I thought) was the Fried Grouper Taco. These typically arrive three to an order on the medium plate section. Comprised of perfectly seasoned, lightly fried grouper, tangy chipolte cabbage slaw, salsa verde and a few dollops of lime creme fraiche, these swiftly ousted my existing favorite fish taco. I’d highly recommend you adding these to your order, you can thank me later.
My meal ended with a sweet surprise sampling of M Bar’s liquid nitrogen (oh how cool, literally!) Ice Cream and fresh berries. The assortment included: vanilla pistachio semifreddo, peanut butter ice cream, and vanilla ice cream, with fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. As full as I was, this FOTF girl is physically unable to pass up dessert, especially ice cream. I’m glad I gave them a try (ok, ok…. I finished them) because they were heavenly. The semifreddo was my favorite. It was incredibly creamy and rich. I can’t wait to go back and try their full dessert which incorporates chocolate cake.
Overall: The food was fantastic and service staff very knowledgable (and passionate) both about their menu items and the preparation it takes to make them. I’ll definitely be back, next time with my friends.
To stop by yourself, M Bar is open for lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night drinks seven days a week. Hours: 11:30am – 11pm Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 am – Midnight Friday & Saturday. Parking is available behind the building and on Las Olas and 13th Avenue.
1301 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Current specials: (Check their Facebook Page for changes)
“M Bar Lunch Trio” – choice of any two Small Plates, a Flatbread or Individual Pizza and a Domestic Beer for $18 – from now through end of Sept.
Ladies Night on Thursdays – From 7-10 pm premium well, house wine and Stella Artois draft are priced at $3 as well as select global tapas
Happy Hour – From 5-7 pm, Mon. thru Thurs. and 4-7 pm on Fri. Select wines, drafts, bottle beer and premium well for half price.