M Bar Las Olas – Ft. Lauderdale {CLOSED}

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.)

Red & Yellow Local Beets

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.

Spicy Tuna Tartare

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.

Beef Slider & House Cut Fries

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.

Onion Ring

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…

Braised Kobe Short Ribs

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.

Fried Grouper Taco

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.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream & Berries

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.

M Bar
1301 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954.766.4946
M Bar on Urbanspoon
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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.

Johnson & Wales Edible Pathway : Farm to Plate Sustainability being taught locally

Go ahead, pick me: Edible Landscape at Johnson & Wales

Johnson & Wales University North Miami campus just got a whole lot greener with the introduction of their edible pathway. This unique concept surrounds pathways that span the entire circumference of the main campus buildings with herbs, fruit, and vegetables. Students, faculty, and visitors are encouraged to pick and taste test any of the abundant vegetation, (talk about eating on the run!). Future plans to grow this concept include the addition of new plants and a greenhouse. According to Bruce Ozga, Dean of Culinary Arts Education, “This initiative for an edible landscape began to stress the importance of local farming, the value of the “farm to plate” process and the impact that freshness has on taste and quality when cooking.”  Johnson & Wales Culinary Arts students are receiving a hands-on education in sustainability complete with learning vital information about the different plants and vegetation, how they are nourished, grow, and how to transform them into masterful dishes in the kitchen.

Speaking of transformation… Here are a few dishes from the Johnson & Wales kitchen, provided by Chef Ruch, utilizing the bounty from their very own campus.

Vegetable Gazpacho
(Click here to download the recipe)

Roasted Corn Succotash Scallops in a Lemongrass Sauce with Peruvian Potatoes 
(Click here to download the recipe)
 
Gruyere Cheese Souffle with Port Wine Sauce and Macadamia Nuts
(Click here to download the recipe)

 Johnson & Wales University
1701 NE 127th Street
North Miami, Florida 33181
1-800-DIAL-JWU

New Restaurants Around Town

Steakhouses to Sustainable : South Florida Restaurant Openings

Texas De Brazil is opening their fourth location in Fort Lauderdale on June 29th. The 9,200 square foot restaurant will offer an extensive menu of grilled meats, including seasoned cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and Brazilian sausage, all prepared in the traditional Brazilian method over an open flame and carved table-side.  The restaurant also features a  40-60 item fresh salad bar area, which includes appetizers, homemade soups and dressings and an assortment of gourmet cheeses.  For more information or to make a reservation click here.

Texas De Brazil, 2457 East Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale


Max’s Harvest
, a farm-to-fork concept recently opened in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove district serving American fare in a comfortable and contemporary setting. The menu includes, Free Range Deviled Eggs with Chives and Truffle Sea Salt ($14), Pan Roasted Poulet Rouge Chicken ($23) and Cedar Key Clams and Florida Shrimp plus more naturally delicious dishes. The restaurant offers a small outdoor patio, perfect for intimate get-togethers. Max’s Harvest will be open from 5pm to 10pm Monday through Thursday,  5pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday and 4pm–9pm on Sunday. For more information call 561-381-9970

Max’s Harvest, 169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach

DIG (Doing It Green) is an Eco-conscious restaurant  in Delray Beach serving big flavors with a small footprint. The entirely organic menu includes grass-fed chicken and beef, wild seafood,  a huge salad bar plus an organic juice bar and organic wine and beer. One of the coolest parts of this restaurant is the table side humus!  DIG will be open from 11am to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am to 2am on Friday and Saturday. For more information or to make reservations, call 561-638-0500.

Dig, 5199 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach                                                                                                                             

CG Burgers recently opened in Coral Springs with an additional location set to open soon in Fort Lauderdale. The casual fast food restaurant serves burgers, french fries (potato and zucchini), roasted wings, milk shakes, and sandwiches. If you are looking for a lighter option, they also have a salad bar. CG Burgers is open 7-days a week, 11am to 10pm.

CG Burger, 4320 N. State Road 7, Coral Springs