1823 E. Commercial, Fort Lauderdale
The fastest growing trend in fast casual dining is the bowl-based meal, featuring a choice of grains or green for a base, various veggies and a protein. The latest entry into the super bowl competition is the best yet. Thoughtful consideration of the fine details is what sets Bowlicious apart. Paying attention to the small details, such as using gluten-free soy sauce, having a chef-driven menu featuring locally sourced fresh-pressed juices and organic sodas, as well as well-trained folks working the line makes all the difference.
What sets Bowlicious apart from places with similar concepts? Let’s start from the bottom up. The base, both the regular $7.99 and large $10.99, includes a choice of two. While the mixed greens are your basic blend, the kale-spinach salad gets a pop of brightness from sliced strawberries. The quinoa is enlivened with notes of citrus and champagne and a Peruvian favorite, cilantro basmati rice adds a nice freshness. Only the sweet potato noodles disappoint, adding neither the spice expected or a nice chewiness. I suspect our batch was a bit undercooked.
Veggie options include several vegan-friendly selections such as; crispy pieces of cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes, glazed mushrooms, rosemary garlic broccoli, spicy Asian green beans, balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts and one non-vegan option, Moroccan cauliflower, lightly coated in yogurt before being roasted for a rich, deep flavor. The proteins available are all top notch. Peruvian grilled chicken is by far the star dish, followed closely behind by Carolina-style pulled pork, grilled sirloin (as good as you’ll get at a steak house) and ahi tuna poke (the last two of which will add a couple of bucks to your tab). Ginger chicken and Szechuan tofu round out the delicious toppers for those looking for a little more kick to their dish. Sauce selections range from a spicy three pepper blend to sweet ginger or creamy basil-spinach pesto.
There are a few add-ons including beet salad, a yummy pineapple-infused slaw, marinated grape tomatoes and sliced avocado. While they are all delicious, none are really necessary to complete your dish. To accompany your meal there are a few beverage options, all prepared from organic products. There are bottled cold-pressed juices as well as fountain-dispensed organic carbonated sodas, made from cane sugar, with the expected flavors (cola, root beer and ginger beer) as well as more exotic offerings (cucumber, coconut and blood orange).
6312 North Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale
200 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Since I last reported on Beehive Kitchen, it has opened a second location in the heart of downtown. The format remains the same; build a bowl, starting with a base of rice, grains or greens (or a combination of any two) adding veggies, a protein and a sauce. The small bowl, priced at $7.95 offers a choice of one veggie and one protein, while the larger bowl, priced at $9.95, offers two veggies and two proteins to the base, with steak and tuna poke adding a couple bucks to the total bill. Beehive gets points for its innovative protein options, including sesame-citrus tofu, almond crusted chicken and numerous gluten-free options.
4 Locations in Miami area
Diced follows a format similar to Beehive Kitchen and Bowlicious, but also offers the option of having your meal as a wrap. The base is a choice of a combo of rice and beans or over greens as a salad. The protein options are rather limited (chicken, steak, tuna) and the veggies are fairly plain, meaning not augmented with sauces or spices, which may be an enticement for more finicky eaters. There is only one size option, priced at $7.49 for chicken or tuna, a buck more for steak, quinoa is also a buck extra. A heavy hand with the numerous sauce and cheese options makes it easy to veer away from the healthy aspect of the menu. Diced also offers several smoothie choices.
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Recently Restaurant News listed its “Next Gen” of restaurant chains. These are places that are either new entries and/or feature a fast-growing market. If you haven’t seen these brands yet, you will be soon. The top 10 restaurants range from snack providers and fast casual dining to sports bars and mid-level sit-down establishments. They are: Wetzel's Pretzels, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Golden Chick, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Duffy's Sports Grill (locally based in Palm Beach County), True Food Kitchen, BurgerFi, 54th Street Grill & Bar, Del Frisco's Grille and Eddie V's Prime Seafood.
Football season is here, and The Balcony, 1309 E Las Olas Blvd., has specials for the season – so get your pom poms ready! Since nothing goes with football quite like ice-cold beer, they’re offering beer bucket specials (each with five chilled bottles) including; Bud Light Buckets for $16 and either Heineken/Heineken Light or Corona/Corona Light for $25. Fans will also be able to enjoy wings (8), flatbreads and sliders (3) for $10. The specials are available Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Games will be played on the TVs on both levels.
Rather than spending the High Holidays in the kitchen, celebrate Rosh Hashanah dinner and the Yom Kippur breakfast with family and friends and let TooJay’s, with 28 restaurants throughout Florida, do the cooking. Multiple dine-in seatings are offered for Rosh Hashanah, which begins Sunday evening, September 9 (reservations are required). Pick-up orders may be placed in advance for Rosh Hashanah dinner and Yom Kippur breakfast, which is Wednesday evening, September 19. The Rosh Hashanah menu includes baked cod with potato stuffing and emerald sauce; grilled London broil; lean and tender brisket; and herb roasted chicken. All dine-in entrees include a glass of kosher wine, made-from-scratch matzo ball soup, gefilte fish or chopped liver, carrot tsimmes, mini potato pancakes, coffee or tea and a holiday dessert. For the classic Yom Kippur breakfast, TooJay’s offers platters of sliced Nova, smoked whitefish, baked salmon, whitefish salad, bagels and accompaniments. Blintzes and other holiday favorites are also available.