Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Restaurant Review: Market 17 (Ft. Lauderdale)

Market 17
When I first arrived to Ft. Lauderdale, while in the taxi headed for our resort, I noticed a restaurant by the name of Market 17.  It looked like a quaint little place and there was a sign saying it had just opened in October.  In DC, I always love trying places within the first few weeks of their opening so I jumped at the opportunity of trying this new restaurant.

Later that evening, I Googled them and was glad to see they had a clean, fully-functioning website, which seems to be rare among newer restaurants for some reason.  Since, I'd already made reservations that evening for YOLO, I decided to schedule something for the next day.

We arrived around 8:00PM to a scene that was the total opposite of YOLO the night before.   It was very low-key, not at all crowded.

Within moments of being seated we were warmly greeted by our waiter.  He explained to us that the restaurant was based on a "farm to table" concept which meant they dealt with local farmers for everything from the vegetables to chicken, beef, fish, etc.  There were so many options, and each of them was paired with an interesting selection of ingredients which made the decision even harder.

I would have to say I was most surprised by their extensive wine list, they have over 350 different varieties.  I really liked the fact they offered their wine by the glass in 1/2 glasses which made it extremely affordable  to try out a few, my first glass was only $4.50 which is unheard of in DC, even during happy hour.

When it was time to order our waiter came over and I still had no idea what to choose since everything on the menu looked so yummy.  I ended up starting with ceviche, because I  love it and when I read that was custom-made, I knew it was something I had to try.  What an experience! The snapper and shrimp I chose were so fresh, they could've been caught that same day and I wouldn't have been surprised.  The other ingredients created such an excitement in my mouth, I ohhed and ahhed the entire time.  I can still taste it.

I ended up ordering the chicken breast with potato risotto, mushrooms, onions, walnuts and a sherry vinegar pan sauce.  When it came out I didn't even want to touch it.  I have a thing for meals that are nicely plated.  When I took my first bite of the chicken and risotto, it tasted as beautiful as it looked.  It was tender, juicy and seasoned to perfection.  My coworker had the poached Maine lobster served in a rich basil and cream sauce with collard greens.  I took a small bite of her lobster and I'd have to say it was amazing.

Lastly, I was full but had to try some dessert.  They had chocolate cake on the menu and it came highly recommended by our server so of course I had to try it.  Like the other dishes the dessert came out so beautifully plated I didn't know where to start.  The cake was coated with a cylindrical layer of milk chocolate, topped with cream and chocolate shavings.  That dessert was so good, I could have easily demolished the entire thing but I was so full, I settled for eating the cake but leaving the chocolate coating.  Our server commented on it but I was find with it, it was just enough to keep me satisfied.

After dinner our server gave us a tour of their "Dining in the Dark" room a concept that apparently is big in Europe and has a small following of restaurants in LA and South Beach (Miami).  It was a small glass enclosed room with large, curtains to keep all light out.  Those who dine in the room as seated at one of the 3 tables and serves from a tasting menu.  The trick to it is you eat completely in the dark which is supposed to heighten your sense of taste.  I need to check around and see if they have any places like that in the DC area because it's definitely something I'd love to try.

Although I don't live in Ft. Lauderdale, I have a feeling Market 17 could definitely be one of the city's Hidden Gems.  The food was amazing and the service could not have been better.  Hopefully, I'll make it back down that way soon!

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