Cero @St Regis (Lauderdale)
Good review today in the Newtimes. Has anyone tried it yet?
Toby Joseph is chef here; he comes by way of the St. Regis in Houston toting a long list of accolades, including a James Beard Award as one of the Top Hotel Chefs in America.
My wife and I live one block from the St. Regis and walk by the new hotel every day. We also are avid fans of BBC TV show Hotel Babylon about the inner workings of a 5 Star hotel in London (Channel 114 on Comcast). We were therefore curious about what we might expect from the restaurant in Broward County’s only 5 Star hotel. The Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention Bureau has organized a “Taste of Ft. Lauderdale” which includes a 3 course dinner for $35 per person for a five week period ending on Thursday, November 12, 2007. Tonight we put our formal dining apparel and walked to the St. Regis. As we approached the entrance two gentlemen uniformed in 5 Star Hotel garb opened the doors of the hotel for us and welcomed us to wonderful evening at the St. Regis.
There was grand ceremony when we made our reservations. They asked for our phone number and email so they could confirm (give me a break ... it is Monday for a 6pm reservation). When we arrived there was only one other couple in the restaurant but by the time we left at 7:30pm Cero was about 70% full.
Judging from the 7:30pm clientele it appeared that this is an expense account businessman’s restaurant. Most of the tables were occupied by men with ties and jackets but perhaps the hotel would have a more intimate couples atmosphere on a weekend.
There are about 30 indoor tables at Cero. The outdoor tables are directly on A1A so for locals the idea of listening to the rumble of cars and motorcycles during a quiet romantic dinner didn’t appeal to us. By the way, before I digress, a block away is Casablanca’s which has four tables on a balcony on the second floor … the best beachside view on Ft. Lauderdale Beach … and much quieter then the other Beach restaurants that are on street level. The tables on the beachside side of Ceros are on a marble floor and noise echoes throughout the restaurant. There is nothing intimate about the atmosphere. There are however, several cushioned booth tables on the west side of the restaurant. If we would eat there again that is where we would have chosen to be seated.
For our appetizer I ordered the Ahi Tuna and my wife ordered the Sweet Potato soup.
Both were great but the portions were shamefully small (3 pieces of tuna and soup ½ inch deep– see photos below). The Sweet Potato soup was the highlight of the culinary experience.
The Ahi Tuna appetizer on the lunch menu was $19 so these itty bitty pieces are not for those who have a big appetite and are on a budget.
For the main course I ordered the Pork Chop and my wife ordered the Seared Scallops.
The Pork Chop was a large portion and cooked perfectly. It is one of the few times I didn’t find this dish dry or overcooked. The Scallops were salty and tasted as if they were underdone. My wife shared a taste with me about 15 minutes after they were served and my scallop was cold.
Hey guys --- put some veggies and potatoes with this dish.
….I am getting lonely here
all alone! (see photo)
Tab with tip was $90 without wine or cocktails. Cheap if you are paying with Euros but this meal was not memorable in any way … and I would expect more from a 5 Star Hotel. Sometimes the view, the intimacy, the service or the price compensate for a mediocre meal. The staff was attentive and service was great but again, they only had two tables when they took our order.
For beachside dinning I prefer the view and atmosphere at Casablanca’s and for great food and value I like the Bonefish Grille.
Ventr4th, how can you even mention Bonefish and Cero in the same post?? You can't be serious. Cero is a sophisticated restaurant with an innovative menu. It should be noted that 3 of the 4 dishes you had are not on the regular menu. Additionally, you end your post by saying your meal was mediocre BUT earlier you stated that both appetizers "were great" and that the pork chop "was a large portion and cooked perfectly" Thus, you really liked 3 of 4 dishes. Not sure that qualifies as mediocre.
Anyway, we opted for the dine out menu tonight and it was good but not as great as the regular menu we had last time. Only one dish on the dine out meu is actually on the regular menu. Not sure why restaurants do that. That said we tried the scallops with truffle polenta again tonight and it was cooked and seasoned perfectly. Just a great dish. However, the squash risotto with truffles was just okay. The risotto was cooked correctly but lacked something. It's not on the regular menu though. The tuna sashimi with jalepeno gelee and wasabi rice foam was very good. The pancetta wrapped pumpkin swordfish was over salted for my taste. The key lime lolipops were great as were the nutella filled beignets off the regular menu. Looking forward to trying some more items on the regular menu. On a side note, the place was packed on a Tuesday night.
Finally made it over to Cero and it was excellent. It's expensive and probably a splurge/special occasion type place (for me) but the food and service were top notch. Only disappointment was that they were not doing the dine out "broward spice" deal this week because of the boat show which doesn't start until the 25th. The deal runs through Nov. 15th so there is still time to take advantage of it. It's a great deal and a must do. (Four app and entree choices, the menu is linked in my 8/7 post) I will be back before the 15th...
The seared diver scallops with corn polenta and white truffle oil was outstanding. ** it's on the dine out menu** The apps and dessert were also very good. I was drinking wine by the glass (several white and red choices) so I didn't really look at the wine list. I will next time.
1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
BEYOND fabulous food. This place is a foodie's delight. Luscious, buttery lobster bisque... marvelous butter poached lobster claw and tail, and the best rack of lamb I have ever had. carved and plated tableside, this dish was perfectly cooked, seasoned just right and came arranged over poached lavedar grapes and with a timbale of butternut squash... The deserts were wonderful as well. Pricey, but worth every cent. Arguably the best restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. 4 satrs in my book.
We were there last night (Monday) for my husband's b-day. As expected, for a MOnday off season, the restaurant was fairly empty. The food, from the amuse bouche through dessert was lovely and we thought the place was gorgeous. Unlike Debbie, we did not mind at all that the restaurant was in the lobby...It is actually at the end of a very quiet and beautiful lobby. The restaurant is physically very pretty. Service was impecable...We definitely look forward to returning! By the way, we both had fish, my husband started with the surf and turf tartare and I started with the gnocchi...A VERY enjoyable evening!
I ate there on Father's day. The place was completely empty. The restaurant is attractive but is open to the lobby, giving it a real "hotel" feeling. Sorry that I can't recall exactly what I ate except that it was some sort of fish. The food was not terrible but not at all memorable either. The service was slow and unpolished. I dined there with 3 other people and none of us would opt to return.