dba Cafe Ft. Lauderdale
Had dinner last night at the new dba Cafe in the Whole Foods center on Federal Highway. It was fairly quiet by the time we got there - 8:45 pm- so we had a lot attention paid to us. Very friendly, knowledgeable staff who seemed to be well trained. Bartender/manager Brendan had an impressive knowledge of the wine list. We tasted a Malbec and also a really nice Bordeaux. Decor is a little kitschy - raw wood tables, exposed brick walls, Tiffany lamp mixed with what looked like leftover jam jars turned light fixtures all mix together but there doesn't seem to be a cohesive theme.
We started with a half order of clams served with tasso that was very flavorful and the tomato broth was extremely well seasoned. The tasso was a nice change to the dish that is often made with Chorizo. Nicely balanced. Then a salad of Endive, Radicchio and Arugula with a light vinaigrette that was good but I would have wanted it to have a bit more umph to the vinaigrette - it was a bit on the bland side. The greens (reds and white too) were very fresh and crisp and had a good taste. The final dish we had was onion crusted snapper with saffron vanilla beurre blanc, mushroom risotto and spinach. As requested, the fish was perfectly done and not overcooked however, the vanilla beurre blanc was too overpowering for the delicate fish. Risotto was delicious.
The beauty of the menu is that you can order a half portion of everything which makes for tasting many more items as well as being kind to the budget. Portions were very generous even in the half portion size. This is, after all, South Florida!
Will definitely return again as we think there is something good going on here . We met and chatted with Chef Steven Zobel who seems really dedicated to producing good things from his kitchen.