Hot and Soul-Fort Lauderdale
Had brunch at this new place today...Very unusual and well prepared food, most pleasant staff. My husband had excellent pork cheeks with dirty rice and I had polenta cakes with kumquat syrup, ricotta and cashew brittle. I was worried that this dish would be overly sweet, but it was delicious! Coffee is French press...Excellent and a very nice touch. The restaurant is owned by a couple of chefs who spent a good deal of time in New Orleans, and it shows. Can't wait to go back and try dinner!
I'll post more later. But a big +1 on this place.
Went last night and it was terrific. Great dark-roux gumbo, black squid ink pappardelle with shrimp and sausage, a braised pork shank... nice salad, terrific dessert. Quirk fun décor and staff, professional but not taking themselves too seriously.
These folks definitely have a clue and this IMO instantly becomes some of the most interesting food in Fort Laud.
This is one of those places, if I lived close, I'd probably eat here every day for the next 2 weeks.
Indeed, chef has worked at Delmonico in NOLA among others... He and his wife have a great story...
"Hot & Soul is a restaurant 16 years in the making. Since we packed our bags in Boston and moved to New Orleans, our goal had been to one day own our own restaurant. Over the years, we've learned how to cook the classics, new techniques and everything in between. In New Orleans we learned about tradition, spice and bold flavors. When we moved to San Diego, we learned about craft beer, fresh ingredients, ethnic cooking, and sourcing from small farms and fisherman. Here in South Florida, we see the emergence of the burger bars, the gastropubs, craft breweries and comfort food made with quality ingredients.
"All along, we've found little mom and pop restaurants, where the owners cook and serve the food, and you can taste the care taken to make it. We wanted to create that kind of small restaurant feel. We've merged our desires for the kind of restaurant we would like to go to, as well as the kind of restaurant that we would like to work in. We hope you will come and appreciate our vision!
"Our menu is comprised of the food and flavors that we have grown up with, discovered and fell in love with. We have Filipino chicken adobo, Louisiana gumbo, oxtail gnocchi as well a few vegetarian items such as soba noodle salad and vegan coconut polenta with mushroom gravy."
On the one hand I am happy that Mike and Christy are getting the accolades and attention that they very much deserve. They were friendly and enthusiastic from the first time my wife and I visited. The atmosphere is so comfortable that we ended up making friends (and plans to meet up) with the couple at the table next to us.
Then on the other hand there is the food…food that made me want to keep this place all to myself!
Our favorite starters are the house-made country pate with pickles, homemade mustard and mango paste, or the richly decadent mushroom manchego toast, daily specials we loved were the grilled octopus with potatoes & paprika, or fresh yellowtail snapper with braised baby bok choy, oyster mushrooms, jasmine rice & blood orange soy butter. Menu staples too are delicious, the perfectly tender grilled culotte steak with a fried egg and magical “steak sauce”, chicken adobe that tempted me to order seconds just to take some home for later, and, of course the "Gumbo Yumbo"!
My favorite dish thus far though has got to be the Gnaughty Gnocchi…feather-light gnocchi in a sauce of oxtail, san marzano tomatoes, basil, and pecorino. Perfection in a bowl!
With the combination of genuinely sincere owners, food that makes you roll your eyes at first taste, catchy and humorously named menu items, a great atmosphere and a superior beer list it’s no surprise that more and more people are finding out about Hot & Soul.
I popped in the other day for lunch and really enjoyed their gumbo. Very nice roux w/ duck and andouille. I also tried the Chicken adobo featuring a very tasty thigh.
I really want to get up there for brunch so I can try the pork cheek grillades.
Thanks for the tip. A couple of us tried it yesterday for brunch. Excellent. Two gumbos, one with duck confit and andouille and one with pig cheeks. Spicy, lovely flavors that kept unveiling themselves. For the quality of the cooking, cheap.
Was lucky enough to go to a private tasting dinner here Thursday night - wow. Good news though is that many or all of these will stay on the menu, I am told.
If you have not been, you can look forward to, for example...
*Tropical fruit salad with Sai Oua (thai sausage), and sweet and spicy chile sauce.
*Wahoo tiradito with lime, cucumber, cilantro, passionfruit infused olive oil, and pink salt.
*Roast pork ti malice (onion, sweet & hot peppers, citrus & vinegar) with sweet potato-plantain puree.
*Curry beef with dum aloo, sweet and sour cabbage.
*Waffle cone with banana custard, crushed peanuts, coconut, and "magic shell".
Hot & Soul is not really a "New Orleans" place and never has been.
They've worked there, and there's often a good amount of Nawlins influence.
But the food is all over the map.
Christy is Filipino, so there's a lot of that influence. There's also good deal of Indian type stuff on a regular basis.
If you look at their website, which is a pleasure to read (all four sections) you'll see they bill themselves as "International Cuisine".
They do Sunday brunch, so you can also check that out.
It's often scary going back to a favorite restaurant when you've not been for a while. Have they grown complacent? Changed chef or staff? Lost interest or passion?
I didn't need to have any fears when I returned to Hot and Soul last night. I'd say I've dined here seven or eight times since they opened a year and a half ago, and this visit was the best.
Every one of our dishes was terrific, here are just 3 of the highlights (with photos):
*House-Smoked Pastrami with House Sculpin-Mustard, Duck-Fat Confit Garlic, Peppers Jam, Pickles and Warmed Bread. This was Mike's first try at pastrami ("my new baby") and I would say he's off to a tremendous start.
*Lemongrass-Marinated Quail and Thai Banana Blossom Salad over Jasmine Rice. Photo doesn't do it justice. Great dish - and the salad was so killer, we later ordered another one to take home.
*Shrimp, Crab and Oyster Gumbo with Andouille and “Secret Roux-Caramelized Trinity”. If you visit Hot and Soul, you've absolutely got to make Gumbo, Jambalaya or BBQ Shrimp part of your meal. There's always at least one of these on the menu.
Note, these were each Specials. They may have some left for lunch or dinner today (Friday), if you are in the area.
Nice article on Hot & Soul from Laine Doss today...
"Hot & Soul Is a Labor of Love for Husband and Wife Chef-Owners"
"The food's good, and the vibe's good. We're not getting rich, but we have sort of a cult following. We don't really know anything about marketing. We just do what we do and hope people will connect with it. On most levels, we're not doing it for the money; we're dead passionate about what we do."