BA Argentinean Bistro
2881 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-533-2013, BA-Bistro.com
You probably don't have to guess. Yes, BA stands for Buenos Aires.
And BA now reigns in this spot — in the ambience, cuisine and hometown of owner and wine sommelier Tomas Trabucco — no longer the Bouillabaisse French Bistro.
Black-and-white photos of Buenos Aires frame the intimate space with black leather chairs and leather banquette, white linens, metallic starburst sconces, opaque pendant lights and a bar tiled in light terra-cotta, all punctuated by modern tango and Latin-inspired music.
"We are in the perfect location to embrace the neighboring businesses and residents in Fort Lauderdale," Trabucco said in a press release. He was general manager at the classy Paradiso Ristorante in Lake Worth. "Our food and wine menu will be reminiscent of the cultural heritage of Argentina with a modern approach and reasonable prices. "
Lunch, Tuesday through Friday, offers a mix of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees, such as prosciutto and fresh mozzarella panini ($9) and sauteed snapper ($14). Dinner highlights, among the multiple steaks and pastas served Tuesday through Sunday, are an empanada duo ($8), grilled sweetbreads ($9), blood sausage with chimichurri ($9), skirt steak ($24), porcini ravioli with shiitake sauce ($18) and pan-seared sesame tuna with ginger-soy sauce ($24).
1400 Glades Road, Boca Raton, 561-923-0847, ShakeShack.com
Sipping Stags' Leap cabernet or Gruet sparkling wine over cheese fries and a hot dog at a fast-food joint?
Yes, that's possible at the New York-based international chain that has unveiled its third Florida outpost — the first outside of Miami-Dade County — in a new triangular building at the east end of University Commons across from Florida Atlantic University.
The 80-seat covered patio is its largest in the country. The company aims to invoke the social feel of drive-ins from the 1950s and '60s, says Zachary Koff, vice president of operations.
The SmokeShack with bacon and cherry peppers ($6.30, single; $8.90, double) shines among the all-natural Angus burgers, and the fried portobello 'Shroom Burger with two cheeses ($6.95) is a tasty option for vegetarians. Five flat-top dogs ($3 to $4.40), shakes ($5.15 to $5.65), wines by the glass or half bottle, and craft beers round out the menu.
Frozen concretes ($4.25, small; $6.50, large) unique to this location are Mizner's Muse, vanilla custard with cheesecake blondie, strawberry, and cinnamon, and Burrowing Banana, a nod to FAU's burrowing-owl mascot with salted caramel banana-cream pie in chocolate custard. And 5 percent of sales from the Glades Donuts — glazed cake doughnut, peanut butter and chocolate toffee in vanilla custard — benefits the nearby Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
"It's one of the best things about opening each location, getting to be playful. The names are a call out to the locals," Koff says.
297 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, 561-353-5888, LifeTastesBetter.com
As this bohemian retreat approaches its first anniversary, the owners have rolled out weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along with sidewalk seating under a red awning. And a retro-style glass garage door has opened up the funky dining room.
The Baker rum cocktail with bananas, crunchy candied pecans, Frangelico and banana beer ($11) is the perfect pairing for banana brulee French toast with pickled blueberries ($13, add pork belly for $6). Other standouts are egg-white scramble ($12), a smoky pork belly Benedict with bacon-braised kale and chipotle hollandaise ($15), blackened shrimp and grits ($18) and inventive seared scallops with lump crab-sweet potato-apple hash ($19). Each weekend features a different mimosa, such as cayenne, ginger and mango ($7).
Other new cocktails include Jack's Link with bourbon, mesquite, tomato powder and sriracha ($11). "My thing is taking food flavors, such as glazing sauces, and blending them with liquor," general manager Brian Marcotte says of the drinks.