Chicken-fried bacon and waffles

Spiced watermelon is a chilling foil in chicken-fried bacon and waffles with honey hot sauce at Swine Southern Table & Bar in Coral Gables. (Benjamin Rusnak/Courtesy / March 30, 2013)

What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.

Butcher & the Burger, Dandelion Grill

Town Center at Boca Raton mall, 6000 Glades Road, Boca Raton, 561-416-5554 for both; ButcherAndTheBurger.com, DandelionGrill.com

Butcher & the Burger and Dandelion Grill, owned by the same company, are the latest pieces in upgrading the mall's food court branded as The Cafes at Boca.


Photos: Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade

"Our goal is to elevate traditional food-court cuisine," says Joseph Arnold, co-owner of both eateries. "By taking multiple adjoining stalls, we can combine the back of the house, thus reducing our cost which can then be passed on to the customer in healthy, culinary-driven fare using local, sustainable and organic ingredients when possible."

Butcher & the Burger, inspired by an old-fashioned butcher shop, offers non-traditional burger choices, such as a Key West shrimp ($10.50) and bison ($13.50) in different buns or as wraps. They can also be tailored with spices such as curry-coconut-honey, and toppings such as organic duck egg ($2) and truffle mayo ($1). Linger over Cafe du Monde coffee ($1.95) and beignets ($1 each).

Mediterranean signatures at Dandelion Grill are kebabs of prime steak, chicken, fish of the day or lamb with tzatziki ($7.25 to $9) and Greek salad with grilled chicken ($8.50).

Red, The Steakhouse

Wyndham Garden Hotel, 1901 North Military Road, Boca Raton, 561-353-9139, RedTheSteakhouse.com

This sleek steakhouse that feels like a wine cellar has introduced its spring selections and a matinee menu.

"I've been waiting for the spring. It's so fun!" says chef de cuisine Jarod Higgins, who adheres to a made-from-scratch philosophy.

Higgins buys whole fish from fishermen instead of purveyors, such as striped bass from northern Florida, halibut from Georgia and golden tilefish from the Keys. They are simply pan-seared and served with a starch and spring vegetables, such as sugar snap peas, flowering kale, strawberry radish, English peas, and morel or brown beech mushrooms (about $37 at market price). Sides of these veggies range from $8 to $10.

Chocolate ganache on coconut-macaroon crust will run as a special until May, and a chocolate torte with caramel mousse and peanut-butter anglaise has been added to the menu (both $12).

Favorites on the $49 three-course matinee menu from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday are French onion soup, burrata salad ($10 supplement) and slow-roasted 10-ounce prime rib marinated for 24 hours.

"I made the options from a lot of big hits off our menu," Higgins says.

Up next: new cocktails.

Coco Asian Bistro & Bar

1841 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-3541, CocoAsianBistro.com

This alluring pan-Asian fusion restaurant in the Harbor Shops has streamlined its menu to make it less daunting, as well as easier to incorporate updates.

"We try to keep everything fresh and rotate things," says owner/chef Mike Ponluang, who hails from Thailand.