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Dining scene: From rack of lamb to truffle mac and cheese

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Butcher Block Grill

7000 W. Camino Real, west of Boca Raton, 561-409-3035, ButcherBlockGrill.com

This Mediterranean-infused, all-natural seafood and steak house overlooking the Fountains Center's attractive water features has marked its first anniversary by updating about a quarter of its menu with fall/winter items.

"We were lucky when we opened with good responses," says co-owner Mike Zikri says. "Customers really didn't request anything more, except maybe a few additional side items."

Examples are portobello fries, creamed spinach, pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with apple wood-smoked bacon (all $10) and roasted root vegetables with the new grilled branzino ($32).

"Everything is lighter," says chef Ramon Ahrendse, citing the tomato-olive salad with the sea bass ($34) and the tri-colored salad with the veal Milanese ($32).

Other new entrees are rack of lamb marinated with mustard and crusted with herbs ($34), steak kabob ($24) and Gulf shrimp scampi with angel-hair pasta ($26).

Perhaps start with lobster bisque ($8), Tuscan flatbread ($10), ponzu ahi tuna tartare with a twist of grapefruit ($12) or lamb sliders with feta and mint ($15), ending with apple strudel crafted with vanilla butter ($9).

Live music is resuming Friday and Saturday nights, and the Sunday à la carte brunch has been extended to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Angelo Elia Pizza, Bar, Tapas

5920 Coral Ridge Drive, Coral Springs, 954-344-1233, AngeloEliaPizza.com

It may be no surprise a fourth location of this contemporary Tuscan-inflected chain has opened, but this time it's debuting a new name, rebranding from D'Angelo Pizza, Wine Bar, Tapas.

"As we continue to expand our pizza, bar and tapas concept, we wanted to differentiate from the Casa D'Angelo identity while keeping the family name intact," says chef Angelo Elia, who also owns fine-dining Casa D'Angelo in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton. The Tuscan branches in Fort Lauderdale, Weston and west of Delray Beach will be renamed as well.

New to the all-day lineup are paninis ($12-$14), such as prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and arugula, or pulled short ribs with Asiago and kale-onion slaw. On the lighter side is the chopped chef salad ($12) and roasted beets with arugula, Gorgonzola and candied walnuts ($12).

Selections round out with crudo and carpacci ($12–$16), calzones ($14–$16), baked pastas ($16-$22) and wood-oven pizzas ($12–$16), such as the Cremona with pear, pancetta, Gorgonzola and figs.

Lunch and dinner are served daily amid ebony wood finishing, glass shelving, white stone countertops, modernist lighting, a wall of TVs showing Italian cooking shows and a covered patio.

Rok:Brgr

600 Silks Run, #1210, Hallandale Beach, 954-367-3970, RokBrgr.com

This 4-year-old gourmet burger and gastropub mini chain has unveiled its third — and biggest — location in the short-lived POC Modern American Cuisine in the heart of The Village of Gulfstream Park.

"After carefully evaluating the expansion of the Rok Brgr brand, we felt Hallandale and Gulfstream were a strategic fit as the area offers high growth both in population and the fact that more companies and small businesses are moving to the Miami-Dade/Broward line," says Charles J. Hazlett, who founded the chain in downtown Fort Lauderdale and followed with a South Miami branch.

The comfort food offerings include truffle mac n' cheese with options to add shrimp, bacon, lobster or short rib ($10-$16), lobster corn dogs ($14), short-rib grilled cheese ($13), chicken & waffles ($15) and more than 20 burgers ($12-$16), including turkey or ahi tuna.

Handcrafted cocktails ($10-$13) are a take on the classics and Prohibition concoctions, such as the Rok Old Fashion with bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup. More than 65 craft beers include several local breweries.

Lunch and dinner are served daily, as well as Sunday brunch with a DJ, amid reclaimed woods, Chicago brick, high ceilings, 15 TVs, an indoor/outdoor bar and spacious terrace.

"Wine Down Wednesdays" feature acoustic musicians and half off wine bottles.

M.E.A.T. Eatery And Taproom

980 N. Federal Highway, Suite 115, Boca Raton, 561-419-2600, MeatEateryBoca.com

If you're craving a piece of the Keys, head to the Cendyn Spaces office building for this new second location from Islamorada. The owners also run the upscale S.A.L.T. Fusion Cuisine in the island chain.

Since opening in July, the chef has fine-tuned the fast-casual menu here for a different market, such as replacing fried chicken with healthier smoked chicken wings, expanding the salads, such as red and golden quinoa ($12), and adding smoky eggplant dip ($4) and steamed edamame ($5).

"We provide top-quality homemade food, from grinding and casing our sausages, making our own bacon, ice cream, ketchup, mustard, pork rinds, hummus and tapenade, and smoking and pulling our chicken and pork," says co-owner and sommelier Thomas Smith, who plans to franchise.

Best-sellers are the Chorizo Patti sandwich with American cheese and chimichurri aioli ($8.50), the Inside-Out Juicy Lucy burger stuffed with house-made pimento cheese and bacon ($12.50), North Carolina-style pulled chicken or pork sandwiches ($10.50-$11.50) and duck-fat French fries as an accompaniment.

On tap are micro-brewed sodas, draft root beer, more than two dozen beers, and beer milkshakes ($8.99), such as Guinness & Nutella Ice Cream.

The industrial-feel nook incorporates faux brick wallpaper, chalkboard menus, diamond-plate accents and counter seating along with booth seating in the building's futurist atrium shared with office workers. Daily lunch and dinner are served until 9:30 pm. with weekend brunch expected around the New Year.

Email news to susan@editorguru.com or send to John Tanasychuk, Sun Sentinel, 500 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 900, 9th floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

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