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Lona Mexican restaurant opens at Westin Fort Lauderdale

Correspondent

Lona

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, 21 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-245-3069, LonaRestaurant.com

Chef Pablo Salas, hailing from his 7-year-old acclaimed Amaranta restaurant in Mexico, is helming this new beachfront Mexican oasis in the short-lived Siren’s Table.

Salas was born in Toluca, where he founded Amaranta, and his pipián rojo and salsa verde sauces stem from his mother.

"Barbacoa is Toluca’s style of making barbecue,” he says. “We pit-roast animals in earth ovens for hours until tender for tacos and broths. Our beef barbacoa tacos [$15] are an inspiration of this. They're wrapped in banana leaf, braised in adobo and steam-cooked.”

Other highlights include pumpkin tamale with crispy kale ($11), crab guacamole ($15), pork carnitas ($16) and braised beef cheeks ($26).

A dessert empanada is stuffed with banana, crema fresca and candied walnuts ($8).

The Paloma Brava cocktail blends tequila, mescal and grapefruit soda ($12).

Lunch and dinner are served daily, plus Sunday brunch, amid a blend of a chic cantina and homey hacienda. Patrons can store their tequila in amber-lit decorative lockers that display the bottles. A covered terrace boasts a lounge, bar, wood booths and agave murals. A DJ spins Friday and Saturday nights.

Insider tip: Habanero cream sauce is available by request.

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