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Step up to the plate during Dine Out Lauderdale

Dining critic Mike Mayo spotlights restaurants worth checking out during Dine Out Lauderdale Aug. 15-Sept. 30

Another week, another kickoff to a big restaurant promotion: This time it is Broward County's turn, with Dine Out Lauderdale launching Aug. 15 and running through Sept. 30. More than three dozen restaurants will offer multi-course dinners for $36, not including tax, tip or drinks. The deal represents a significant savings from ordering the same items a la carte at participating restaurants.

At the same time, Miami Spice continues through Sept. 30, with more than 240 restaurants taking part in the Miami-Dade promotion, a bit more expensive at $39. And Flavor Palm Beach, with 51 restaurants listed as participants, is set to run Sept. 1 through Sept. 30 in Palm Beach County, with eateries offering meals in the $30-and-up range.

This is the 10th edition of Dine Out Lauderdale, meant to boost sales during the slower hurricane-season months. Most restaurants are in Fort Lauderdale and coastal cities. The promotion makes up with quality what it lacks in quantity, with some of Broward's best eateries on board, including Kuro at the Hard Rock resort in Hollywood and 3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale.

Some spots are offering four courses instead of three, and each will have appetizer, main and dessert. Some don't offer the promotion on Friday and Saturday nights. Some have surcharges for premium dishes, so read the fine print. And some have limited seating, so it's always best to reserve ahead by phone or online.

Looking for guidance? Here are my picks for diverse and delicious meals.

Kuro, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. 954-327-7625, SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com

Since opening last year, Kuro has wowed visitors with the full package: refined Japanese cuisine, pristine sushi, stunning décor and professional service. "Foodies finally have a reason to go to the Hard Rock," my predecessor John Tanasychuk wrote in his 3 ½-star review from June 2015. Usually you need to hit big at the casino tables to enjoy a feast here, but Dine Out will make the tab more accessible, offered Sunday through Thursday. As a bonus Kuro is offering a four-course meal. Start with watermelon salad, seared salmon sashimi or king crab tempura; follow with sea bass or ribeye miso; then comes a chef's sushi course; and finish with a chocolate hazelnut bar.

3030 Ocean, Harbor Beach Marriott Resort

3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale. 954-765-3030, 3030Ocean.com

Chef Adrienne Grenier returned to this oceanfront resort restaurant last year as executive chef, and she's paying meticulous attention to fresh local ingredients and seafood. The Hollywood native and past "Chopped" winner on the Food Network will offer a rotating Dine Out menu nightly except Saturdays, featuring items such as local wahoo sashimi and Florida swordfish.

Café Maxx

2601 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach. 954-782-0606, CafeMaxx.com

Darrel Broek and chef Oliver Saucy have been pleasing palates at one of South Florida's perennial favorites for more than three decades. Dine Out is offered every night except Saturday and features an enormous selection: a choice of nine appetizers, nine entrees and five desserts. Lots of good options here, including escargot and wild mushroom pot pie or penne a la vodka to start and yellowtail snapper, three peppercorn fillet mignon, or shrimp and lobster enchilada as mains.

The Cook and the Cork

9890 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs. 954-227-2665, TheCookandTheCork.com

Tucked in a corner of a strip shopping center in northwestern Broward, this small and stylish eatery will be a hard get. The 40-seat restaurant is open only four days a week, and will offer Dine Out on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Awarded 3 ½ stars by Tanasychuk in 2014 for its eclectic American menu, he wrote the place "feels like a lively dinner party" and owners Dena Lowell Blauschild and Keith Blauschild "know what they're doing." Among the Dine Out offerings: coconut crusted shrimp or corn chowder to start, and pork schnitzel or pappardelle wagyu Bolognese as mains.

Eduardo de San Angel

2822 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. 954-772-4731, EduardodeSanAngel.com

Another longtime favorite, this is Mexican cuisine of the refined, upscale kind. Complex moles and chili pepper rubs and sauces created by longtime chef Eduardo Pria accompany high-quality meats, seafood and veggies. Dine Out is offered Monday through Friday. Start with braised pork loin carnitas, tuna roll with flour tortilla and smoked chipotle chili vinaigrette, or grilled eggplant roulade au gratin; move on to black bean and walnut chipotle cheese ravioli, grilled mahi mahi with tomatillo and serrano chilies, or skirt steak with pueblo mole; finish with a chilled Kahlua sabayon with fresh fruits.

American English Kitchen + Bar

1900 Harrison Street, Hollywood. 954-589-0200, AmericanEnglishKitchenandBar.com

This is a promising newcomer in downtown Hollywood from chef/owner Russ Aaron Simon, a South Florida native who spent many years working worldwide for Wolfgang Puck. The restaurant, in the spot formerly occupied by Fulvio's 1900, opened in June and still has some rough edges, but Simon makes a delicious strip steak with marrow vinaigrette, one of the best dishes I've had this year and well worth the $9 surcharge during Dine Out. Another specialty: the Singapore soft shell chilli crab, which costs an extra $5. Simon spent a long stretch in Singapore at Puck's CUT steakhouse. Dine Out is offered Tuesday through Saturday, and also includes an amuse bouche of pork belly on sourdough biscuits.

Le Bistro

4626 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point. 954-946-9240. LeBistroRestaurant.com

Owners Elin and chef Andy Trousdale have been to hell's kitchen and back, featured on Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" show five years ago. The cozy, classically French restaurant, open since 2001, took some constructive criticism to heart and has endured. It offers a wide-ranging Dine Out menu Tuesday through Sunday, with choices such as foie gras aroncini or wild mushroom soup to start, dover sole for two or veal chausseur as mains and grilled Georgia peaches for dessert.

Juniper on the Water

1975 S. Ocean Drive, Hallandale Beach. 954-544-3370, JuniperOnTheWater.com

The restaurant on the Intracoastal Waterway is inside the gated Hemispheres high-rise complex. In his September 2015 3-star review, Tanasychuk was pleased to find a younger crowd and a generational shift in the condo canyons of south Broward, along with some solid seafood and meat. The Dine Out menu is offered Sunday through Thursday. Start with chicken liver pate or charred octopus, try lamb pappardelle of frutti de mare over linguine for mains, and finish with a choice of four desserts, including Key lime pie or flourless chocolate cake.

The Capital Grille

2430 E. Sunrise Blvd., Galleria Mall, Fort Lauderdale. 954-446-2000, TheCapitalGrille.com

Of the many chain steakhouse options in this year's lineup, the Capital Grille at the Galleria Mall has two advantages: bigger portion sizes and a side dish included in the standard Dine Out lineup (without those annoying upcharges) and the distinction of recently being awarded a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, one of only two restaurants in Broward to get the honor for its wine program. With the savings from the upcharges, you can splurge on a glass of adult grape juice. Dine Out menu is available nightly except Saturday, and includes bleu cheese wedge, clam chowder or caesar salad to start and options including a 14-ounce bone-in New York strip or eight-ounce filet mignon with mashed potatoes or green beans for mains. Creme brulee or chocolate espresso cake for dessert.

Burlock Coast

Ritz-Carlton, 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. 954-302-6460, RitzCarlton.com

This recent arrival at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale beach goes against type, playful and decidedly unstuffy. It also has some very good fish and seafood dishes, courtesy of chef Gavin Pera. Burlock Coast opened in October and I gave it three stars earlier this year. The Dine Out menu will be offered Sunday through Thursday, and features a choice of three appetizers, entrees and desserts. Try tuna tartare or heirloom tomatoes with cured pork loin shavings to start, then have snapper with red quinoa or pork belly with black truffle grits for the main, and finish with Key lime pie or apple crumble tart.

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse

2400 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. 954-712-0580, ChimaSteakhouse.com

In honor of the Rio Games, why not gorge on rodizio, the Brazilian sliced meat delight? Located in a quiet courtyard off eastern Las Olas Boulevard, Chima has done a fine job with grilled meats and a deluxe salad bar for the past 15 years. Dine Out is available Sunday through Thursday, and represents a 30 percent discount off the usual $52.50 rodizio price. A beef croquette, cheese bread and salad bar is included. The only drawback: Filet mignon isn't offered on the Dine Out deal, and neither is dessert. But that's OK — just have more flank steak, sausage and bacon-wrapped chicken to finish.

Read Mike Mayo's blog at southflorida.com/eatbeat. mmayo@southflorida.com, 954-356-4508. Instagram: @mikemayoeats

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