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Dining scene: From Mississippi Mud Pie to zucchini blossoms fried in beer

Beauty & The Feast Bar | Kitchen

Atlantic Hotel & Spa, 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-567-8070,

After changing its concept only months ago, the East End Brasserie is no more, and hotel owners have partnered with managers of the SoLita restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach to oversee their culinary operations.

The patio with a splendid ocean view is still here. But they have extended the sexy lounge and added an entrance from the reclaimed barn wood clad lobby, which is echoed throughout the restaurant. Mini crystal chandeliers dangle above the bar. Faux grass walls transition to the dining room, and cream and brown furniture, including semicircular booths, has replaced red banquettes.

"The restaurant's name was inspired by the amazing view and décor, Beauty. Feast, because it is fun to sit down to eat plentiful and delicious food with friends," says Steven Dapuzzo, director of business development.

Eclectic brunch and dinner are served daily. Dinner favorites are fried Wicked oyster bun ($10.50), short rib ($28.50) and family-style "feast" plates, such as paella ($16). A couple of dishes require 48-hour notice, such as roasted pig ($18). Thankfully, the chef retained the bison burger kneaded with bacon and onions for brunch ($16) and the mustard BBQ pulled pork pizza with coleslaw and house-made chips heaped in the center ($16.50).

Other brunch hits are Bananas Foster French toast ($14) and lobster omelet ($22). For a chocolate fix, try the Mississippi mud pie ($10).

Ocean Market Grille

Atlantic Hotel & Spa, 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-567-8071,

In synch with the opening of the first-floor Beauty & The Feast Bar | Kitchen, the hotel has debuted this oceanfront lunch oasis on the fifth-floor terrace.

"The view is tremendous, and with this menu, which caters to all tastes, guests can sit back, relax and soak up the sun," says executive chef Jeff Vincent, who focuses on local ingredients.

Teal table umbrellas match lounge areas overlooking the pool. A covered bar serves $12 cocktails, such as mojitos and pina coladas.

Highlights of the light fare are smoked fish dip ($10), grilled mahi-mahi salad ($16), fish tacos ($12), crab-cake BLT ($14) and scrumptious crispy chicken sliders with mango slaw and spicy honey on Hawaiian rolls.

Breakfast selections supplement on weekends, such as French toast ($14) and Greek yogurt parfait ($12).

Lunch is served 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Live music is in the works for happy hour at 4 p.m., and a three-course chef's tasting dinner under the stars on Saturdays is expected to kick off in May.

"It will be the ultimate date night," says Steven Dapuzzo, director of business development.

Segreto — It's Italian

39 SE First Ave., Boca Raton, 561-465-2888,

After a string of chefs and managers since opening a year ago, chef Angelo Morinelli of the former Cucina D'Angelo in Boca Raton has stepped in at this fine-dining spot on the edge of Royal Palm Place. Morinelli hopes to establish stability though private parties, wine dinners, cooking classes and other events.

Italian black-and-white photos still hang on maroon walls in a refined ambiance, but now you see the chef mingling with customers.

"The main difference from us and other restaurants is the traditional Italian tableside service," says Morinelli, who was born in Naples, Italy, and helped opened Tanzy at iPic Theaters in Mizner Park. " I will be preparing salads, pastas and desserts tableside. I want to be the pioneer for you to try something different. I'm trying to do old-fashioned recipes with a modern twist."

His latest spins include grilled eggplant in the Sicilian stack with tomato and fresh mozzarella ($12.50). "The eggplant has a mild spice to it," he says. And he uses anchovy in zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta and mascarpone and fried with beer ($11). "The anchovy brings body, flavor and salt."

Each night, he varies his seafood or meat combo platters, which feature five components, plus a veggie ($25 and up). Other new specialties are duck breast prosciutto with seared figs ($12), pasta stuffed with four cheeses and torched ($24) and chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto, roasted peppers and fontina ($26).

Dinner has been extended to Mondays, so Sunday is the only night in the dark.

Up next: Red-velvet cake, rosemary olive-oil gelato and lunch service in the fall.

Il Sole

The Villa By Barton G., 1116 Ocean Drive, 305-576-8003, Miami Beach,

After the owners of the next-door Hotel Victor acquired the iconic Versace mansion in South Beach for $41.5 million in September, The Villa By Barton G. has returned to launch a seafood-centric Mediterranean restaurant and 10-suite hotel.

The Villa had closed last May in this former home of late fashion designer Gianni Versace, but now restaurateur Barton G. Weiss is back to oversee reinterpreted continental classics served on Versace-designed Rosenthal china amid blue-and-gold opulence with a frescoed ceiling, stained-glass windows and walls of river-rock mosaics imported from Spain. Patio dining overlooks the mosaic swimming pool lined with 24-carat gold.

"We wanted to create an elegant menu that would be more reflective of the ambience and iconic presence of the property, but still making it approachable for our guests," says Weiss.

Fish is flown from Honolulu for dishes such as pistachio-crusted ahi tuna crudo ($19). Other signatures are grilled Calabrian octopus with saffron polenta and chorizo ($18), three cuts of Moroccan-spiced lamb tagine ($58) and butter-poached Maine lobster ($48).

Dinner is served nightly, except Sundays.

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

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