First impression: If you love craft beer and well-priced wine by the glass, I can recommend 13 Even, one of the coolest hangout spots to open on Wilton Drive in a very long time. I counted close to 40 different bottle beers and 10 draft choices. Along with impressive libations, 13 Even serves less impressive food from a menu of more than 20 tapas. But with most of the menu items priced between $5 and $8, 13 Even definitely delivers for good value.
Background: Carol Moran and life-partner Nancy Goldwin also own the popular New Moon bar. Their restaurant gets its name from the couple's lucky number. They met on Friday the 13th and closed on the purchase of their house on Friday the 13th.
Ambience: The chairs, bar stools and tables are made from recycled pallets. The wine barrel lighting fixtures were recycled by Wine Country Craftsman in Paso Robles, Calif. It's an inviting 45-seat room with a cozy bar and wonderful nighttime lighting.
The menu: Much thought has been put into presentation and the many plates, bowls and serving dishes used throughout the meal. Go Mediterranean ($8) features house made hummus, stuffed grape leaves, chunks of feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Toast points round out the plate. While I loved the idea of a porky belly and watermelon salad ($7), I didn't like the room temperature fatty chunks of pork. Pork belly needs to be hot and lean. Likewise, patatas bravas ($5), the classic Spanish tapa, was served too cold. The potatoes also had an odd undercooked texture and the quail egg on top was overcooked and no longer runny. Grilled skirt steak ($8) was sliced with the grain instead of against, making for a very tough piece of beef. BBQ chicken and Gouda flatbread ($8) had a doughy frozen quality about it. My favorite menu was mac & cheese ($7), made with brie and Gruyere and topped with toasted seasoned panko bread crumbs. You can add bacon for $1 more, which only added to the delightful decadence.
Sweet!: When we asked about dessert, we were told they serve sweets from We Take The Cake bakery. One of my pet peeves is when restaurants don't make their own.
Service: Outstanding. While it's a casual spot, our waiter didn't miss a beat, offering to refill beer glasses and bringing clean cutlery between courses.
Liquid assets: The impressive beer list includes my new favorite, Funky Buddha Hop Gun IPA from the Oakland Park brewery. There's Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale from Tampa, Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale from Mississippi and Ommegang Hennepin Saison from Cooperstown, N.Y. You can also try a flight of four draft beers for $6. It's $8 when you include Belgian Chimay. The wine list includes helpful descriptions. The St. Supery cab, for instance, is described as "black plum, molasses and sweet fruit entwined with a note of dark cocoa."
2037 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors
Cuisine: Eclectic small plates
Hours: Dinner daily, Sunday brunch
Reservations: Not accepted
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Beer and wine
Sound level: Conversational
Outside smoking: Yes
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: Meters and city lots
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