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Dining scene: From spice-grilled chicken to raw zucchini puttanesca

Fresh First

4520 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-900-3705, FreshFirst.com

Chef Mary Siragusa and her daughter, pastry chef Francesca Siragusa, are celebrating the first anniversary of their organic eatery and juicery on Southeast 17th Street by unveiling a second location in the former Sweet Bananas Grill.

"We chose the location because our goal is to expand nationally," Mary Siragusa says. "We believe we are offering something that is very much needed in the world of dining out."

Favorites on the menu, billed as gluten-, corn- and peanut-free, are raw sprouted lentil burger wrapped in chard with avocado spread ($12.75), waffle bread grilled cheese sandwich with cardamom, cinnamon apples, cheddar and brie ($11.25) and raw zucchini puttanesca with olives, red pepper, tomatoes and lemon-garlic sauce ($13.95).

Juices and smoothies are named by color, such as Blissful Blue smoothie with blueberries, apples, bananas and hemp ($9).

Quinoa stars in one of the desserts: cupcake with house-made jam and goat-cheese frosting ($5.25).

Touches of burgundy accent the soft cucumber green decor with a yellow wall scribbled with red quotes. An awning covers the front patio with café-brown Italian tables and chairs.

Hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but will expand after Labor Day.

Burt & Max's Bar and Grille

9089 W. Atlantic Ave., Suite 100, Delray Beach, 561-638-6380, BurtAndMaxs.com

The summer lineup running through October at this 1-year-old barn-wood charmer in Delray Marketplace is the first menu release of new executive chef Jay Prisco, who transferred from sibling Bogart's Bar & Grille in Boca Raton.

Prisco is focusing on local ingredients. "As a kid in the summertime, we would pick vegetables from the garden. That freshness can't be beat and brings me back to my roots and family," says Prisco, who grew up in Pennsylvania. "I enjoy being outside and getting to the gym, so lately I've begun to eat a little healthier, so I see some of that coming off into the menu."

That factor plays out in his tuna ceviche ($17) and Southwestern grilled barbecue-glazed chicken salad ($16). He added a sage brown butter to the oak-grilled Idaho trout ($26) but replaced the starchy sides with green beans and sautéed spinach, which Prisco calls "starchless wonders." He added the balsamic chicken whole-wheat wrap with goat cheese, pine nuts and crispy onions ($15) and converted the oak-grilled skirt steak from Argentine style to Asian with a miso marinade ($29).

New vodka lemonades are blueberry citrus ($11) and strawberry ($12).

Through Oct. 31, kids eat free on Tuesdays, and wine bottles are half off Thursday. A summer bingo card rewards visits to three other Rapoport restaurants: Henry's, Deck 84 and Bogart's. If completed by Sept. 30, participants win access to a VIP reservation line and two passes to sibling Apeiro Kitchen & Bar's opening party in November next door to Burt & Max's.

Boulud Sud

In Café Boulud, The Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club, 301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach, 561-655-6060, CafeBoulud.com

Daniel Boulud's Mediterranean pop-up concept on the air-conditioned terrace beside the fountain courtyard has returned for the third summer, this time a month longer through Oct. 1 to participate in Flavor Palm Beach month.

Along with the encore of olive trees and terra-cotta pots of herbs to evoke a Provençale ambiance, new specialties are royal red gambas al ajillo ($17), stone-baked Arabic flat bread with spiced lamb and pepperoncini ($19), grilled yellowfin tuna with chickpea and pepper stew ($38), Iberico-style suckling pig ($34) and spice-grilled chicken for two served tableside ($56). The mint-chocolate pavé has been reimagined with an intense boost of fresh mint ($12).

"Last year was more Provençale, so this year I wanted to travel farther east to Turkey, Syria and the Levant and infuse more warm, fragrant spice, smoke and chili," Executive Chef Rick Mace says. "It intensifies the experience."

Five new cocktails fit the theme too, such as the Costa del Sol, a sidecar rendition with Spanish brandy and sherry ($12).

Dinner is served nightly, and last year's weekend three-course prix fixe for $35 has been extended to every night. Monthly themed four-course wine-pairing dinners for $75 include Taste of Greece at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 and Italy's Adriatic Coast at 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

Il Mulino New York

840 First St., Miami Beach, 305-372-1221, IlMulino.com

This 30-year-old classic Italian international chain has opened its third Florida outpost in the South of Fifth enclave in the former Clarke's pub, joining its 8-year-old Sunny Isles Beach sibling.

"This area is essentially where New York meets Miami, and we feel very at home here with locals and visitors alike who are familiar with our concept," Executive Chef Michele Mazza says.

In addition to Florida-centric specials, the Abruzzo-inspired menu offers signatures such as Tuscan-style beef carpaccio with spicy Dijon sauce ($26), capellini Il Mulino pasta with mushrooms, pancetta and peas in a vodka cream and black truffle sauce ($28.50), seafood risotto ($40) and rack of lamb with a Dijon glaze and Barolo wine sauce ($78, full; $48, half). For dessert, oranges marinated in Grand Marnier are prepared tableside with berries ($20 for two).

Lunch and dinner are served daily amid a gray fusion of metropolitan sophistication and art deco accented by chrome and marble. Vintage covers of Vogue and The New Yorker line the walls.

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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