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Dining scene: From waffles stuffed with lobster to chicken pomegranate stew

The Brass Tap

950 N. Congress Ave., Suite J100, Boynton Beach, 561-413-3782, BrassTapBeerbar.com

Michael Gilbert and his wife, Stephanie, have opened a branch of this Tampa-based craft beer and wine bar in the former Shane's Rib Shack in Boynton Town Center — the first of many they plan in South Florida.

"There is nothing like The Brass Tap here. All the other bars only have around 25 choices while we will be the only craft beer bar in the area with 100 taps and more than 150 bottles," says Michael Gilbert, whose brother, Rick, is the general manager. "Even though we're a franchise, we still want The Brass Tap to be a local place where our guests become regulars. While we're a beer bar, we're interested in creating a family friendly environment and host events during the day that children can be involved in."

The lineup encompasses appetizers, such as baked pretzels with pale-ale chipotle mustard ($7.99), quesadillas ($6.99-$11.99), flat breads ($5.99), pizzas with salted pretzel dough crust ($7.99-$8.99), tacos ($7.49-$9.49) and sandwiches ($8.99-$12.99), such as prime rib.

Dark walnut woods accent the red-and-black interior while two patios are covered with black awnings that match the black high-top chairs.

Musicians, primarily acoustic, perform Friday and Saturday nights, and lunch and dinner are served daily. Weekday happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. slashes $1.50 off drafts and offers two-for-one wines.

Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar

5 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-450-6718, RacksDelray.com

This lively spot, with an indoor/outdoor bar overlooking Worthing Park, is offering summer specialties and has launched an official happy hour of bites priced from $1 to $10.

Previously, happy hour catered to insiders without a menu, but now it's not hush-hush anymore, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Hits include oysters and clams ($1 each), fish tacos ($7, also available in lettuce cups), charcoaled ribs ($9) and Creole calamari ($7). Draft beers are $4, and cocktails and select wines are half off.

"From a guest's perspective, it enables them to indulge in a menu item that they would not normally order," founder Gary Rack says.

New cocktails include American Summer with vodka, citrus, pineapple juice and ginger ($14) and Salted Cucumber with gin and citrus ($12).

Summer lunch and dinner selections include buffalo shrimp with blue cheese ($14) and quinoa veggie power bowl ($9). Cajun tuna sliders ($18) and award-winning pork belly patty melt ($17) are exclusive to lunch, while pecan hoppin John jazzes up twin pork chops with buttermilk fried onions ($23) at dinner. Don't miss the strawberry angel-food shortcake ($9).

Through October, you can enter monthly drawings at sibling locations to win the following freebies every week for life: oysters at Racks Fish House, pizza at Table 42 Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar and a burger at Racks Downtown Eatery + Tavern.

Kababi Café

3828 N. University Drive, 954-909-4133, Sunrise, KababiCafe.com

Chelsea Shirdel says her Iranian father, Hamid Shirdel, encouraged her to "dream big and aim big." Part of that dream is their new venture in the former Italian Red Sauce after selling Kuluck Persian Restaurant, which was located first in Tamarac and then Plantation.

"The inspiration was to have a place where people felt they were dining in a village-like ambiance, to have a place where the Persian community could bring friends and family to have an intimate dining experience, or to have a big party and let us make the event a memorable one," says Chelsea Shirdel, general manager. "You can come in and buy Middle Eastern groceries, eat, grab a drink, or all three."

Brick walls and floors resembling cobblestone emulate an outdoor café in a historic shopping village, punctuated by red awnings, along with a wine cellar and a bakery encased in glass to watch bakers making bread and rollet —vanilla pound cake rolled in rose-water cream ($5.99).

Known for their grilled kabobs, the family offers 10 kinds, such as 24-hour onion-citrus marinated chicken ($13) or filet mignon ($21), which can be upgraded with special rice, such as Persian cherry ($3). Cardamom-based Persian hot tea ($3) and stuffed grape leaves are popular ($7), and four stew renditions include chicken pomegranate ($16).

Lunch and dinner are served daily with weekend lunch beginning at 1 p.m. Belly dancing may be in the works.

Bistro BE

1111 SW First Ave., Miami, 305-375-0975, BistroBE.com

Executive chef Frederik Appelt has brought his traditional cuisine here with a few twists from his native Belgium, where he also helmed several restaurants.

"Belgian cuisine is often compared with French cuisine in terms of the technique, but it is much heartier, comparable to German cuisine," Appelt says. "I also include a molecular component to my dishes, so you might see pop-rock chocolates or strawberry gels or parsley foams."

Located in the former Box Park, the sleek, contemporary eatery is reminiscent of a modern Belgian bistro with blond wood, white furnishings, modernist lighting and an open kitchen, along with a covered patio. A wall behind the bar displays glassware for each of the 70 beers, including rare Belgians.

The menu features starters ($11.50-$21), such as waffle stuffed with dill, lobster and mussels, and scallops with chicory confit, black pudding and Stella mousseline sauce, and entrées ($16.50-$25), such as Flemish vegetable stew and filet mignon tartare with quail egg and frites. For dinner, the menu expands to a variety of Belgian mussel pots with frites ($20.50-$28), rabbit stew ($26) and sautéed duck filet with cherry beer sauce ($26).

Lunch and dinner are served daily with weekend brunch expected to launch in September.

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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