An Aztec Ruin

Another server, who was friendly and helpful (the staff tries hard, even if no one seems to know what pinot grigio is), warned us that the sesame seed-seared tuna entree is served medium-rare, which was fine by us. But the medallions of tuna were almost raw, and the shallot-balsamic sauce was so unobtrusive, the fish required a good long soak in wasabi to give it flavor. And the seafood angel hair pomodoro was rank with fishy gray scallops, rubbery calamari rings, and shrimp that tasted like iodine. The tomato sauce was vibrant with roasted onions, shallots, and white wine, but the super-thin pasta was also super-mushy.

Pizzas at Aztec World Cafe were something of a saving grace, especially the barbecue crust pie, which was crisp and loaded with rich barbecued pork, roasted corn, caramelized onions, and plum tomatoes, all of it topped with queso blanco. On a second visit, though, we were disappointed by the soggy crust of the world pizza, which was dressed with Black Forest ham, grilled pineapple, and queso blanco.

Ulrich Koepf, erstwhile chef of the well-regarded restaurant Hot Chocolates in Fort Lauderdale, serves as a consultant for the restaurant. Perhaps he can put his lauded creativity to the grindstone (or the plexiglass) at Aztec World Cafe. At any rate, someone should make sure the menus are typo-free: The filet mignon should be larded, not "barded," with bacon, and the focaccia clubhouse sandwich should be layered with vine-ripened, not "wine ripened," tomatoes.

Location Info

Map

Las Olas Riverfront Pizza

300 SW First Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Fort Lauderdale

Closed Location

As for the concept behind the 270-seat Aztec World Cafe, to my mind it's only that at the moment -- a concept. My advice: Take a page, or a leaf, from the Rainforest Cafe and renovate the menu to reflect the theme. Otherwise the fate of the actual Aztec and Mayan Indians (virtual extinction) may await this overly optimistic chain.

Aztec World Cafe, Las Olas Riverfront, 300 SW 1st Ave., #214, Fort Lauderdale, 954-527-5554. Lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday from noon until midnight; Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m; Sunday until 11 p.m.

California egg rolls
$5.95

Mushroom-cheeseburger
$7.50

Sesame seed-seared tuna
$14.50

Seafood angel hair pomodoro
$15.95

Marble cheesecake
$5.50

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