Mouth by Southwest

In fact, fish fillets, while beautifully treated, didn't always work cohesively when combined with side dishes. Pistachio-crusted dolphin with a coconut/curry/shiitake mushroom sauce was light and ideally suited to the flaky fish. But a wild rice/roasted corn pancake, which allowed the dish to adhere to the Southwestern theme, felt forced.

Wisely, pastry chef Peter Voto doesn't overdo the concept by serving up odd sweets like chile-infused ice cream or black bean mousse (which has been known to happen in other restaurants). Instead he bakes a moist bread pudding, jeweled with cranberries and walnuts, and pairs it with simple vanilla ice cream, making this dessert a necessary diet evil.

If I were to make one recommendation for improving this restaurant that succeeds despite the downswing in its cuisine's trendiness and excels despite its lack of local competition, it would be for Canyon's management to anticipate the crowds the place consistently draws and simply stock up on food. Our server kept coming back to the table to tell us each thing the kitchen had run out of. The production of a meal here was otherwise flawless -- but still, who wants to have to take that 5:30 reservation in order to nail down a dish of smoked duck over ginger linguine?

Canyon Southwest Cafe. 1818 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-765-1950. Dinner nightly from 5:30 till 11 p.m.

Organic salad
$4.95

Escargots
$8.50

House-smoked duck over tortillas
$8.50

Shrimp-and-scallop burrito
$18.95

Filet mignon with poblano-pesto goat cheese
$21.95

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