A French Connection

The food at these two former French joints is magnifique

The dinner menu offers a greater selection, with entrées ranging from cazuela catalana ($21.95) -- grouper, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and clams in saffron-tomato broth -- to parrilla mixta ($21.95), an assortment of grilled beef, lamb, and chicken. But if suckling pig ($21.95) is a special of the evening, as it sometimes is, your decision is made: crackling skin, juicy meat. The staff is pretty proud of this dish, and rightly so.

If you're looking for a lighter meal, however, you can easily make one from the tapas. Cold ones include salads like mozzarella-tomato, perhaps not the most interesting thing in the world, so stick with hot ones that are exceptionally prepared. We were particularly delighted with meaty mushrooms sautéed in garlic ($6.95) and a wonderfully crisp chicken croquette ($6.95) that was shaped like a crab cake and textured like a fluffy potato pancake, thanks to an addition of béchamel sauce. You can also score an excellent gazpacho ($6.95), which featured an emulsified broth that had then been doctored with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.

The meat and potatoes of Brazilian cuisine, with green wine to wash it down
Michael McElroy
The meat and potatoes of Brazilian cuisine, with green wine to wash it down

Details

Lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. till 11 p.m. Call 954-785-1656.

Mediterra
3320 NE 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-390-0927. Dinner Monday-Saturday from 6 till 11 p.m.

Closed Location

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A bowl of chopped tomatoes with garlic and soft, warm bread are on the house, so it's easy to fill up without spending a lot of cash -- definitely a consideration of late. Another consideration is the burgeoning culinary trend of back-to-basics French bistros and cafés, which will likely spread from Miami-Dade County to parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Visit them, by all means, when and if, like spirits, they appear. But it might be more fun to help exorcise the ghosts of Colette and Jean Pierre, non?

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