Alligator Tales

Stop in for a bite of gourmet bar food at Alligator Alley

In fact, Iggy makes nearly everything in-house, from the tequila-flavored salsa that accompanies chips to the supple beef that he roasts and slices for po'boy hoagies. Kilmo, who plays bass with his band the Killers on some evenings, adds to the offerings with his recipe for a superb bowl of chili con carne. Robust but not spicy, the beefy kidney-bean concoction, cloaked in rich tomato sauce, is available as an entrée with an elbow macaroni partner. But we noted it enhanced the chips, and certainly it improves standard nachos.

As you might have guessed by now, the designation "native Florida" somehow has expanded to include Louisiana; indeed, Alligator Alley is more Creole and Cajun than Old South. In other words, there are no black-eyed peas, collard greens, or even frogs' legs, but there's gumbo and plenty of it. Iggy has a standard recipe for this soupy stew on the regular menu that has won the coveted Cajun/Zydeco Crawfish Festival Gumbo Cook-Off in 2000 and 2002, which comprises the classic andouille sausage, hunks of chicken, shrimp, okra, celery, and onions. On some nights, though, you can score the "monster gumbo," a conglomerate of the above along with oysters, clams, and calamari added to the mix. The whole mess -- and I use that word in the kindest sense -- is served over rice, and the result is a silky stew so addictive it'll turn you into a gumbo-crazed monster yourself.

Equally piquant but perhaps a bit less challenging to the consumer, a half chicken is also offered jerk-style, and other menu items range from red beans 'n' rice to andouille-topped pizza by the slice. When it's available, the Alley might have a key lime pie for dessert, but sweets aren't the focus here. We were just as happy to fill up on the draft beers, which include Seven Thunderhead Red Ale, Eleven Nut Brown Ale, and Native Lager, all distinctive and satisfying microbrews from Northwest Florida. Our server, who was new and didn't know much about the beer, brought us tastes before we ordered full pints. Service in general, as a matter of fact, was maybe just as uninformed as I've had in other places but so honest and forthcoming that it wasn't a problem. And Kilmo spent a good 20 minutes at our table inspiring us with his passion for good food and good music, something he does, I suspect, with every new face that comes through the door. The old ones... well, they get hugs and kisses.

Say, Iggy, is that an alligator on your shoulder, or... oh, never mind
Colby Katz
Say, Iggy, is that an alligator on your shoulder, or... oh, never mind

Location Info

Map

Alligator Alley

1321 E. Commercial Blvd.
Oakland Park, FL 33334

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Oakland Park

Details

Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Dinner Saturday from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Call 954-771-2220.
Closed Location

If there's a caveat to dining at Alligator Alley, it's that a cover charge is sometimes applied when bigger names take the corner stage. But those are the nights that cigarette smoke scents the air more than the gumbo, and you're not likely to be able to grab a table anyway. So if you're going for the food, quieter weeknights are best. Just don't skip over the gator.

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