Hectically Eclectic

This melting pot, a jumble of Caribbean, Japanese, and Cantonese influences, won't melt

If you need more proof, don't look to the pudding -- the Florasian sticky rice sweetened with coconut, palm sugar, and "seasonal fruit from Florida & the Orient" just doesn't strike the right note, at least not if you've started the meal with some sushi. Instead, sample the soups. Broths, stocks, and sauces are a critic's surest tests, because these are the basics that are developed ahead of time and can't be changed at the last minute beyond the addition of salt and pepper. And the two soups we tried were a clear example of how far Red Coral needs to go beyond minor doctoring. In fact, get that miso soup with conch to a hospital. It desperately needs an infusion of flavor beyond the dishwater filled with Band-aids that it already resembles. Won ton soup was a bit less repulsive broth-wise, but the fried dumplings that were floating in it had an egg-heavy stuffing the consistency of wet Styrofoam.

Eastern elegance and exotic fare don't necessarily equal fine dining.
Colby Katz
Eastern elegance and exotic fare don't necessarily equal fine dining.

Location Info

Map

Red Coral Restaurant

401 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2210

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Fort Lauderdale

Details

Call 954-523-4330. Lunch and dinner 11 a.m. till 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday till 2 a.m. Dinner Saturday from 5 p.m. till 2 a.m., Sunday from 5 till 11 p.m.
Closed Location

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In its favor, Red Coral has a pleasant staff that has clearly been trained. Our waitress knew to bring extra plates and utensils, kept beverages refilled, and answered questions with authority, even when she was wrong or bluffing. For instance, she had told us that the soft-shell crabs in one of the day's specials were fresh, then corrected herself when she found out they were fresh-frozen. When we asked her about the tempura banana-plantain dessert we were eating, she was quick to point out the differences between the related fruits (one was bigger). Now if we can only transfer that kind of confidence to the kitchen, we can stop the cycle of pan-Asian abuse without Floribbean intervention.

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