Hot or Not?

Zucca looks great until you get to know it.

Somebody turned down the lights at 9:30, but even so, what a spectacle our appetizers made. A plate of thinly shaved zucchini — I'm down with that — and two gargantuan shrimp in fillo comprised the Zucca carpaccio. The bristling shrimp looked like weapons of torture and tasted like greasy, fried Shredded Wheat. There was no way anybody could reasonably argue that they complemented, went with, set off, or even interestingly contrasted with the zucchini, blanketed as it was in enough pecorino to feed an extended family of vermin. A heavy hand with the cheese, it turned out, was going to be our main theme of the evening. I couldn't detect the faintest note of anything truffle-like.

My date's onion ($6.90) was indeed stuffed with tiny shrimp and bits of lobster. The best thing you could say about it was that it was cooked, though not "roasted," and the seafood was edible. No trace of lobster or shrimp flavor in the "bisque," though.

The second theme of the evening, like a minor chord, revealed itself in our entrées. Zucca likes to throw around words like truffle, filet, bisque,and reduction, but the facts do not bear them out. Under its thick, rubbery sheet of parmesan, our "filet" was no tenderloin. I don't know what it was, maybe an eye round? It was thin, dry, chewy, and gigantic, filling almost the entire plate. It tasted exactly like the steak you'd order late at night in any diner, only no self-respecting diner would ever dump that much cheese on top of a piece of beef. I sliced open one of my great, round ravioli to reveal a gray center — potatoes flavored with goat cheese. But you wouldn't notice the gray unless you were really looking, because the ravioli had drowned in gloppy orange cheese sauce that wouldn't have won a blind taste test against Kraft's boxed.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Zucca Pasta & Grill

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

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Fort Lauderdale

Details

Lunch Monday through Friday 11 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. Dinner Sunday through Thursday 5:30 to 10 p.m., until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 954-334-2233.
401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

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Hideous disappointment! Our blind date, studly Colin Farrell body-double, had put his elbows on the table and launched into a sentimental journey on the incomparable qualities of his ex, pausing only to make obscene kissy noises at any passing female. We looked around, and you could say the scales fell from our eyes. This chic space no longer looked so chic (aren't flat screens playing silent movies so... passé? And what about that hostess who'd dissed us when we arrived?). Our prince charming, so suave and metrosexual, had turned out to be the equivalent of a tarted-up Olive Garden. Highly recommended! As long as you don't eat anything.

Handsome is as handsome does. In despair, we ordered dessert. Hot apple pie straight out of a frozen box, with bitter, sharp-tasting cinnamon ice cream ($5.90). The rooms were still hopping, the bar full up as we made our exit down a long row of blonds — honey and amber and white gold — their perfect legs crossed under tiny skirts. We'd relinquished all our illusions but one: Those girls still looked damned sweet.

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