By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
The kitchen takes the yawn out of salmon tartar ($9) with a cheeky bit of world fusion: a salty-sour lemon-sesame vinaigrette tossed into glistening pink fish scattered with red tobiko, black sesame seeds, and drops of jalapeño oil. It's strong stuff — almost too much so until you realize it's meant to be eaten on pieces of light-as-air cassava chips whose sweetness, hint of Indian spice, and crunch temper the vivid tartar beautifully. Other apps include oyster shooters at $5 each, beef short ribs with ricotta salata, and coriander-rubbed baby lamb chops with red pepper marmalade.
A lineup of semifamiliar entrées too successfully "make it strange." There's the superb, dramatically presented passel of Coca-Cola barbecued beef short ribs ($22), a mountain of silky, fall-off-the-bone meat brilliantly balanced between hot, sweet, and sour, topped with super-sized buttermilk onion rings so light and airy that they seem to float. Paired with creamed corn flecked with tarragon, this is a summer barbecue gone wild with flavor. You remember every rib you've ever eaten, the smell of slow-cooking in August, and cold bottles of soda, and at the same time, you've made a new memory that overlaps and interweaves with the old, deepening your appreciation for good living.
Seafood risotto ($12 small, $24 large) comes thoroughly infused with shellfish broth, poached leeks, Sauvignon Blanc, and green herbs. A dish like this with perfectly cooked shrimp has a kind of sheen — it's as luxe and radiant as a silk nightgown. The beautiful shrimp are tossed with mussels, calamari, and those tiny bay scallops while the risotto retains its texture and moisture. There's jerk-seasoned snapper and crab-stuffed ravioli on the menu too, as well as roast chicken served with chorizo corn-bread stuffing, flat-iron steak, and turkey tenderloin with polenta and pomegranate sun-dried tomato gravy. A tropically inspired plate of pan-seared salmon made the transition from summer to fall with its citrus butter and cucumber-mango relish: It arrived with a vaguely autumnal side of fried parsnips and brown rice studded with almonds. This is such lovely food.
2032 Harrison St.
Hollywood, FL 33020
A state-of-the-art slice of key lime pie ($6) demonstrated delicacy with its vanilla-wafer-ground pecan crust, fresh whipped cream, and lime zest over a creamy sweet-sour filling. Molten lava cake ($6) is the yin to the key lime's yang — unbelievably dense, head-clearing chocolate paired with wild, sour amerena Italian cherries and a chocolate-cherry sauce so rich and vaporous that you could get drunk on it.
Go ahead and get drunk: Order another mimosa or an espresso saketini or a half-bottle of Moscato to wash down your last bite of guava cheesecake. These are happy times in Hollywood. And chef Michael Wagner will see that you get home safe.