The Dish Ran Away With the Silver Spoon

And the cow jumped over the mooney

There were other dishes to swoon over too. A beautiful tray of baby artichokes dipped in olive oil and fire grilled, served with whole sprigs of rosemary and grilled lemons ($12) effectively coated the mouth (and chin and fingers) with pleasure. You can choose one of three ways to have your calamari ($12) — either fra diàvolo, as we had it, in a peppery, shellfish-broth-scented tomato sauce, or with zucchini and Meyer lemon sauce, or with cannellini beans and grape tomatoes. We also had the arancini ($8), four medium-sized rice balls stuffed with shredded braised short ribs, fontina, and buffalo mozzarella — served on a thin layer of marinara, they were exceedingly soft and flavorful inside and had a nice, crunchy crust. A plate of Parmigiano Reggiano came with a saucer of green and black olives ($8). The generous chunks of cheese were certainly the real deal, but I've had this same plate served in other restaurants as a freebie — I'd spend my money next time on the baked clams or the meatballs, the grilled octopus, the Calabrese sausage, or the eggplant involtini.

The menu here is virtually identical to the one at Bova Boca, with the addition of steaks (hence the "prime"). They're serving not only dry-aged specimens like Delmonico and bone-in New York strip but Kobe beef brought in from Japan and billed at market price. I'm a little surprised the menus are so similar, since it doesn't give Joseph, who's a wonderful chef judging from his work at Cero, much to show off with. But nothing we ate was less than perfectly executed, and only one choice seemed less-than-inspired: the rigatoni Bolognese with veal ($24). Not that the pasta wasn't al dente or the tomato sauce and ground veal unbalanced — with handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan, it all came together nicely but didn't rise above the thousand plates of Bolognese we've all eaten in our lives. Not, at any rate, like the seared scallops ($38), milky white, buttery, and sweet, with the finest golden crust, served over a green-pea and asparagus risotto. I need to invent a new vocabulary to signify perfection: I'd use it to describe those fat grains of rice, each guarding its separateness but in harmony with the whole (if only human beings could learn this trick!), having fully absorbed the green flavors of pea and asparagus and the deep umami of the Parmesan.

Joe Rocco

Location Info


Bova Prime

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

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Fort Lauderdale


Bova Prime, 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Open daily 5:30 till 11 p.m. Call 954-765-1131.
Closed Location

What a magnificent meal that was — and so was the flaky and rich fillet of snow-white snapper ($34) served over the same risotto. Nor did the luscious macaroni and cheese or the deeply flavored escarole and white bean side dishes disappoint (each $8) nor the charming cheesecake lollipops we had for dessert ($8) — one flavored with lemon, another coated with white chocolate and another with dark. I could eat this stuff every night. And if I were Scott Rothstein, I would.

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