At dinner, entrées tend to peak past the $30 mark and work up toward $40 — a hefty sum for what basically amounts to strip-mall dining. You'll achieve maximum flavor-to-dollar ratio by sampling the restaurant's solid list of starters instead, none priced higher than $14. We took that route and ended up with clams in coconut curry broth ($12), a bowl of shellfish musty with garam masala and the grassiness of green onion. A pliant flatbread "pizza" with prosciutto and glazed, red-skin pears ($11) was a beautiful example of sweet versus salty, the earthy ham and tannin-laced pears tempered by a smattering of mixed greens. Our favorite, though, was a chopped salad with cucumber, apple, and blue cheese ($10), lightly dressed greens powered by an exquisitely crusty/seared crab cake.

Although the wait staff is largely perfect, our waiter that night was a tad stuffy; no matter how much we attempted to engage with him, he just puffed his chest and acted uninterested. (And when I told him my glass came with lipstick on it, he didn't bother to apologize.) We much preferred Keit, who exchanged his lunchtime waiter role for busboy. His capable hands delivered us tomato risotto with mushrooms ($22), a perfect example of al dente rice gilded with stock to the very pinnacle of creaminess — if only there was one dominant flavor to assert itself. The same could be said of a special of bison tenderloin: the grilled fillet was a lively garnet and far more intense in flavor than beef, even if, for $32, the portion size was woefully small. A sad, red-wine reduction coating didn't enhance the flavors in any way.

In stark contrast, the cherry gastrique that coated my roasted duck ($29) was the picture of balance. I'd eat a pile of bolts if it were slathered with this stuff — an observation not too far off, since the duck's breast and thigh were roasted to a uniform gray/brown and absent any juice or sear. Disappointingly, each of the expensive entrées comes with the same sides: a summery blend of asparagus, string beans, and baby yellow squash and a smooth but boring scoop of mashed potatoes. As we shoved them around our plates, Tim came out of the kitchen to chat with a nearby table. I think they left much more impressed than we did.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Mustard Seed Bistro

8616 Griffin Road
Davie, FL 33328

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: Davie/West Hollywood

Mustard Seed Bistro and Market

256 S. University Drive
Plantation, FL 33324

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Davie/West Hollywood

Details

Mustard Seed Bistro, 8616 Griffin Rd., Cooper City. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner Wednesday through Saturday 5 to 10 p.m. Call 954-252-0002, or click here.

It's easy to see why the Boyds have the following they do. Their place is classy, has great service for the most part, and has a young, attractive team in command. They're wonderful hosts whom you want to spend time around — and there's more to spend, now that they're opening a second location with adjoining market in the old Grapevine Gourmet spot in Plantation (it should premiere any day now). But the dinner experience is a bit too predictable for the prices — even in a dining scene where costs continue to rise and places are being shuttered faster than you can say "Chapter 11." Ultimately, a $30 entrée has to succeed in its environment. And though the Boyds have done well catering to a specific crowd, those outside that circle may be better off admiring from afar.

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