Martorano's famous meatballs are served here too — with a whorl of fantastically light ricotta cheese ($14) or with a "South Philly salad" for an extra $6. I won't even begin to parse whether these meatballs are the best ever; that's too subjective an argument. I can say they're fine examples of the form, moist and dense with the kind of meaty gravy that sends the otherwise-boring salad of romaine hearts to greater heights. You almost forget that you're paying $20 for a meatball and a bit of greens.

From the looks of things, the food satisfied even Clinton Portis' bodyguard, a hulking man sitting at a table all his own. Every so often, we'd sneak a glance in the celebrity athlete's direction, and each time, we caught the dude with his head sunk deeply into a bowl of bucatini with meatballs. "That guy is literally chowing down," said Tara. "I don't think he's looked up all night."

He didn't need to. All the other diners were too enraptured in their own plates to even think about bugging the star athlete. Most of Martorano's family-style dishes are expensive, but the portions are so big that they could account for at least a few hefty meals (unless you're a celebrity bodyguard). Martorano uses only imported dry pasta cooked to order, a practice that imparts amazing texture into his dishes. A bowl of fusili pollo ($34) sees spicy marinara and long, curly pasta fused into one deep element. Accented by thick slices of breaded chicken cutlets and intensely rendered peppers, the pasta is like a well-executed refrain. Spaghetti carbonara ($25) comes crowned with a single egg yolk set inside its halved shell. Mixed into the thick macaroni full of thick lardons of pancetta, the creamy/salty mixture practically jumps off the plate.

The food at Martorano's sure satisfies.
C. Stiles
The food at Martorano's sure satisfies.

Location Info

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Martorano's Italian-American Kitchen

5751 Seminole Way
Hollywood, FL 33314

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Davie/West Hollywood

Details

Martorano's Italian-American Kitchen, 5751 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Open for dinner 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 954-584-4450, or click here.

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If anything is the star at Martorano's, though, it's the gravy. A boatload of rigatoni ($34) splashed around a pool of the stuff so intensely porky, I wanted to name it and show it off at the state fair. Mike, our resident gravy aficionado, practically fell over himself with one taste of the stuff. Since that night, he has text-messaged me constantly to extoll the intensely tender pork, the sunny sauce, and smooth dab of ricotta cheese floating atop it all like an island. He went on so long, I thought he was going to write a book about it.

Martorano already has. His mug, plastered over just about every free inch of space in the restaurant, is pretty darned pervasive. But this is one instance in which the bravado and glittery ambiance actually fits. There's no denying his food is wondrous, even if you do have to keep your tongue firmly planted in your cheek while chewing the pasta. In the end, Martorano made me a believer. It's a good thing that face is looking down over the Hard Rock after all.

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19 comments
anthony
anthony

I was treated to dinner at this restaurant so I don't even know how much the bill was.  I can say that the music was so loud that it made talking with others at the table impossible.  Actually the muisic was so loud that it was uncomfortable.  This is definately a place where disco freaks and college kids will feel at home but from what I've heard the cost would be prohibitive.  The food was ok.  Best in the world?  I don't think so.  I am full blooded Italian and this was not the real deal.  What I would like to know is where does that wonderful ricotta cheese come from?

John
John

The place is total garbage. After a $350 tab, the waiter tried to cheat on the tip and added an extra 5% - caught it and asked to speak to the manager - he cursed me out and told me "pay your bill and get the f$&k out". Really classy for a crappy tasting $69 chop. This place needs to go out of business and I will do my best to help it along. Have eaten all over the world and never had anyone speak to me like this after multiple restaurant errors and then still think that I am going to pay - what guts.

Trkdlr1
Trkdlr1

How much were you "GREASED" for this critique??

Jeannie
Jeannie

If i never go back to this place it will be too soon! Waaaaay overated! We attended a party there the other nite. Its like one big Italian disco. If SCARFACE or GODFATHER is loudly playing on the 100 plasmas while you eat or try to talk the DJ is blasting the $200,000 sound system! Wine was warm (not chilled correctly) food was brought out not hot. Food overall tasted good and service was good i will say but not a memorable dining experience.

Drew5
Drew5

"If anything is the star at Martorano's, though, it's the gravy. A boatload of rigatoni ($34) splashed around a pool of the stuff so intensely porky, I wanted to name it and show it off at the state fair. Mike, our resident gravy aficionado, practically fell over himself with one taste of the stuff. Since that night, he has text-messaged me constantly to extoll the intensely tender pork, the sunny sauce, and smooth dab of ricotta cheese floating atop it all like an island. He went on so long, I thought he was going to write a book about it."

- Is this actually a restaurant review? Sounds more like a fluff piece that belongs in the "special advertising section" of a newspaper, or in one of those gushing, biased tourist-targeted brochures. Note to John Linn: Keep your eulogizing to a minimum to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Max
Max

No problem. I didn't realize that New Times was such a low budget operation. I'm sure your readers will appreciate the clarification so it doesn't ruin their evening when they see the menu.

John L.
John L.

Ah, yes. Thank you for informing the rest of us peons what "real people" do.

Max
Max

No need. Real people don't share one cheese plate and a meatball between 4 people. Zagat has it listed at $68pp which is still a bit low, but they do have more of a beer crowd voting there.

Oh, and someone told me they were quoted $70 for a veal chop on last visit. They probably charge more on weekends.

John L.
John L.

We had four entrees, two appetizers, dessert, and three drinks for $200 on the button. We had enough left overs for three of us to take home and have full meals for the next day. Would you like me to scan the receipt for you?

Walt F
Walt F

Our experience was not as glowing. Ordered bottled water,when poured, my wife realized the glass the water was being poured into had huge crack. Server replaced glass, but did not offer to replace the water! Service was not what I would call attentive. "World Class" Meatball was dry, almost sawdusty. I would not call the "gravy" anything exceptional, to "acidic" would be accurate. Ordering wine, produced a bottle that was not the vintage printed on the list. With the high priced wines on the list the customer is entitled to the correct vintage.Overall the value of the restaurant with the high prices and average food and spotty service, I would not return.

Jaila
Jaila

Martarano does everything he can to make you WANT to dislike his places. Then you eat, and you forget what you were talking about. You remember a little when the bill comes, but forget again when you eat the leftovers for two days.

And for the record, Mike doesn't write books about gravy. He writes books about Vanilla Ice and greyhounds. And maybe hookers.

Max
Max

Great chefs don't rip off their customers. Jeans-George charges $46 for a veal chop at perhaps the best restaurant in New York. Anyone who thinks that Martorano's, who charges 50% more, is in that class really doesn't know anything about good food.

Hype is exactly what it is. As they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And Steve is King of South Florida.

dennis
dennis

drat, I left off dessert. So add another $50 to the bill.....$500 for 4 people.

food luver
food luver

Totally agree, John. This place is world class. We don't mind paying extra for the truly best available ingredients Steve M. uses. It blows any other restaurant away, period. His portions are huge too. I have to make an extreme mental effort not to overeat and to remind ourselves to take home leftovers. If not, we polish our plates and then leave way too full...but it happens. I was amazed to discover that his desserts were also at the same quality level as the rest of his food...we love his red velvet cupcakes a la mode (with a little cannoli cream base beneath the ice cream), his cannolis of course, and his waffle ice cream sandwich!! He even butters and maple syrups the waffles :) Amazing. No detail spared. Everything is simply too good not to be expensive.

Dennis
Dennis

I beg to beg to differ. Its $39 for a glass of wine with a meatball salad with 1 meatball. So if you got all of that for $50 per person you know someone I don't, or you're drinking iced tea.

Meatball Salad $20Rigatoni $342 glasses of wine @$19per $38 (Peppoli, $24 per bottle at Total Wine)

Thats $92 pp before tip.

Now paying $50 for a big prime steak is one thing. You don't feel like you've been robbed by that because it would cost you $30 for the meat in a supermarket. But paying $110pp with tip for something that costs about $15 is another matter.

So if dinner for 4 as I've described came out to $450 and you got to take home a tub of rigatoni; its difficult to feel like you've gotten your money's worth. They get $65 for a veal chop, which is about $20 more than any other place in Fort Lauderdale.

John L.
John L.

I beg to disagree. Maybe if you just eat fish sandwiches at hotel restaurants or stump for brunch at Steak 954 you're not used to spending money on food. But $200 for four people with drinks, appetizers, dessert, and enough leftovers for everyone to take some home is hardly thievery.

Dennis
Dennis

I don't think that you can accurately describe the experience without making the reader understand that no matter how much you enjoy the food, you WILL feel like someone stole your wallet at the end of the evening.

John L.
John L.

I made reference to the rather expensive prices on more than one occasion - perhaps it needed to be drilled in again and again in every graf? Yes, it's expensive. It's also very good food. Your mileage may vary.

Dennis
Dennis

Spoken like someone paying with someone else's money....

I didn't think his sauce is a great sauce. The food is very good, and the place is definitely a spectacle, but the concept that the food is so good that it will make you forget how much is costs is absurd.

 
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