When it arrived, it was beautiful — stunningly charred and nearly a foot long, it almost seemed to ride its almond-shaped plate proudly. The meat was buttery and supple, so much that as I picked at it, whole sections slid cleanly off the spiky little bones. Knowing that some people are intimidated by the thought of a whole fish staring back at them, our waiter had offered to fillet the porgie for me. But I much preferred to eat it whole, mining the critter's best parts: the slick meat that comes out of the hollows in the fish's cheeks and near the jaw and forehead; and a prized jewel of hearty flesh that powers the pelvic fin. You can't get that with a fillet.

Like our appetizers, the entrées seemed plated to let flavors mingle and cohere. My fish was set above a mound of roasted lemon potatoes and what I had thought was braised dandelion greens. On closer inspection, I found that the greens were actually lemon-enhanced rapini, a concession Tsiakanikas later tells me he made when his supplier couldn't come up with the proper ingredients. The potatoes, skinless and cut into half-circles, looked a little bit like something you'd find at a banquet dinner. But they tasted deeply roasted, crowned with plenty of rich lemon zest.

Also great: A fillet of grouper ($23.95) one of my friends shared with me was loaded with salty capers and the same olive oil and lemon sauce found on the calamari and my porgie. I loved the salty elements — it was almost like a Greek version of grouper française. But my friend pushed most of the capers off to the side in favor of the well-cooked fish. A tray of roasted squash, zucchini, and red pepper we shared was deeply caramelized and tasted like summer. It also melded perfectly with the delicate porgie, pieces of grilled shrimp saganakia ($13.95), and that fabulous bread smeared with homemade hummus.

Butterflied colossus shrimp baked with tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh herbs, and olive oil.
Candace West
Butterflied colossus shrimp baked with tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh herbs, and olive oil.

Location Info

Map

Trata Greek Taverna

1103 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Fort Lauderdale

Details

Trata Greek Taverna, 1103 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 954-712-8933, or click here.

All the while, the service was empathetic and swift. Each time our waiter came and went from our table, he offered some cozy Greek saying. He even managed to woo us into an order of baklava ($4.95) by describing in detail how the restaurant makes the homemade orange preserves that go along with it. The oranges are sectioned and boiled, peel and all, in a mixture of water, honey, cinnamon, and clove. By the time they get to the table, the peels are soft and candy-like. I'm so glad we got them. On its own, the baklava is sweet but also standard, with a dense filo crust that begs for something softer. Coupled with the orange preserves, though, it became something greater — a yin and yang of sweet and bitter, soft and chewy. Better still, it was the kind of pairing that showcases precisely what Trata does best.

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