Entrées offered a variety of dishes that lent themselves well to winetasting. The skin on a sweet, apricot-glazed confited duck leg ($15/$27) wasn't quite as crispy as we were expecting, though the juicy, rich duck meat beneath more than made up for it. Served with a puréed acorn squash crepe, this was a rich dish end to end, though the crepe was so thin that it was more like dumpling skin than French pancakes. Shaved Brussels sprouts were tender and balanced the duck.

Braised short ribs ($16/$29) were the wine-braised, fall-apart cubes of beef we expected, yet the accompanying truffled mashed potatoes, with Sabatino truffle oil that its makers claim is "100 percent organic," were starchy-tasting and mealy, more like an overcooked baked potato as opposed to the rich, earthy flavors we were expecting.

Onion-crusted Florida grouper ($15/$27) showed off the local goods that trendy restaurants today must have on their menus. Zobel says the combination of a smaller space and the recent decision to not serve lunch (though d.b.a. serves Sunday brunch) makes it easy for him to pick up the day's produce at local sources like Fort Lauderdale's Marando Farms. A fat fillet of white fish came atop a rich mushroom risotto with just enough earthiness to cut through the grain's buttery sauce. A vanilla beurre blanc paired perfectly with the delicate fish but made the bread-and-onion crumb topping a bit soggy.

Carnival Chicken: a buttermilk-marinated, half-fried bird, funnel cake, and powdered sugar.
Carnival Chicken: a buttermilk-marinated, half-fried bird, funnel cake, and powdered sugar.


d.b.a./café, 2364 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-565-3392; dba2z.com. Open Tuesday to Thursday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday to Sunday 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Chicken liver crostini $9

Pan-seared sea scallops $13

House-made herb papardelle $13/$19

Carnival Chicken $14/$24

Apricot-glazed duck confit $15/$27

Zobel no doubt has the résumé and the credibility to helm kitchens in far fancier restaurants with prices well beyond $30 per plate. South Florida should consider itself lucky that he stepped away from high-volume corporate restaurants and "thought it would be nice to work for a mom-and-pop type of place and get back to cooking." We're happy that he did and that he brought some of the decadent French dishes from his past along for the ride.

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frankd4 topcommenter

"Zobel says................makes it easy for him to pick up the day's produce at local sources like Fort Lauderdale's Marando Farms"

funny but i just called MARANDO FARMs (954) 294-2331 and no one there has ever heard of him OR the restaurant - huh ?

the economics of a season being only a couple of months but the expenses being all year round simply make it IMPOSSIBLE for even the best fo intended people to make it in soFLA

which is why there is either regularly revolving-door openings and closings or else long-term establishments reducing or curtailing their presentations relegating their kitchens to outside sources of processed FOODs

$27 for a leg of duck is NOT going to fly here in FT LIQUORDALE

no way no how

frankd4 topcommenter

TWO things that canNOT be overcome in soFLA:


2)ultimately most every FOOD item is processed from SYSCO / HENRYLEE / CHENNEYBROS

any reference to NY or NYC is purely ILLUSIONARY and has NO connection otherwise - ask this place to make a simple pasta with olive oil and watch all hell break loose



been here a few times now and although the food is decent (when its hot and they remember the seasoning) the service is horrendous.  Staff spends a ton of time chatting behind the bar ignoring the tables which makes the experience very annoying.


Fun place with fun food. Owners are very hospitable with good wine knowledge. Hope this place does well.

Hayley Pedersen
Hayley Pedersen

We loved it - casual vibe but very well put together food. We opted for a tapas style meal (small plates) and tried the carnival chicken, onion-crusted grouper, and mushroom paperdalle - all wonderful. We also went on a Wednesday, which I would highly recommend if you are adventurous and like wine. I would also recommend bringing a nice but unusual wine... they seem to be appreciated by the participants!

funchey1 moderator editor

Oh, Dennis. 


Another "review" the sounds like it was written by Steve Zobel's publicist. Why would anyone want to read this rubbish?