Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale - 2007
Josef's - CLOSED
Readers' Choice: Canyon Restaurant
This modest little restaurant is probably not the kind of place you'd stumble into accidentally. What looks like a sullen strip mall transforms, as you walk through the door at Josef's, into a full-blown fantasy of a quaint, alpine inn. Nor does it resemble in form or spirit the grand eateries that tend to gobble up all the "Best" awards year after year. It's run not by a celebrity chef but by a taciturn, practically anonymous bear of an Austrian named Josef Schibanetz and his American wife, Beth, who've been quietly going about the business of making Plantation gourmets ecstatic for four years. Their menu is distinguished by its devotion to the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of Italy and its major city, Trieste, where a hybrid Austrian-Italian cuisine has developed over the years, incorporating influences from Spain and France. Thus, a casserole of shrimp with grappa and Edam sits comfortably next to garlic-sautéed frog legs Proven?ale, and a venison loin with pomegranate sauce and roasted pear might appear at the same table as crispy soft-shelled crab with fennel salad and yellow pepper aioli. These luscious European dishes are served with no pretensions, just hospitable warmth and perhaps a glass of good, fruity Friuli wine. Dessert appears as homemade strudel with a jaunty paper-thin hat of pastry and a complimentary plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries.