Best New Restaurant in Broward Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2008 - Christine's - CLOSED
When the great restaurants in any city are increasingly operated by celebrity chefs in partnership with luxury resorts or millionaire backers, you've gotta love these two young locals (Steve Shockey and Gregory Rhatagan), a couple of guys brave or insane enough to do it on their own. Christine's, which opened just a couple of months ago, is a lovingly executed example of opposing forces: it's fine dining in an elegantly minimalist space, but still seductive, comfortable, and utterly unpretentious. Your waiter intelligently answers any question you throw at him, he knows how to remove a plate or refill a glass almost invisibly, but he's relaxed and charming. The live jazz on the mezzanine is the ideal accompaniment to Chef Shockey's contemporary world menu, which, while small and focused, has a kind of slinky urban sophistication in the details: a bit of corn essence here, a huckleberry compote there, a drizzle of tomato truffle emulsion. He produces dishes both familiar and strange — crab cakes, yes, but with bacon and tasso gravy; kampachi, yes, but served as sashimi with wilted spinach, sautéed shiitakes, and kimchee sauce. The place already has a loyal local fan club. We've never met anybody who didn't fall in love there at first night.UPDATE: This location is now closed.