Dinner at Bash Wine Cafe & Catering in Sunrise
Pettineo and co-owner Veronica Lopez run Bash, a tiny cafe and wine bar nestled into the white-washed plaza that faces Oakland Park Boulevard and University Drive in Sunrise. The restaurant is barely as big as an average living room and is about as visually impressive (note to self: Black vinyl tablecloths make a restaurant look like a funeral parlor). But the staff is friendly and enthusiastic, and Pettineo's cooking is passionate. And the prices are recession-proof.
The pork chop I had came with sauteed spinach (Bash's vegetable of the day) and a wedge of potatoes au gratin that looked like a starchy version of lasagna, all for only $15. The al dente potatoes were layered with a not-too-thick cream sauce and gobs of melty cheddar and jack cheeses. I ended up taking half of the meaty, thick pork chop to go. It felt like the kind of food my mother would cook when I was growing up, only Pettineo's recipes are way more refined than Betty Crocker's.
Our table also sampled a plate of pumpkin ravioli -- Bash features a unique ravioli special as well as one seafood special every day. I enjoyed the silky pasta (I wonder if Pettineo uses wonton wrappers to make her square ravioli) and the dense, pumpkin filling; I only wish the brown butter sauce and accompanying spices had been better spread out around the plate instead of congregating largely on one or two raviolis. Still, for $12, it was a great meal.
I'll definitely be going back to Bash to check out more of Pettineo's home-spun cooking: I've yet to try the apricot chipotle chicken topped with goat cheese or the short ribs braised in Mr. Pibb (the chef must be a huge fan of soda). With nothing over $20 on the menu, I could afford to go for every Dolphins game this year. Hopefully they win one next time.
Bash Wine Cafe and Catering
8067 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise
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