This week in Dish, we take a look at the maestro of meatballs that is Steve Martorano and his latest restaurant in Seminole Paradise at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. This third incarnation of his restaurant is bigger and glitzier than the original Cafe Martorano on Oakland Park. But the party vibe and luxe take on Italian-American food remains the same. Check out an excerpt from our review after the jump.
We'd just been seated at a small, white-clothed table at Martorano's Italian Kitchen. The four of us -- starving thanks to our late-night reservation and screaming over the blasting sound system -- couldn't help but laugh at the title of owner Steve Martorano's upcoming book, which was proudly being hawked via a laminated card set on every table alongside the silverware. The autobiography, Yo, Cuz -- It Ain't Sauce, It's Gravy: The Steve Martorano Story featured an image of the tattooed chef wearing a neckful of bling and looking every bit like the South Philly version of Mickey Rourke. The book, due this fall, covers Martorano's rags-to-riches story, explains why you better not dare call his sumptuous tomato gravy mere "marinara sauce," and features some of the famous recipes he inherited from his mama. The advertisement for it instantly recalled the equally amusing 15-foot-tall image of Martorano looking down across Hard Rock Seminole Paradise from the side of his palatial new restaurant. The level of ego and over-the-top Italian pride was just too ridiculous not to crack wise at.
"He looks like the white Mr. T," my friends Fenton mused as he looked over the card. "Only instead of asking kids to drink milk, it's gravy."