After six years of renovations and government blue tape, the Chimney House Grill & Café is finally open for business. Set just a couple of blocks from Himmarshee Street, on the outskirts of Sailboat Bend in downtown Fort Lauderdale, this renovated historic house offers locals and neighborhood residents an alternative to the often-messy bar scene downtown.
I must admit, my guest and I were a bit surprised when we picked up our menus. "What does Chimney House have to do with Latin food?" asked my guest. We were half-expecting run-of-the-mill café food -- burgers, wraps. Mind you: We were sitting on the outside deck and failed to notice the prominent fireplace and chimney that make up the focal point of the restaurant's interior. Suffice it to say, we eventually figured it out.
Francisco Rodriguez, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Yady, refers to the cuisine as "Latin American Spanish." Dishes range from the $4 tortilla española, the traditional Spanish potato omelet, to the $16 golden jalea, a mixture of crispy seafood served with yuca and lime salsa criolla. The menu also features café staples such as the $10 Chimney House Burger served with white cheese, fried egg, and caramelized onion; the $8 oven-roasted turkey-breast sandwich served with cranberry marmalade, Swiss cheese, and house mayo; and the $9 blackened fish tacos with pico de gallo and queso fresco on a soft corn tortilla.
The most noteworthy -- and atypical -- section of the menu is, however, the ceviches. With a Peruvian chef, the restaurant features five ceviches. They range from the traditional $13 ceviche de la casa (classic mixed seafood marinated in lime, red onion, cilantro, and chili) to the $13 tuna ceviche "nikkei," a Japanese and Peruvian fusion of ahi tuna marinated in lime with nikkei sauce.
The Chimney House does not serve liquor; however, beer and wine are on the menu. There are a couple of draft beers available by the pint ($3) or pitcher ($10), a small selection of Argentine and Chilean wines, and house-made sangria, which is available by the glass ($5), half pitcher ($10), and pitcher ($18). Lavazza coffee, tea, and fresh fruit juices are also available.
The Chimney House has three sections: an inside dining room, a covered deck, and a lower patio. While the interior is more than comfortable, we have a feeling the outdoor deck and patio will be the main draws. Given the neighborhood location, the covered deck has the feel a front porch -- a nice spot to sit and watch the neighbors pass by as they head to and from the downtown bars. And in keeping with the dog-friendly vibe of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fido is allowed on the lower patio. The staff will even bring him a complimentary water bowl.
The Address is 701 West Las Olas Boulevard.
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