Set in a suburban shopping center in Sunrise, Bash American Bistro looks just like any other café from the outside.
But behind the beige exterior lies an eclectic, cheerful atmosphere.
A chalkboard wall with draft beer specials spelled out in bright colors highlights the bar, and decorative beer taps sit right in front of the door. Exposed Edison bulbs hang from the ceiling. Dark wood wainscoting highlights the array of local art adorning the walls, a multifarious collection, ranging from local wildlife photography to pop-art images of the Beatles. The effect is the same as walking into someone's home: intimate, warm, and totally unpretentious.
Just over a year ago, the well-known restaurant, beloved by in-the-know locals, relocated from its former site on Oakland Park Boulevard to its new digs near Nob Hill Road. Owned by mom-and-pop team Kimberly Lynn and Shannon Weiberg, the restaurant serves classic American comfort food with a modern twist.
Dale's "Fall Off the Bone" beef short rib, one of the most popular dishes on the menu, is braised in birch beer for hours, then grilled and brushed with a house-made barbecue sauce.
Another favorite, black truffle beggar's purses, combine black truffle and aged cheeses inside a thin pocket of pasta with a light Champagne cream sauce and a drizzle of balsamic.
Marinated and grilled chicken breast is brushed with a signature apricot chipotle glaze and finished with fresh goat cheese in the popular apricot chipotle chicken.
An impressive 12-ounce frenched pork chop is soaked in a blend of Unibroue Éphémère apple beer, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and spices. Like most of the entrées (with a few exceptions), it's served with a side and a daily vegetable.
"Shannon really likes to try to incorporate the beers into his food," says Lynn. "He's not making food like anyone else out here."
Although the aforementioned dishes are always on the menu -- regulars were displeased when they previously tried removing some -- Weiberg tweaks the menu every two to three months based on availability.
Specials are offered daily, including changing flatbreads (like chicken bruschetta and fresh mozzarella with warm bacon kale salad), homemade ravioli (including butternut squash and fresh herb and three cheeses with shrimp and fra diavolo), and a variety of seafood and other entrées.
In true mom-and-pop fashion, it really is a team effort between Lynn and Weiberg.
Weiberg is responsible for the majority of the menu, and Lynn takes care of the front of the house and desserts. Her revered mile-high carrot cake is always on the menu, while other selections, like the flourless chocolate cake, rotate in and out. Lynn can also be seen rotating in and out among the tables, greeting regulars and newcomers alike and making sure everyone is enjoying his or her experience.
The restaurant strives to use local vendors whenever possible. It works with Doris Italian Market, just a few doors down, as well as local farmers and seafood purveyors.
"Being a small business, we feel like we should support other small businesses," says Lynn.
Though the restaurant is known across South Florida for its creative fare -- patrons frequently drive from Boca Raton and even Homestead -- it's also been at the forefront of the craft beer scene.
Several years ago, the restaurant teamed up with Brown Distributing to compile a list of interesting local and far-flung brews from small-scale producers.
Lynn and Weiberg started putting together various beer events, including beer-versus-wine tastings that pair a craft beer and a boutique wine to each dish in a quest to see which is better.
In addition to the biannual beer-versus-wine dinner, the restaurant hosts other beer events every month or two.
Since it got involved in the scene early on, Bash has maintained strong relationships with Florida breweries, including Cigar City, helping to secure limited-release beers -- it also regularly offers Funky Buddha, Due South, and Wynwood Brewery.
On May 14 at 7 p.m., Bash is hosting a Cigar City Dinner with some rare selections. For $70 to $75 per person (details are still being hashed out), the five-course dinner will feature the Oatmeal Cream Imperial Porter, Margarita Gose (a German-style brew with salt and lime), Tangerine Berliner Weisse, Double IPA, and Barley Wine.
A mead tasting will follow in June or July.
When they first met a decade ago, neither chef Weiberg nor former human resources manager Lynn thought they would ever own a restaurant together -- never mind one known as West Broward's preeminent craft beer spot -- but it's been a match made in foodie heaven.
"It was a very natural fit," says Lynn. "Sometimes you look for those pairings, and you just can't find them."
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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