We got a sad email this week from Chef Kevin McCarthy, the guy who introduced us to Southwestern cooking way back with his original Armadillo Cafe in west Davie 20 years ago, always our go-to spot for shrimp grits and chocolate fritters. The fourth and last incarnation of the animal was Armadillo Beach Cafe on Federal Highway in Davie -- a couple of weeks ago, Kevin was forced to shut the restaurant down because of rising overhead costs, and it doesn't sound like he's going to open another place anytime soon, if ever. Once upon a time, we wrote:
"It looks as if the Armadillo's protective armor -- composed of one part stubbornness and two parts adaptability -- has kept fortune's outrageous arrows bouncing off it like so many hurled toothpicks. McCarthy's persistence would be irksome if it didn't ultimately spread so much joy around."
One of those arrows finally scored a direct hit, and this is sorry news indeed. But McCarthy has hardly stopped thinking about food. As he mused in the email he sent us:
"Really love the art of creating and cooking food. The last couple weeks a good friend of mine was raising heirloom tomatoes in Davie, all sorts of different varieties and they tasted amazing. It brought me back to the days growing up in New Jersey. In a lot of ways chefs love both sushi and barbecue. And one of the things we love about sushi, is just being able to fabricate a cool roll or Maki and hand it to the diner. And if restaurants were only that simple, then it would truly be bliss. No screwing around with bookkeeping, utilities, prostitution stings on your doorstep, employees, old air conditioners, streetlights that don't work, toilets that leak, just one-on-one. And barbecue.......we like it 'cause it tastes so good!"
Kevin, you can roll our sushi any time.