On a weeknight at d.b.a./café on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale we overheard diners carefully enunciating the name of the restaurant's toque, Steven Zobel. "Zohhhh-bullll, one man said carefully to his dining companion."
The New York City-born-and-bred chef first arrived in South Florida in April 2011. Looking for better weather and a change of pace he landed at the Atlantic Resort & Spa's East End Brasserie. Yet after a year of cooking at the beachfront eatery economic realities forced the staff to compromise its haute-cuisine menu with hotel standards like happy hour and Caesar salad. In his own words he was "miserable."
Fate and a Craigslist ad brought him and Il Mercato alums Mike Lynch and Tom Moynihan together. The pair already had a space secured and were looking for someone to run the kitchen. Zobel was looking for a place where he could flex his fine-cooking muscles while also trying out different things.