Though the weather may be sultry, the lobster bisque (served very hot) at East End Eats -- which opened 11 days ago -- is worth a detour. Stocked with loads of Maine lobster claw, the soup is so decadent that Vice President Joe Biden asked for quarts to take home.
East End Eats' owner J.P. Ottino says that he knows Biden as
"a personal friend -- it's not political" and that Biden stopped by
Ottino's home during a recent visit to the area. Ottino served him the
bisque as a first course (and gave him a goody bag).
Made with seafood stock and cream,
dressed with a dash of cayenne, sherry, and a pinch of chopped
scallions, the bisque is a recipe of chef Megan Pelloquin, whom Ottino
plucked from New Orleans.
Pelloquin has drawn up a menu featuring muffins ($3.50), breakfast
sandwiches (under $5), omelets (under $8) soups ($4.50 to $8), salads
($5 to $20), wraps ($6.50 to $9), sandwiches ($7 to $9), and a handful of
specialties such as shrimp and grits ($10), empanadas (two for $8),
lobster mac and cheese ($15), and a quiche of the day ($7).
I loved the crusty half-loaf served with the bisque. Pelloquin and Flanagan bake it in-house, along with all breads and muffins
sold at East End Eats. I wasn't as enamored of the empanadas. Though
the crust was flaky and buttery, the Argentine ground sirloin is seasoned "with
Island spices" that didn't offer enough kick or complexity. And, like
the soup, these come out hotter than hell. Give yourself a minute before
taking a bite.
special-order cakes and pies will be offered beginning today. (Try the Key lime tart.)
Having retired last year as a developer of Corporate Amenities LLC, Ottino was intrigued by the potential of the location when the family that owned Barbara Young Bake Shop shut its doors.
needed a takeout place like this one in the Las Olas area for a long
time," said the Fort Lauderdale native. "Something that offers healthy
meals with an emphasis on fresh for people on vacation who may not want
to cook or who may be coming from the beach."
logo is of three clocks, pegged at 8 a.m., five till noon,
and 4 p.m. -- to reinforce to-go meals of breakfast, lunch, and after-beach snacks. Check out the collection of 25 actual clocks in the bathroom.
Though the emphasis at East End Eats is on
takeout, the café offers a handful of tables framed by old-timey Fort
Lauderdale photos, an open kitchen, spiffed-up deli cases, and a
said he wanted to open now, in the offseason, "to work out the kinks, to
refine what we'll do, and to get a feel for the clientele."
If they're anything like Ottino's house guest, East End Eats will do just fine.