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First Bite: Dapur in Fort Lauderdale

 Dapur is smoker-friendly. Retro-chrome and vinyl bar tables frame one side of the entrance, a fountain with greenery on the other. Papery chandeliers light the mood: all this before a diner even opens the door. 

Inside, speakers that would dwarf a child 
pump beats so loud you feel it from in your chest. A giant golden Buddha meditates against the wall in the dining room while another lounges in a painting framed in purple. Gossamer room dividers flutter in a fan-induced breeze. Orchids pose in bursts of magenta. 

At 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday, Dapur may sound like a club, yet it's still a restaurant. One table houses a father and his grown children. A bunch of two-tops host lovelies and their guys in starched, collared shirts looking slightly uncomfortable. 

The most relaxed folks are those at the bar: A dozen women on one leg of the black-lacquered -L, a handful of guys in T-shirts as tight as condoms on the other, waiting for the flip-switch from restaurant to club.

Dapur touts itself as an Asian fusion trendsetter, with an extensive menu of steamed and fried small plates ($4 to $12), soups, specialty sushi rolls ($12 to $18), and big plates ($12 to $20). 

The cocktail list here is the first I've seen in Lauderdale that illuminates a cognizance that the rest of the country has graduated past -tinis. The offerings are twofold: an old-school menu of Negronis, Screwdrivers, Greyhound, Old Fashioneds, and Caipirinhas for $10 on one side, house cocktails named for locations around the world -- Panama Red and Dartsmoor, for example -- on the other.

Stick to the raw fish for now -- an extensive selection of sashimi and specialty rolls -- but heads up: It can be had only in the dining room, where there's no bar seating, only table service. 

Take a pass on the bony miso cod medallions with the honey miso glaze ($12) or the oxtail soup ($6) served with bright-red meat still adhesive to the bone in a fatty lemongrass broth: evidence of a half-assed skim job. 

Dapur,1620 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-306-2663.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter. Follow me @melissamccart

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