Food News

Taste Notes: Sparrow Brunch Arrives with Fried Biscuits, Rooftop Views

Sunday brunch has arrived at Sparrow, with fried biscuits, bottomless punch bowls, and rooftop views.
Sunday brunch has arrived at Sparrow, with fried biscuits, bottomless punch bowls, and rooftop views. Photo courtesy of Sparrow
Boy, do we love a good brunch around here.

With "bottomless" options ever near, you’ll never go thirsty (or hungry) on weekends in South Florida.

Sparrow, the urban hideaway located on the 25th floor of the Dalmar, is joining Fort Lauderdale's brunch crowd with its new Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The menu for Sparrow's Sunday venture ranges from the healthy to sinfully decadent to things that are clearly on offer to help you through a God-awful hangover.

Ranging from $5 to $36, items on Sparrow's inaugural brunch menu include a tangy take on avocado toast (whipped ricotta, lemon confit, grain toast, and chili), sultry fried biscuits with local honey and salted butter, a skirt steak hash made up of wagyu beef, black beans, fried egg, caramelized pepper, and chimichurri, and a winter fruit bowl with citrus, carambola, and banana.

On the booze front, Sparrow's will offer bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, and other cocktails, along with shareable punch-bowl options. There’s a special “recovery cocktail” menu too, with healthy-ish concoctions like the A1A (Jalapeno Altos Blanca Tequila, celery and lime juices, Amontillado sherry, and salt). If you somehow shake that hangover, Sparrow's brunch desserts include fresh fried churros and a honey meringue infused key lime pie.

Looking beyond the menu — well, that's a big part of Sparrow's charm, with its panoramic views of the Fort Lauderdale skyline and the Atlantic in the distance. Whether you try the new brunch or go for dinner, Sparrow’s contemporary yet nostalgic vibe, lush with greenery, wooden elements, and decorative brass throughout its bar, lounge, and patio bar, never gets old.

Here are the other, often holiday-season-infused foodie finds around South Florida this week.

Apocalypse now. You’ve likely heard of the generally outrageous-sounding culinary concept REX BARON that is landing in Boca Raton. Billed as “a vigilante post,” and REX standing for “Restaurant, Entertainment, Xperience,” this spot promises modern American cuisine, apocalyptic-esque cocktails (like the Flame Thrower and the Tea-Rex), and a virtual-reality lounge with 32 stations. It opens Monday. Yours truly will be attending Wednesday's opening celebration (and hopes to survive). Check out next week's "Taste Notes" for thoughts on whether it’s totally brilliant, as the hype has it, or what critics are already calling a total bust.

Give a gift, get a drink. It’s a win-win at The Wharf Fort Lauderdale this Friday. WharfFTL has teamed up with Jack and Jill Children’s Center for a Riverfront Happy Hour Toy Drive amid its already awesome Riverfront Holiday Village, which is loaded with 500,000-plus lights, over-sized festive decor, and more. At the door, if you bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate, you get a free cocktail. There are also some “on-the-clock” specials from 4 to 7 p.m. with mules, mojitos, and margaritas starting at $4.

click to enlarge Scusi Trattoria, the latest from celebrated chef Laurent Tourondel, is open in Palm Beach Gardens. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THINK.SHOP
Scusi Trattoria, the latest from celebrated chef Laurent Tourondel, is open in Palm Beach Gardens.
Photo courtesy of Think.Shop
Coastal Italian North: Chef Laurent Tourondel, renowned for his L’Amico and The Vine restaurants in New York City as well as LT Steak & Seafood and The Alley in South Beach, recently opened Scusi Trattoria at 4520 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. Billed as a “coastal Italian culinary experience,” the spot offers fresh produce, slow-cooked sauces, and a variety of handmade pastas for dishes spanning small plates to traditional entrees.

A buzzin’ bonanza. Miami has Panther Coffee and Eternity Coffee Roasters and West Palm Beach is home to Subculture, among other top-notch local roasters. In Fort Lauderdale, Wells Coffee continues to edge ahead as a local fave for house-roasted beans and a solid latte. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., its Flagler Village roastery will host a Christmas Bonanza, with brunch, beverages, and jazz inside and out of its totally rad and contemporary space. In addition to Wells’ usual caffeine offerings, Billy’s Curbside Grill and Gui Jaroschy will serve up brunch morsels for purchase. Matt Calderin & Friends are musical guests.

Veg out. The Palm Beach VegFest hits Mizner Park Amphitheatre this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., loaded with vegan food vendors, local artisans, lots of lawn games, and all-around good vibes. Best of all, admission is free. If you can't make this VegFest, there's another scheduled for January 19 in West Palm Beach and one on March 20 in Boca Raton.

Say (mac and) cheese. I Heart Mac and Cheese continues to expand in reach and yum. The spot – where you can customize your own mac-and-cheese bowls, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more – just opened its Deerfield Beach location, at 3908 W. Hillsboro Blvd. The restaurant, which has locations in Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Boca Raton, Cooper City, and Jupiter, has added Beyond Meat options to its menu as well as Mac Bites, piled with lobster, buffalo chicken, or pepperoni. For the I Heart Mac and Cheese traditionalists, the Best of Both Worlds, a mac-and-cheese sandwich stuffed with slow-cooked short rib, cheeses, and BBQ sauce, remains a winner.

News and notes. Margaritaville in Hollywood is hosting a special Rock N’ Roll Breakfast on Saturday. This family-friendly affair includes a breakfast in the Margaritaville Restaurant (cinnamon buns, chicken and waffles, snowman pancakes, chai pudding with ginger-mango compote, and more) as well as a Holiday Kids Zone with storytelling, cookie decorating stations, and games. Music will be blasting throughout the whole experience, hints the Rock N' Roll name of this one. ... You can snag a bargain at Quarterdeck this month with its 25 Days of Christmas celebration. Every day through December 25, the local institution (with locations in Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Sawgrass, Davie, and Fort Lauderdale Beach) is putting its most popular entrees on special for $15.99 (with the purchase of a drink). This week, among the specials, you can enjoy a marinated skirt steak on December 12 and a full rack of baby back ribs on the 15th.  
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.