Fort Lauderdale has no dearth of restaurant options.
Want to throw on your fanciest LBD? Go for it.
Craving something fast and casual? Just take a drive down US1.
Desire dining al fresco? You're sure to find something on Las Olas.
Looking for a small laid-back place with inventive food, great beer, and friendly service? Now you're limiting your options.
Well, Fort Lauderdale recently got its newest 'modern mom-and-pop shop' with craft beer, boutique wine, and innovative menu: Hot and Soul.
Owned by husband-and-wife chef team Michael Hampton and Christy Samoy, it's an independent neighborhood spot focused on homestyle food from the US and abroad. "We're a lot more turned on by great ethnic restaurants and mom-and-pops," said Hampton. "We get our inspiration from all of these places."
After meeting in college, in Tallahassee 21 years ago, the couple decided to attend culinary school in New Orleans. While the restaurant is not solely Cajun, there is much evidence of their time spent in NOLA. Dishes like the Gumbo Yumbo ($16) made of ham hock, andouille sausage, and chicken gumbo served with scallion rice; pork cheek grillades with dirty rice ($14), and gulf shrimp etoufee with poached ranch egg ($16) show off the couple's time spent in the region.
However, the menu runs the gamut. Italian Gnaughty Gnocchi ($16) with oxtail, San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and pecorino; Filipino Chicken Adobo ($14) with soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, and jasmine rice; and Hunk a Meat ($9), a country pate with pickles, homemade mustard, and mango paste incorporate flavors from across the world.
Although the base menu is comprised of about 12 to 13 dishes, numerous specials are offered daily. "We add things based on what's around, what we get, and what we feel like," said Hampton.
Everything is made in-house, from the bread and gnocchi to the mustard and hot sauces. Samoy even makes her own grapefruit and ginger sodas. "We take the soul on our t-shirts very seriously," said Hampton, "This is grandma food: passed down from generation to generation."
To keep up with the authenticity in the beverage department, the spot focuses on selling microbrews and boutique wines. Currently the restaurant is offering Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Ommegang Hennepin, Palm Speciale Belge Ale, and Cigar City Maduro Brown on tap for 6 to 8 bucks. Wines range from the Spanish red Izadi Tempranillo Riserva ($10/ $36) to New Zealand Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc ($8/ $28).
In addition to Tuesday through Saturday dinner service, the spot offers a Sunday brunch from 11 to 3:30 pm. Brunch items range from cat head biscuits with mango jam and dulce de leche ($5) to steak and eggs with gnocchi hash and homemade steak sauce ($18), with multiple options in between.
"We're trying to give everyone who walks through the door a great experience," said Hampton, "We're not trying to be everything to everyone, but if we believe in what we're doing, we're going to come off as authentic: that's the goal."
Hot and Soul is located at 3045 N. Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale (near the Culture Room). Call (754) 206-2155, or visit their Facebook page.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.