New Brass at the Brasserie

The only thing not new at Brasserie Las Olas (333 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-779-7374), it seems, is the name of the restaurant. Everything else has changed, from once-major player and proprietor Mark Soyka to the chef in charge of menu development. These days, restaurateur Doug Zeif, who cut his teeth on cheesecake by promoting the rapid expansion of the Cheesecake Factory across the nation for about a dozen years, now owns the place, along with his Boca Raton-based partner, attorney Ian Berkowitz (together, the two own Brasserie Las Olas' parent company, the restaurant consulting and development firm Fifth Taste). A second redirection has been supplied by just-hired executive chef Jerry Leskody, who co-owned Fins Dockside and honed his palate at a number of regional eateries, including Bistro Mezzaluna, Darrel & Oliver's Café Maxx, and Pranzo, which just received the "Best New Restaurant" award from Florida Trend magazine. What does all this mean? Perhaps, finally, a brasserie that can both embrace and exude the style, grace, and exuberance of the bustling street for which it is named.
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Jen Karetnick is an award-winning dining critic, food-travel writer, and author of the books Ice Cube Tray Recipes, Mango, and The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.
Contact: Jen Karetnick