Poorhouse Goes Upscale With Five-Star Chef and Gourmet Sliders

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Beer and Ping-Pong. Bacon and vodka. David Hasselhoff and a hand-held camera. Once in a blue moon, an unusual pairing of our favorite things comes together, bringing a smile to our face and joy to our little jaded hearts. Fort Lauderdale's Poorhouse offers a new and unusual pairing: cool dive bar and gourmet sliders. 

Poorhouse is the home to a motley crew of patrons from laid-back locals

to devastatingly cool, anti-hipster hipsters. Regardless of the

circle that you run in, Poorhouse is a bar where everyone is

welcome. Since it opened

in 1995, the bar has built a reputation for booking some of the best live music

acts in South Florida. Now it is using its creative energy to

build a reputation for serving some of the best food in South Florida. Don't let the dark

inner sanctum of the bar fool you; Poorhouse is now home to the darkest and best-kept secret in town... until now!

In the past year, sliders have become a fixture on many bar and restaurant menus, yet many of the sliders taste like they are being phoned in -- a pedestrian cheeseburger slider here, a lackluster meatball slider there. Notoriously overpriced, some restaurants' slider trios start at  $14.

Poorhouse is shaking things up a bit by bringing something different to the table. The bar's co-owner, Bob Pignone, and award-winning, five-star executive chef, Shashank Agtey, also known as "The Sidewalk Chef," recently joined forces to dream up a creative new slider menu featured at the bar in addition to its regular menu. The bar's new slider menu features distinctive gourmet sliders without the gourmet price tag. When designing the menu, Agtey and Pignone had a goal of making "top-of-the-line food at Poorhouse prices."   

"We wanted to create something that was upscale with a twist," Agtey said when asked about the slider menu's inspiration. Agtey recently worked as a caterer for America's Backyard and was later asked by Pignone to revamp the Poorhouse's menu. Agtey's résumé is nothing short of impressive. He has cooked for former Vice President Dan Quayle and former First Lady Barbara Bush. In addition, Agtey has worked as executive chef at several fine-dining restaurants, including the legendary Cafe Septembers and the Riverside Hotel on Las Olas. He has his own cookbook and company, Sidewalk Chef Enterprises, and will be teaching a course this fall at Miami-Dade College's new culinary institute. Needless to say, he can handle making a kick-ass slider!

Pignone and Agtey's new menu showcases nine distinctive sliders -- crab cake, seared scallop, smoked

salmon, tenderloin, French dip, pulled BBQ chicken, chicken tender with

a sweet Thai chili sauce, jalapeño bacon BLT, and a tasty lamb slider.

Choose any three sliders for under $9, a price that is perfect for ballers on a budget.

The popular tenderloin

slider is topped with crumbled blue cheese and a savory au poivre

sauce. Some of the sandwiches, such as the lamb slider and scallop slider, reflect Agtey's Indian background. The lamb slider is topped with veggies, feta, and

mirchi sauce (a slightly spicy Indian chili sauce). The scallop

slider is dry-rubbed and topped with alfalfa sprouts, then drizzled with a piquant tandoori aioli.

Other noteworthy specialty items that haven't made the permanent menu yet include the sweet potato fries with (are you sitting?) marshmallow gravy! Also be on the lookout for mac 'n' cheese made with crab meat and four cheeses and dessert sliders to satisfy your sweet tooth.

In June, the bar is hosting a special sliders, suds, and spirits event that will feature artists and, of course, live music. Check back with Clean Plate Charlie for more details on this event in the weeks to come.

Stop by the Poorhouse this week to try these tasty little sliders for yourself!

Food service:
Wednesday, Thursday 5:30 to midnight
Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 2 p.m.

Bonus: These sliders are also available at America's Backyard.


Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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