Dining out on a budget is one of my favorite pastimes. So, it is only natural that I took advantage of Dine Out Lauderdale, Ft. Lauderdale’s answer to Miami Spice. When you have high-end restaurants offering $35 fixed price meals, it’s hard to pass up. Since it was a place that I have been meaning to try for some time, I made sure to pay Johnny V a visit. This Las Olas restaurant has made a name for itself since opening in 2003. I had to find out for myself if they would live up to their reputation.
The restaurant isn’t very big, but it’s cozy. We had a view of the kitchen and the bar from our table. The “open kitchen” concept seems to be popular these days. I like seeing what is happening to my food, though.
The first course was a smoked tomato soup. I hate canned tomato soup, but I was curious about this soup. My apprehensions were unfounded, as this soup was excellent. The smoked tomatoes gave the soup a rich, smokey flavor. To even compare it to canned soup would be an injustice. They served it with some herbed goat cheese crostini. Tipping the crostini in the soup was the way to go, as the tang of the goat cheese offset the richness of the soup perfectly.
For the second course, I had the blue corn crusted calamari. After one bite, my first thought was “why don’t more places crust their calamari in blue corn!?” It was great, with just the right hint of sweet heat from the tropical salsa on top. Plus, they were crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
I must confess that, whenever I see New York Strip Steak on a menu, it is very likely that I will order it. The sliced steak at Johnny V was served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini and squash. My steak, for one, was cooked to a perfect medium temperature. The vegetables were tender, not mushy, and the mashed potatoes were perfectly creamy. I cleaned my plate.
The Three Berry Creme Brulee Pot Pie, on the other hand, was kind of a let-down. Despite the beautiful plating, I wasn’t too thrilled with the taste of this dessert. The custard was good, but the crust tasted kind of like a burnt cookie. I simply ate around it.
Johnny V is definitely doing something right. They took some dining staples and transformed them into something new and different. I would go back, but I would think twice about getting dessert the next time.
For more information on Johnny V, visit the web site at http://www.johnnyvlasolas.com/