Having recently purchased a condominium on the New River and Las Olas in downtown Fort Lauderdale, I have taken a tour of the neighborhood and its surrounding restaurants.
Being familiar with Hardy Park, I was not aware of the Hardy Park Bistro until I had passed the place several times. From the street, it appeared to be quite plain.
On a rainy night recently, my daughter Kate and I were driving through the neighborhood when she suggested stopping for something to eat. I tried explaining that the menu served at Hardy Park Bistro would probably not be to her liking.
Kate retorted that she had Yelp'd the place and that it had good reviews.
Upon crossing the street from a parking meter, we were immediately met by our server. Sarah questioned whether we wanted to be seated inside or out. Although it was still raining a bit, Kate and I opted to sit outside and watch the weightlifters at the gym next door. Kate commented that some of the women lifted as much as the men.
Sarah took our order - the $13.50 Octopus Salad for me and the $5.00 French Fries for Kate.
While waiting for dinner, my eight-year old questioned the menu. Kate wanted to know why there were so few "kid friendly" items. Sarah explained that the menu changed weekly and that you could always find something on it to eat. Kate responded with a "yes" - French Fries.
A few moments later, a gentleman came out and served Kate and I with Arancini, which is - essentially - stuffed rice balls that are coated with breadcrumbs and fried. We shared them while awaiting our dinner. Later that evening, I Googled the name to learn exactly what was in them.
About ten minutes later, Kate and I were served dinner. French Fries are not really hard to describe, so I won't bore you with the details. As for the Octopus Salad, it contained grilled octopus with arugula, roasted tomatoes, garlic and eggplant. I don't remember the type of dressing but I had no complaint.
Delicious food in an unobtrusive urban bistro is a rare find in a city like Fort Lauderdale. Not kid friendly from the menu perspective but definitely worth a shot if you are dining with your spouse or on a date. No bar - beer and wine only.
Our server Sarah did a great job and provided excellent service. I will definitely dine at the Hardy Park Bistro again. The next time I will try the Braised Short Ribs with Carrot Puree, Black Beans and Broccolini...
/s/ William E. Lewis Jr., Davie, Fort Lauderdale and Vero Beach, Florida
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