Dining roundup

PDQ off to a pretty darn good start in Oakland Park

 

ewalker@MiamiHerald.com

It’s always a good sign to see new restaurants opening and entrepreneurs willing to invest in an opportunity for growth. Here are three new faces in Broward that cover a wide-range of cuisines and dining territory.

PDQ

The Oakland Park location is the first in South Florida for PDQ, a fast-casual chicken chain by two of Outback Steakhouse’s founders. PDQ stands for both “Pretty Darn Quick” and “People Dedicated to Quality.” Either motto works.

The only proteins on the menu (at least for now) are chicken and turkey, grilled and fried. Chicken tenders are the signature item, but the sandwich and salad choices are not afterthoughts by any means.

PDQ prides itself on using fresh ingredients and still having your food ready in an average of one minute and 20 seconds, said Casey Rockerman, president of PDQ Restaurants of the Palm Beaches, which plans to open 30 to 40 outlets from Vero Beach to the Keys over the next five years.

“We don’t have any freezers or any microwaves,” Rockerman said. “We hand-bread the chicken tenders, slice the potatoes for the french fries, make the salad dressing and cut all the lettuce every day.”

Staffers roam the expansive dining room — a cheery place with flat-screen televisions — to offer help.

The chicken tenders are among the best we’ve tasted — perfectly crispy outside, moist inside and not a bit greasy. A grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, candied almonds, craisins and blueberry-ginger vinaigrette would be my go-to quick meal if the restaurant were closer. Fries came out hot and crispy, and the Oreo milkshake is so thick you need an extra wide straw and lots of suction. The only things that didn’t wow us were the Thanksgiving turkey sandwich and blueberry coleslaw.

PDQ; 3359 N. Federal Hwy., Oakland Park; 954-874-8528, eatpdq.com; tenders $4.29-$9.29, sandwiches $4.29, $7.29; salads $6.29, $7.49; shakes $2.99-$4.99.

Tipsy Boar

Fulvio Sardelli has converted his Luce restaurant into The Tipsy Boar, billed as the first gastrobpub in downtown Hollywood. In the kitchen is another local name, chef Michael Blum, formerly of Michael’s Kitchen.

There’s still a long bar running the length of the narrow restaurant plus tables inside and out. Arrive early for a quiet dinner. Craft beer lovers will find more than 40 selections on tap and 35 by the bottle.

The menu is still in flux, but other than a few large plates, everything is under $15 including bar bites, croquettes, sliders, sandwiches, salads and pizza.

There’s potential here, but the execution needs work. Stuffed chorizo olives were greasy, and lamb gyro croquettes were bland and fell apart. A Millionaire Bacon Burger with onions, Cheddar and orange rum barbecue sauce was more successful. Maine lobster mac and cheese was decadent and flavorful, but brandy overpowered the sauce.

The Tipsy Boar, 1906 Harrison St., Hollywood; 954-920-2627, thetipsyboar.com; sliders $7-$10, salads $8-$13; pizza $10-$14, sandwiches and burgers $9-$14, large plates $15-$24.

Mazelli’s

The atmosphere at this small neighborhood restaurant in Plantation’s Central Park Plaza is more upscale than its prices. It’s the perfect place to bring the family. Most everything is under $13, and many portions are large enough to share. Be aware, though, that entrees and pastas don’t come with soup or salad as would be typical at a place like this.

The majority of menu items are Italian standards and pizza, but you’ll also find a handful of Cuban and Mexican dishes. The menu needs editing in more ways than one, as some items are listed twice in different sections with slight variations in ingredients and different prices.

Stick to the basics; this is not the place for experimenting. A stuffed mushroom appetizer wasn’t worth the money. Some of the best items are simple ones such as baked ziti with meatballs or spicy chicken rigatoni with bell peppers and broccoli. Chicken Marsala lacked flavor, needing wine and mushrooms. Pizzas have a nice, crispy-thin crust but splurge for some extra toppings to add heft.

Mazelli’s Italian Restaurant, 9763 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation; 954-423-3326; appetizers $3.75-$6.95, salads $3.95-$9.95, pastas and baked specialties $8.95-$12.95, entrees $11.95-$13.95.

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