The Place: Grand Lux Café in Aventura Mall is a cavernous Venice-inspired restaurant that has a Las Vegas feel in its multiple rooms with faux finished pale yellow walls, pillars with cylindrical lights, high ceilings and large custom-made round glass lights suspended from the ceiling. There is a full bar and tables inside, on an outdoor terrace and under umbrellas in the mall at the entrance.
The History: This small chain with restaurants in seven states is owned by David Oberton, founder of the Cheesecake Factory; it is part of his casual empire with corporate headquarters based in Calabasas in Los Angeles County. He is still testing and tasting recipes for both chains. In 2006, manager Louis Migacz opened Grand Lux. Of Polish and Irish descent, he was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida, and studied engineering at Florida International University. After working at the Riverside Hotel on Las Olas Boulevard while in school, he decided he preferred to manage restaurants. He worked there seven years before opening here.
The Food: Dishes here are internationally inspired but fit American tastes. There’s no such thing in Korea as a fried chicken burrito with kimchi, bento boxes in Japan filled with steak au poivre, or Parmesan crusted chicken served with pasta, but they are popular here. There’s breakfast chilaquiles with eggs scrambled with tortilla chips smothered in ranchero sauce and pepper-jack cheese; wonton nachos with wasabi cream; pastrami potato tots; meal-size salads; burgers; chicken pot pie; pastas; Cajun jambalaya; steaks; chops and baby back ribs; fresh seafood; and gargantuan desserts. One can eat healthfully with kale, quinoa and farro salad; crispy sesame tofu with brown rice; and a veggie burger made with grains, beans, mushrooms and peppers. Indochine shrimp and chicken curry is sweetened with sun-dried cherries and apricots. There’s also miso-glazed salmon; tempura fish and chips with peanut slaw; and spicy ginger beef. Carrot cake with citrus cream cheese frosting comes with clouds of whipped cream.
You Didn’t Know This: If you order during the end of your meal, you can get a dozen fresh baked chocolate chip pecan cookies in a box to go for $7.95. They take 12 to 15 minutes to bake in the bakery inside the restaurant. You can also call ahead 30 minutes before stopping by and just pick up a box of the cookies while they’re still warm.
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If You Go
The Place: Grand Lux Café
Address: 19575 Biscayne Boulevard, Aventura Mall (second level between the Sears and Nordstrom buildings)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday 10 a.m.-11 p.m. (weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m.)
Prices: mini bites and appetizers $4.95-$13.50, salads $9.50-$18.95, sandwiches/burgers $11.50-$14.95, entrees $14.50-$29.95, desserts $6.95-$8.95
F.Y.I: Another Grand Lux is located at 1780 Sawgrass Mills Circle, Sunrise, 954-838-9711