By Steve Pike
If you think Big City Tavern in Fort Lauderdale is just another Las Olas hipster bar, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Part of the Big Time Restaurant Group portfolio, Big City Tavern combines the best of a neighborhood restaurant and bar with the high energy South Florida lifestyle to create a terrific atmosphere for those seeking lunch, brunch, dinner, a late-night meal, or just a happy hour cocktail.
“People go to a lot of the new restaurants, but they always end up coming back here,’’ said Chef Steven Zobel. “It’s kind of like an old standby.’’
In other words, Big City Tavern is the quintessential Fort Lauderdale restaurant and bar, with outstanding craft cocktails, Sangria on tap, and probably the best Smoked Old Fashioned in Fort Lauderdale. Big City Tavern was the first Fort Lauderdale eatery to offer a Frose’ that now has become one of the more popular drinks in South Florida.
“We offer things you can’t get anywhere else on Las Olas,’’ said Big City Tavern Manager Daniel Sobey. “Pizza, steak, seafood. We have something for everybody. And we’ve been here 15 years, so we have a good customer base.’’
Indeed, the menu items that run the gamut from baked items, such as the Walnut Banana Bread with Pecan Butter, to the best Asian Chicken Wings you might ever eat, to Butcher’s Meatballs and Cheese Ravioli to the Rigatoni Bolognese.
Big City Tavern also serves a great weekend brunch that includes an outstanding Andouille Hash with six-minute egg and hollandaise, and Proscuitto and Avocado Toast.
If you can’t find something that fits your taste buds on the Big City Tavern menu, you’re not looking hard enough.
“We try to keep the dishes just as simple as possible,’’ Zobel said. “That’s what people expect. They’re not coming here for foie gras or whatever. So, we try to do what we do well and keep it simple.’’
The Rigatoni Bolognese, Zobel said, is the restaurant’s most popular pasta; the Pan Roasted Salmon Filet the most popular fish entrée; and the Asian Chicken Wings the most popular appetizer.
Sporting just the right amount of tang and kick, the Asian Chicken Wings are Zobel’s way of paying homage to the fabled Korean Chicken Wings at Bonchon Chicken in his native New York City.
The wings themselves are worth a visit to Big City Tavern. The Shrimp Pad Thai is a “must have,’’ as are the meatballs. You also can’t go wrong with the House Burger. And be sure to check out the Daily Burger Special, which could be simple or could be a bit off the wall. You just never know.
“I like to explore and cook and have some fun,’’ Zobel said.
You’ll have fun, too, at Big City Tavern.