Over the last few decades, Fort Lauderdale has become quite a formidable competitor on the food scene. Many fine restaurants have made headlines there and as foodies from the neighboring southern city migrate northward, Ft. Lauderdale has been able to amply deliver.
A new kid on the block, part of a Big City Tavern, has been making his bones for about a year, ever since they opened on Las Olas Boulevard. Louie Bossi’s Ristorante-Bar-Pizzeria is one of those big concept, Italian-American eateries, reminiscent of Romano’s Macaroni Grill. It’s a big, lively, loud joint where the in-crowd comes to see and be seen.
I ventured out with my entourage in tow, on a rainy Saturday evening. As is common on Las Olas Boulevard, the restaurants and bars were packed, no rain shower would hold back weekend festivities. Louie Bossi was not immune to the crowds, their lovely outdoor garden was thronged with enthusiastic diners.
Even with reservations there was a bit of a wait. It was fine by me, as long as I could traverse my way to the bar. Now, I’m cool with a little pretentiousness, I expect it in South Florida. One thing that I’m absolutely not cool with being elbowed to the point that my cocktail spilleth over. There is nothing worse than that brazen form of alcohol abuse!
Louie Bossi was wall-to-wall people that night. One would think that the rain would convince them to stay home, but no, big buckets of rain seem to be a calling card in Ft. Lauderdale for hordes of posers and players to run amuck. Soon they were of no consequence, I seemed to have found that comfortable and familiar insular place after a few Grapefruit Martinis. I was contented by the soothing concoction of Ketel One Vodka, St. Germaine liquor and fresh grapefruit juice, I could care less about the weather or the crowds.
We were ushered over to our table and shortly graced with baskets of bread and olive oil dipping sauce. There were plenty of menu items that seemed appealing. I decided to pick from the Short Pasta list and settled on the Radiatori, penne pasta alla norma (giving into my Sicilian heritage) married with succulent eggplant, san Marzano sauce and ricotta salata. I hate to say it, but the food was somewhat bland. I doctored up my entrée with a dash of red pepper flakes, salt and parmesan cheese. This enhanced the flavors and I was seemingly satisfied with my meal.
If you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two, this is not the place for you. Speaking in high decibels will not sway your date. Louie Bossi’s is loud with mediocre food, which may be fun for large groups or informal get-togethers with friends, where food is not the main focus. In sum, Louie Bossi’s is great if you want to feed your social appetite but it certainly won’t quench a discerning palate.