One Door East, 620 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33301
I first met master mixologist, Jared Boller, at Kuro inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. I was totally blown away by his mad drink-mixing skills, so when he insta-messaged me a few weeks ago telling me about a new restaurant he jumped ship for, I knew it had to be special.
I arrived at “One Door East” in Fort Lauderdale on a Friday night after hosting Deco Drive. Despite only being open for a little over a month, the place was packed and brimming with foodie excitement. The open-air, industrial-style restaurant is built around a large, beautiful bar; perfect for social gatherings, date night or happy hour. It’s also tailor-made for a guy like Jared, who lives and breathes the latest and greatest in cocktail culture.
The drink menu, which is inspired by fresh ingredients from around the world, is perfect for the person who possesses an adventurous palette. In fact, each cocktail is named after a country and made to evoke an indigenous journey of taste. I took a sip of Japan, India, China, Thailand, Jamaica and Italy. Each beverage was creative, appealing to the eye and enticing to the tastebuds.
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but India was large and in charge (made with yellow curry, kaffir lime, juniper berry, grapefruit, indian tonic water and gin.) Thailand was an aesthetically pleasing light purple (garnished with butterfly pea flowers, vanilla, manzanilla sherry, creme de violate and Bombay sapphire.) Jamaica was candidly strong, packing a major punch (made with Jamaican jerk syrup, black soy sauce, lime and smith & cross rum) and everyone at the table went goo-goo over Italy (made with espresso beans, vanilla cream, amaro and Nutella vodka.) Yes, I said NUTELLA VODKA. My life will never be the same SMH.
The food menu, which is tapas-style, is divided into cold and hot (along with nightly specials.) That being said, the first cold dish to arrive was the fresh and delightful “Fluke Tartar” (mixed with fennel, asian pear, madras curry and watermelon radish.) The “Tuna Tacos” and “Beet & Blue Crab Salad” were yummy, but it was the “Scallop Crudo” (with cucumber and caviar) and “Beau Soleil Oysters” (with an outstanding strawberry mignonette) that blew me away.
On the warmer side, I tried the soft and smokey “Grilled Romaine,” the tender “House-Made Kielbasa” and the beautifully presented “Octopus A La Plancha, which comes with whipped chickpeas. The “Oxtail & King Trumpet Gyoza” (oxtail dumplings) and the “Crackling Shrimp” with sweet chile sauce were my absolute favorites, but the real A+ goes to the “Roasted Cauliflower Steak” (served with raisins, brown butter, capers and madras, which is curry powder.) This was so unique and tasty. Plus, who knew I liked cauliflower so much? My mom would be surprised; that’s for sure.
For dessert, “One Door East” really outdid themselves serving “Warm Doughnuts” (doused in pumpkin seed sugar and served with chocolate ganache and caramel.) Next was the “Key Lime Blueberry Cheesecake” with a poppy seed sorbet. Last but not least, “Sponge Cake” (with squash, apple, ricotta and pecan) easily ushered in fall with each scrumptious pumpkin-y bite.
What do I like most about “One Door East”? It’s all about balance. Meaning, everything is sensational. The drinks, dishes and desserts work in harmony, complimenting one another. Most restaurants usually do one thing really great. Not here — they do everything exceptionally well. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love it or if you just wanna hang out at the hippest new place in South Florida, “One Door East” is definitely the spot and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.
Monday through Thursday 5pm-12pm & Friday-Saturday 5pm-1am. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 5pm-6:30pm.
The restaurant is actually “One Door East” of famed Italian eatery, Valentino Cucina. Both are the brainchild of Chef Giovanni Rocchi and his companion, Elke Quintana. Even though the two restaurants are connected via a spacious hall, the concepts are totally different but equally as enticing. When you walk up to the building housing both places — to the right (which is west) is Valentino — to the left (which is east) is “One Door East.” Pretty cool, right?
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