We went to the W-Hotel (401 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.,Fort Lauderdale) last night and attended a party at Steak 954 on the first floor. The hotel is a stunner. Stark but stunning.
They had the smarts to put the lobby on the third floor so there are great views of the beach and ocean instead of A-1-A. Be sure to visit the lobby and then walk up the stairs to the pool level. You are in for a pleasant surprise.
The restaurant is the brain child of Stephen Starr.
Starr is the power behind Philadelphia-based Starr Restaurants that include Buddakan, Morimoto, The Continental, Barclay Prime, Continental Mid-Town, El Vez, Jones, Alma de Cuba, Pod, Tangerine, Parc and Butcher and Singer as well as Morimoto and Buddakan in New York City's Meatpacking District.
Done in dark wood and aqua Steak 954 restaurant has a modern but retro feel. A tank of sea urchins greets you and sets the ethereal mood.
The chef is Jason Landon Smith who was sous chef alongside Govind Armstrong at Table 8 in the De Soleil Hotel. Smith previously worked at WISH with E. Michael Reidt, The Biltmore Hotel with Geoffrey Cousineau and Nemo under executive chef Michael Schwartz.
Born and raised on an organic farm outside Indianapolis, Smith is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Miami.
As Restaurant Chef at Steak 954, Smith plans to serve steaks along with fresh local fish.
We were presented with a stunning raw bar buffet so we can attest to the quality of the seafood.
The passed appetizers featured an idea I want to pass along because it is so simple yet charming and any home cook can replicate it.
One of the passable appetizers was miniature wedge salads. The chefs had cut a head of iceberg into 3-inch wedges and topped each with blue cheese dressing, some bacon crumbles and a few small pieces of diced tomato.
They set them on a tray holding each in place with a small dab of dressing and let diners help themselves with their fingers. The iceberg was a strong enough platform for the other ingredients that these weren't difficult to eat by hand.
And they were adorable and inexpensive to produce. They'd go great at a Memorial Day cookout with steaks or hamburgers on the grill.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times