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Restaurants & Bars 4

Guillio Cesare in Deerfield Beach

JmVikmanis | Nov 16, 200308:46 AM

In my continuing saga to check out restaurants in my newly adopted south Florida home I set out to have a quick dinner at Kosta's, a Greek take out and eat in place on North Federal Hwy that sounded pretty good from a Sun Sentinel review I'd read. Oh, woe! I drove up to a closed storefront in a strip mall with not even a sign suggesting that Kosta had packed up his Greek tents and relocated somewhere where I could still sample his wares. Poor Kosta. Poor me! Resourceful as I am, I looked around the strip mall Kosta had vacated and found a couple more options. Both were Italian but one looked a little nicer than the other which appeared very brightly lit and a bit fast-foody. Thus I opted for Guilio Caseare, a quite a bit nicer (and pricier) place that apparently took over the space vacated by Primavera, a long-time critics' choice type Italian I'd always meant to try but never got to when we previously came to these parts to winter.

The place has a nice if somewhat dated decor with marroon upholstered round booths and pink walls and ceilings. It looks like the kind of place that would require reservations, especially on a Saturday night, but I was early--about 6 p.m. or so--and seated graciously at a booth for four even though I was a singleton. The maitre d' was ingratiating to the point of being unctious, apparently the general pattern among all serving staff at this place. Would that the unctiousness had been saved for my meal. I ordered osso buco ($27, now you understand why I say this was a bit pricier than had had intended when I set out for Kosta's where I understand whole meals had been in the $15 and under range) I love this dish and was expecting great things from an old reprint of another Sun Sentinel review I had picked up off a table in the entry. My first bite of the accompanying risotto was vaguely reminiscent of paint. I wondered if the kitchen had been recently repainted. The veal though nicely done was relatively tasteless and the bread for the marrow was wonderbread soft, not at all Italian-like. I had hoped to have a glass of pinot grigio to go with my meal but the only white wine by the glass on offer was a chardonnay. Being of the ABC school, I opted instead for a chianti. This place has a two page wine list and they don't offer a standard pinot grigio by the glass! I don't get it!

So there you have it. Total bill with tax, tip, one glass of wine and the osso buco came to $42. Not terrible but certainly not terrific. So far my search for good food in the Pompano Beach area suggests one can eat comparatively better at small ethnic restaurants than at upscale wannabees. I know that Cafe Maxx and Sunfish Grille are out there and I'll get to them but for right now, the cheapies are ahead in the good taste department.

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