NEW ORLEANS VIBES
The Balcony is an upscale two-story restaurant, that features an open-air rooftop with a balcony located on the trendy Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale. Here you’ll be able to savor tapas-style plates and cocktails inspired by New Orleans, led by Executive Chef Simon Porter. The dishes incorporate dynamic influences and ingredients that are French, West African, Spanish, Amerindian, Italian, German, Irish, and Vietnamese, so expect them to be packed with flavor! As I walked towards the restaurant, I could hear the live jazz band playing their jazzy tunes, and the lower level of the restaurant was festively decorated with colorful Mardi Gras masks and bead necklaces. Let the celebration begin!
Once my guest and I were seated, our waiter promptly took our drink order. We opted for their signature cocktail, Sazerac. This beverage was made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Pernod Absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, and lemon. It was sweet, spicy, and herbal. As we looked over the menu, we decided to order food with a bit of spice. Food from New Orleans is inextricably linked to the words Cajun and Creole, so for starters, we selected the Shrimp Po’ Boy Sliders that were topped with Cajun yellow corn, lettuce, tomato, and Lafayette spicy tartar sauce. My taste buds were jumping for joy from the full flavor of cajun spices. Next, we had to kick it up a notch with the Alligator & Shrimp Jambalaya. This dish was made to perfection with andouille sausage, smoked chicken, red beans, tomatoes, and a side of cornbread! I will be back for more jambalaya!
Even if you have never been to New Orleans, you can get a taste of it by ordering their Beignets, the official doughnut of Louisiana. The Beignets are made of fried dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Our order came with three dipping sauces: spiced chocolate sauce, house-made seasonal berry jam, and Valencia orange bourbon marmalade. The dough was like a soft fluffy pillow that just melted in my mouth, and the endings were quite different with each dipping sauce. The smooth textured chocolate was not too sweet and not too bitter, which was delicious. The berry jam was fruitier and sweeter in a good way, and the marmalade had its distinctive bitterness from the orange peel that took my imagination right into the French Quarter of Louisiana!
1309 E. LAS OLAS BLVD., FT. LAUDERDALE
By Vanessa C. Guzman