They say let the good times roll, and the energy of New Orleans has come to Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard.
Open since early May, The Balcony (backed by Miami Dolphin-turned-restauranteur Kim Bokamper) is a neighbor to the ever-popular Rocco’s Taco’s, but brings a very different look to the boulevard. The two-story structure is modeled after the architecture of the French quarter, fit with an ornate, iron-wrought balcony, lending to the restaurant’s namesake.
Walking through the space, there’s three areas to enjoy. The first floor dining room exudes old-world charm with a curved brick ceiling, purple uplighting, barrels, and extravagant chandeliers with over-sized bulbs. Upstairs is the party, with guests parked at the balcony bar overlooking Las Olas Boulevard. Towards the back are more dining tables, fit for a gathering of sports fans with multiple flat-screen TVs and another full bar.
My friend and I enjoyed our first meal at The Balcony on the first floor, where we were in awe of the decor—and the complementary glass of champagne that every single guest is greeted with. After we toasted, Executive Chef Simon Porter, who hails from England, brought out some of his favorite dishes from the menu. The dinner started with my favorite from the entire evening, the baked Porterville baked oysters Bienville, a plate of baked oysters infused with shrimp, bacon, mushrooms, and cheese that was to die for. Other appetizers included the New Orleans jumbo lump crab cakes, with an added twist of being served with a holy trinity sauce to give it a splash of spice.
For the main course, we tried the Natchitoches pies (akin to a beef empanada), filet mignon medallions served on potatoes and topped with a cream sauce, and at the server’s insistence, fried green tomatoes.
Of course, a meal with Louisiana fare wouldn’t be complete with jambalaya, and the menu features an alligator and shrimp concoction*. Other mainstays include chicken ‘n’ dumplings and crawfish étouffée.
To go with our meal, my friend ordered an Old Fashioned, which she enjoyed. Being a wimp, I asked for something a little sweeter and was suggested to try the extremely Instagram-able Mule Martini—an elixir of vodka, ginger and cranberry garnished with a sprig of rosemary and served in a copper martini glass. Guests can also indulge in New Orleans staples, the Sazerac and or a Hurricane.
I’ll note that Balcony is inspired by New Orleans culture and cuisine as opposed to a replica of the Crescent City, but the carefree attitude of the city is definitely a welcome addition to the growing Las Olas Boulevard.