Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House: Fancy Breakfast, but It'll Cost Ya

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Seems a Fort Lauderdale farm-to-table breakfast spot is a big enough deal to make news all the way down in Miami

The day after it opened, a couple of friends and I defected to visit Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House (O-B House) to check it out. Here's the skinny out of the gate: 

The Pluses:

Service:
Peter Hardy, a salty mate from across the pond, entertained us with tales of his 20-plus years of living in Fort Lauderdale. Service was pretty great too.

Décor: Clean, bright, and open, it's retro diner meets Pottery Barn, with marine pendant lighting and chocolate accents. The crowd was more fashion-forward than at most restaurants I've so far visited. Guys in oversized nerd glasses and gingham checked shirts dined with lovelies in maxi-dresses. Ink, per usual, was the accessory.

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Food: I found myself coveting my friend's crab hollandaise of two soft poached eggs with spinach on toast ($16) that -- stacked with fresh crabmeat and dripping with yolk -- was very near obscene. 

My choice, the O-B BLT, was fun for making a mess. Decked with six slices of maple bacon, a stack of dark leafy greens, and a decent tomato, the Gran Forno thick-sliced bread was -- alas -- not toasted. Sigh. ($13). 

We were intrigued by the cast-iron pancake, a thick, eggy number baked in a cast-iron skillet, for which each batch (which serves 12) contains 27 eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream. Owner Rodney Ely says he made up the recipe, but it's suspiciously similar to a French clafoutis. Go with a fresh fruit 'cake rather than plain ($9 to $12). 

The Minuses:

Coffee: Community Coffee from Louisiana is great. What I didn't love is the $2 for the first cup and the $.75 a refill. I'd rather pay more for bottomless brew or drink from a bigger mug.

Price point: I get that we're paying for free-range eggs and farmers' market produce, but will Lauderdalians shell out $12 and $25 a head for breakfast fare? Our table of five did; with half of us drinking, the bill came to $92 before tip.

Drinks: I was charmed by the mix-it-yerself Bahamian take on the Michelada served with Tabasco and Worcestershire. And my friend Debi liked the mimosa served with super-fresh-squeezed OJ in a stylish glass, but I have to say I was missing the booze for a bloody mary. Perhaps the permit gods will grant a wish soon. 

For round two? I'm looking forward to the simmered seafood stew of grouper, tomato, asparagus, vidalias, and spinach ($12). If only I could cruise over by boat.

Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House
333 Himmarshee St.
Fort Lauderdale 33312
954-530-7520
O-Bhouse.com


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13 comments
ted inserra
ted inserra

come by The O.B.House, and let me prepare one of Rodney Ely's Famous Cast Iron Skillet Pancake's!!!  made with free-range eggs, organic flour, low pasturized (cream still on top) milk, and do not forget to customize it with organically grown blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, bananna's, nuts, ====or, go have a ruity, fruity , what the hell is this schmutz pancake from anywhere else!!  you deserve the best, come to THE OLD FORT LAUDERDALE BREAKFAST HOUSE for a great breakfast with only the freshest ingrediants!!

ted inserra
ted inserra

I work the wood burning oven at the fantastic O.B,House, i make, amoungst other things, the incredable CAST IRON SKILLETT PAN CAKES, they are like no other pancake you EVER HAD, cooking pancakes in a wood burning oven, in a cast iron skillett is just one item we go "above and beyond" to bring the customer's who come into this great breakfast experience===we cook the bisquets, takes 8 minutes, for the bisquets and sausage gravy TO ORDER===NOT PRE-BAKED, WHEN AN ORDER COMES IN, 3 BISQUETS GO INTO THE OVEN===NOBODY ELSE DOES THAT, WE CARE ABOUT WHAT GOES ON YOUR PLATE!

ted inserra
ted inserra

we, the O.B.House is not for everybody,,like the very eloquent Max stated your breakfast IS being prepared by Chefs using the highest quality ingrediants, i have worked for and with-Mark Millitello, Wolfgang, Johnny V., Oliver Saucy, Michelle Bernstein, Peter Boulikis...and let me tell you--Owner Rodney Ely cares more about what goes on his customers plates than all of them....listen people, you have tried all the rrest--COME TO OB..HOUSE FOR THEE BEST!

Jezebel
Jezebel

What's with the negativity, Max? You sore because the NT wouldn't consider you for the food critic job? My feeling is that anyone who's quoting prices from Cheesecake Factory isn't qualified to critique our local restaurants or our local food critic. So let up on the new girl. I'm enjoying her witty, insightful posts.

MelissaMcCart
MelissaMcCart

Hello, Max. I had a meal with four other people and was the only person who did not order breakfast; I did sample everyone's dish, which included simple bacon and eggs, two types of pancakes, eggs benedict, and a blt. That's four breakfasts.  I remarked on those I thought were notable.

And I agree with you that $12 is borderline fair; $18 is a bit high, especially when buildings a stone's throw away in the downtown area are vacant, suggesting the local economy may not be as robust as one would hope. $18 would have been pushing it for breakfast in DC, where the economy is bloated with jobs and the real estate market is kickin'. As I said after a first look, I enjoyed it and will go back.

Dan
Dan

I'd also like to see a review of this "Breakfast House" written by someone who actually had breakfast. Would I shell out $12 for breakfast? Yes, if it was really something different and not anything that I couldn't get at a local diner but with free range eggs, which frankly don't impress me.

Max
Max

Boo. Hiss. Jeer. It doesn't seem reasonable to "review" a new breakfast house and judge it based on a BLT and some alcoholic beverages. You're comparing apples to oranges. You're not just paying for the "farm to table", you're paying a bit extra for a kitchen that is staffed with actual chefs and not some short order cook who learned his trade on a smokey joe. You're getting a clean grill and a real dining experience instead of some 'Alice" who throws your food at you on her way to wiping down the next plastic booth.$11 for their standard breakfast with coffee is a midpoint between what you'd pay at a greasy spoon ($8)  and a hotel ($16). It's a fair price from a relative standpoint. 

melissamccart
melissamccart

Ted, I should be talking to you. You know every chef in town. And your comments are gems.

Max
Max

Relativity is key. The target market for this place is not paycheck challenged locals; it's tourists and the "haves"; the people who otherwise pay $18 at the Riverside on Las Olas for overdone eggs and skinny jones sausages.

Max
Max

The truth is that you had brunch; mimosas, crab benedict. So you should compare your pricing to brunch prices and not breakfast. You'll pay $16 for eggs benedict at Cheesecake factory, and I'm sure what you had here was executed much better than that.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

Melissa - Ted is the best! Great chef and wonderful guy!

MelissaMcCart
MelissaMcCart

Hi Max. Cheesecake Factory is not in my repertoire. 

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