Owners of Wilton Manors' New Moon Debut 13|Even
Each step of construction at 13|Even was a labor of love. It began with a raw, empty white room. Then, as photos show, the weathered chocolate-brown wood bar was framed. Later, test stripes of different colors were painted onto a wall so owners could decide which hue to choose (ultimately, a rich orange-red). Then, proprietors Nancy Goldwin and Carol Moran, who also own the landmark lesbian bar New Moon about a half-mile north on Wilton Drive, built tables themselves and went on an Etsy binge, using the crafting website to scoop up recycled chairs and barstools and handmade light fixtures. The restaurant's only other decorations are black-and-white photos of destroyed gardens that Goldwin, who's also a freelance photographer, shot.
CandaceWest.com Co-Owner Nancy Goldwin (left) and Paige Stump at 13|Even
When you sit at one of the glass-topped tables -- made of recycled construction pallets with help from carpenter/artist Steve Sticht (locally famous for running the free annual Art Scavenger Hunt and for painting bikes blue and depositing them around Fort Lauderdale) -- you're handed a stack of wrinkled copy paper secured with a staple, though fancier menus are in production.
CandaceWest.com Decor at 13|Even.
(Given the emphasis on décor, it was a little weird that both times I visited, the carefully crafted ambiance was shattered by a flat-screen TV set tuned to Guy Fieri's offensively spiked, frosted hair and pit-stained bowling shirt. Thankfully, the show was muted. Goldwin says the "innocuous" Food Network is often kept on, but football and basketball games will air when in season.)
A long list of moderately priced wines and popular craft beers leads the menu. Pairings are suggested. Interested in the oysters? "Suck 'em down with an Orange Blossom Pale Ale or Wild Rock Sauvignon Blanc," the menu recommends.
But when I tried them, the half-dozen Gulf oysters ($9) were an eater's version of Russian roulette. Some hit the spot, a touch briney and creamy, while others tasted terrifying -- powerfully salty with a metallic tang. The pretense of a globally inspired small-plates menu is played out by now, and the sole Spanish tapas dish is patatas bravas ($5), which brought cubed, underseasoned, home-fries-like potatoes topped with bland tomato sauce and an overcooked quail egg.