Restaurant review: Vienna Café and Wine Bar

Vienna Café and Wine Bar in Davie is one of the area’s best fine-dining restaurants. Chef/owner Per Jacobsen and chef Courtney Burks will transport you and your taste buds to Europe with their cooked-to-order cuisine.

Right when I walked in, I was greeted enthusiastically by a hostess, who offered me a menu when I told her that this was my first visit.  A waiter and bartender soon approached me and suggested I sit at the bar while deciding whether or not I wanted to stay.  I was thoroughly impressed by the welcoming personalities of all the employees, making my decision to dine there an easy one.

The dining area seemed quite full for a Tuesday evening, including a large party in a separate section, which I think speaks volumes for the restaurant’s quality.  A local celebrity even appeared; I spotted former Miami Dolphins linebacker — and current television and radio personality — Kim Bokamper eating dinner.

The menu boasts a wide selection of appetizers, including Danish meatballs, “wild Clearwater Bay” scallops and yellow finahi tuna.  I was even automatically given a complimentary assortment of breads. The Escargots Bourguignon — snails dipped in garlic, shallots and herb butter — was out of this world. The flavor was incredible and left me craving more long after I had finished eating.

A variety of salads are also available, ranging in price from $10 to $23.  The house salad comes with mescaline greens, raisins and walnuts, all tossed in house-made balsamic vinaigrette, and topped with gorgonzola cheese and sliced apples.  With such unique toppings, it’s one of the most distinctive house salads that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

The dinner selection is limited, but the entrees definitely do not lack in quality.  The roasted duck, $30, is an exceptional dish.  It is a crispy half duck, served with lingonberry compote, red cabbage, candied potatoes and pickled cucumbers.  Having tried duck at several other restaurants, I can confirm that Vienna Café’s is excellent. Other entrees include a roasted rack of lamb, $36, and a 12-ounce strip steak, $30.

I also ordered a side of caramelized onions for $2 and was wildly surprised at how rich they tasted.  I’d never experienced such a sweet aftertaste from onions before; I can confidently say they were the best I have ever had.

I was told that many regulars come simply for the extensive selection of red and white wines.  I opted for their specialty drink of the night, a White Russian, which I found completely worth its $10 price. I also sipped on a very well-mixed Chocolate Martini.

After the main course, a tray of all the available desserts was placed in front of me. On a normal occasion, I may have opted out of dessert. But, seeing the selections made them way too enticing to pass up.  I went with the crème brûlée cheesecake and was ecstatic after the first bite.  It took a great deal of self-control to not inhale the entire slice in seconds.  Its creamy composition, paired with whipped cream, was remarkably delicious and the perfect way to end my dining experience.

I can’t possibly conclude this review without mention the outstanding service I received from my bartender, Michael. The entire evening, he was extremely attentive and engaging.  We frequently conversed, and his customer service is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why I plan to return to the restaurant and bar. He was extremely knowledgeable about the menu, and his suggestions were perfectly on par.  It was very refreshing to interact with an individual who takes such pride in his job and who made me feel welcomed and appreciated all evening.

Overall, Vienna Café and Wine Bar is a great choice for an intimate date night or a formal dinner.  The prices are tough on the pocketbook, but the quality of food and service is superior to many establishments. The staff will take care of you, and you will not leave disappointed.  On weekends, there’s live entertainment, and the bar stays open till 2 a.m.  Tucked into Pine Island Plaza, just off State Road 84, it is conveniently close to NSU.  I give it a rare five out of five stars and will surely be visiting again.

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