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Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx

Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx

2601 E. Atlantic Ave.
Pompano Beach

A map of 2601 E Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach, FL 33062. Click to see the map on MSN Maps & Directions

Cafe MaxxSince 1984, Darrel and Oliver's Café Maxx has been delighting patrons with their innovative, award-winning cuisine. This landmark restaurant destination is the premiere dining choice among South Florida's power brokers and gourmands, who desire impeccable food served in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Stylish yet unpretentious, Café Maxx offers a hip outside patio, a cozy bar and an energetic dining room.


Wine Watch Menu Full Liquor Menu Catering

-Reviewed By Patrick Jong

Good to the Maxx:
Darrel & Oliver’s Café Maxx delivers delicious, unpretentious dishes

Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx SpecialsAmid the hustle and bustle of busy East Atlantic Blvd. in Pompano Beach, is the unpretentious Darrel & Oliver's Café Maxx nestled in an unlikely strip mall with an uninviting entrance. Get past all that and this neighborhood gem will delight any palette with good food and an impressive wine list.

 The restaurant’s kitchen is open to the dining room with a butcher case acting as a divider and a display of the fresh seafood and meats. The charming interior is understated with simple furniture and light-colored wood, but dressed up with crisp white tablecloths, warm candle lighting and impeccable service. The menu created by Chef Oliver Saucy changes nightly, but signature items like Sweet Onion Crusted Yellowtail Snapper, Tuna Sashimi Pizza and Garlic Parmesan Crusted Lamb Chops remain.

Chef Oliver SaucyWe started with a bottle of Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from St. Helena, Ca (a balanced wine with supple tannins and spicy fruit forward flavors) and three appetizers. Tuna Sashimi Pizza ($13.50) proved why it remains on the menu nightly. The thin fried wonton crust was light and crispy layered with Carpaccio of fresh tuna sashimi drizzled with wasabi cream cheese and topped with sweet soy, tobbiko caviar and fresh scallions. Wow! The Crispy Duck Confit Leg ($19.95) was superb. Fall-off-the-bone tender duck leg meat contrasted well with crispy duck skin and the combination of seared foie gras, and blackberry corn salad with sautéed raisins and ancho chili BBQ, offered a nice balance of sweet and savory. The Bay Scallop Risotto ($13.50) however, missed the mark. The scallops were cooked well but could have added another layer of texture and flavor had they been charred. Andouille sausage offered a pleasant smoky flavor for the risotto with roasted corn peppers and cumin black bean puree, but the risotto lacked a creamy thick texture.

We then opted for two more small plates from “Pastas & Such”. Duck and Smoked Mozzarella Raviolis ($9.95) sounded amazing on paper but were just okay. The shredded duck had great texture, but lacked flavor and the brown butter sauce with basil and sun-dried tomatoes didn’t compensate for it. Maine Lobster Capellini ($22) was divine. This dish was bursting with delicious flavors and the creamy lobster bisque, which served as the base absorbed the bold, earthy flavor of the porcini and oyster mushrooms complementing the shelled lobster claw on top of the perfectly cooked thin pasta. It was my favorite of the night.

 Darrel BroekTwo main courses followed: Grill Roasted Sea Bass ($38.50) and Three Peppercorn Filet Mignon ($45.95) with. The sea bass was cooked well but lacked seasoning. Its accompaniment, saffron polenta, was creamy and tasty and the grilled tomatoes were juicy, spicy and popped with intensity. All components of this dish were delicious on their own (although I didn’t love the fish) but they didn’t work together as a complete dish. The filet mignon was cooked flawlessly medium rare and the cracked peppercorns added an expected punch. Roasted rapini, haricot verts, squash and carrots were crunchy and good but the three-cheese au gratin potatoes were unmemorable and lacked originality.

Blueberry Upside Down Cake ($8.25) and Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee ($9.25) completed the meal. Yum and more yum! Blueberry upside down cake tasted like a pineapple upside down cake made with blueberries instead. Rich in blueberry flavor, the warm moist cake was topped with crème anglaise, fresh blueberries and wildberry frozen yogurt. The crème brulee was light and an almond lace sugar cup served as a ramekin and a delicious edible spoon. Decadent pineapple rum caramel sauce was a perfect accompaniment while three unoriginal miniature cookies were boring and out of place. Similar to the cookies, this hidden treasure of a neighborhood restaurant may seem out of place with its unassuming location but its good food and service will keep you coming back for more.  

Food – 3.5

Wine – 3.5

Service – 4