2601 E. Atlantic Ave.
Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx
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.
Good to the Maxx:
Darrel & Oliver’s Café
Maxx delivers delicious, unpretentious dishes
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.
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
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.
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