Bravo is like a chain restaurant that isn't really a chain. The thing is, there's only one of them; but it has all of the properties of a chain. With a chain, usually it's the bean counters eroding away all of the things that were good about a place (think Timpano's); here it's just age. The owners probably just don't care anymore.
The first thing I didn't like is that after the lunch rush, they seem to seat everyone in the front corner by the door, as if they don't want to mess up the rest of the restaurant. The point of eating a late lunch is to get some privacy and to not get stuffed at a bad table; so in a big empty restaurant they seat everyone at bad tables without any privacy. Convenient for them, which is the way most restaurants operate, unfortunately.
But you do get a full meal here for about $10 at lunch time, so at least it's a good deal. They have a fish special for $7.95, but I had that the last time. I also had the eggplant way back when, and I didn't care for that. So I decided to try the Chicken Scarpariello; go bold I thought. I ordered some iced tea; it comes with soup or salad and a side; I got cream of broccoli and steamed vegetables.
Bravo Tea and Rolls
I asked for extra lemon but I guess he didn't hear me. I asked again and he brought me some ends that didn't have much juice. The guy had no real interest in serving me. >I continue to not be impressed with garlic rolls; these were as good as any other, but not worth the blood sugar effect to me. The soup came out immediately.
Bravo Cream of Broccoli
I'm sorry, but pureed broccoli is not cream of broccoli. Not terrible, but not very good either.
Ambiance here was strained mainly because of the lady at the table next to me talking on her phone, servers singing along with the music and people yelling at each other in Italian across the room.
Before I could check the latest on A-Rod, the chicken was placed in front of me.
There are a lot of variations of this dish; the menu says that it has black olives but I didn't anticipate gaeta olives; I don't like them. They use boneless chicken which is fine with me, but the dish was largely flavorless. The server warned me that it was spicy, but it wasn't. The sausage didn't even taste like sausage. No noticeable garlic. Just a bunch of stuff in a bland sauce.
It comes with a bowl of steamed vegetables; very benign stuff. I had to ask for butter. Like the soup, not terrible but not very good either.
Bravo Vegetables Side
Another ho-hum lunch in Fort Lauderdale.
From the outside, Bravo looks like a fancy restaurant, but its really not. The rustic decor reminds of me of Carrabbas. There's a bar in the back with a TV and about 8 chairs, and wooden tables throughout the fairly large space. The interior is pretty nice; there are big murals on the wall that give the place a nice feel.
On my first visit here a couple of years ago, I sat at the bar and had the eggplant parmesan, and I wasn't too impressed. It was cut from a loaf and just not that good. The garlic rolls here are all the chatter; but I didn't find them as good as described. They're very garlicky and cheesy, but I can't get excited about food that I'm not really supposed to eat.
I decided to get the whole dining experience this time and sit at a table; I usually dine late to avoid the crowds, but I was out early today so I got here about 12:30. The place was mobbed, with groups of people waiting outside for tables. Luckily they had a small table available. I ordered a sparkling water (they have Sole here) and took a peek at the menu. My server informed me that the Catch of the Day was Flounder and Salmon; I've been thinking about why restaurants serve crappy, expensive grouper instead of flounder lately; and it was only $7.95.
I had seen a menu previously and decided that I wanted the grilled calamari appetizer; I ordered that and the Flounder special. The fish includes soup or salad; I opted for the Pasta fagioli.
The soup is mostly beans, which is fine with me. There were only little bits of pasta in it. It wasn't particularly tasty; sort of like a cup of beans in broth. Beans fit my diet so I ate them with a purpose.
Things were a bit slow between courses; there were a lot of people having leisurely lunches like they didn't have to be back at work at any particular time. I don't think I'd come here if I was in a hurry.
The calamari came out and I was surprised by both the portion size, and the preparation.
This sort of preparation is much "healthier" than the fried kind, but I expected more of a tomato sauce. This was more like it was just grilled and then tossed in with some peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. I never think of pairing calamari with mushrooms or peppers. There was also some stringy stuff that I wasn't sure whether it was edible or garnish. They also gave me a lemon that wouldn't have fit in this dish at all. I ended up eating about half of it and I took the rest home; I'll throw it in a spicy tomato sauce and it will be better.
After another 5 minutes or so, the fish was served.
I was wondering if I was going to get a minuscule portion for only $7.95, but this was fine. If I was eating the pasta it would have been a lot of food. I tasted the pasta; eh. But the vegetables were cooked just right and the fish was nicely seasoned so that I didn't have to add any salt or pepper. Considering it comes with soup and rolls, it's a pretty darn good value.
What I like about Bravo is that their menu is extensive and it's filled with classic italian dishes, unlike Carrabba's and Brio that try to get fancy with their own creations. They also have a lunch thats 20% or more less expensive than dinner, and they give you plenty of food. It's not the best Italian restaurant in town, but it's a comfortable place to eat and enjoy some decent food.