Citing security issues at the Riverfront complex at night, Canale closed it's doors just 2 months after opening.
Canale quietly opened for lunch and I stopped by to check it out.jump-->
It was a rainy day; not ideal for lunching at the Riverfront outdoors, but they didn't really seem set up for service inside. There were 2 tables with customers outside, so I grabbed a table under the covered patio. They inherited the uncomfortable furniture from Suite 100 (if your butt doesn't fit exactly into the chair you'll be fidgeting a lot).
The first thing that was obvious is that this was a true "soft opening" in that disorganization was almost a theme. I got a menu and took a quick look; Prices seemed fair and there was a good selection. When there are 5 things I wouldn't mind trying it's very rare. I ordered and iced tea and the Veal Picatta. Two things I noticed about the menu; the Chicken dish, prepared similarly, was the same price as the Veal. And they spelled Scaloppine correctly, which is unheard of in culinary challenged Fort Lauderdale. I'm guessing that the chicken portion was larger.
The tea came out in a glass wholly unsuitable for a beverage that's consumed with a straw; they'll need some long tall glasses at some point.
Canale Iced Tea
When I got a straw, it was kind of a struggle to get it to keep from floating out of the glass.
Even on a drizzly day, the view is nice here; no traffic makes for pleasant outdoor dining. And the water taxi stops right in front of the place.
Canale Patio View
They have some random music playing. Not too bad.
The veal came out in about 10 minutes.
Canale Veal Scaloppine
I was surprised that it wasn't the usual heavily breaded cutlet; this would fit my diet better than I'd expected. I only had a butter knife to cut it, but I made due. They also don't have personal pepper shakers or grinders; while it's elegant to have a guy with a big pepper mill come over, I hesitate to season my food before I taste it.
They brought some bread out after the entree; they should have brought it out beforehand.
The dish was as advertised; delicate veal, properly cooked vegetables and a lemony sauce. Even the capers were edible; most places around here don't even rinse them before throwing them in a dish. This is quality Northern Italian cuisine.
Three different people came by to ask how everything was, including the owner, who showed me the dinner menu (which is posted here). They also have a Crudo menu, which is the Italian version of ceviche. Fairly priced, or so it seems; you really don't know until you see the portion.
I got a chance to talk to Franco a bit, and my impression is that he's genuinely trying to offer a good product at a fair price, which is refreshing. New to South Florida, they're currently feeling their way around, so expect things to be disorganized for a while longer.
I also like that they're doing their soft opening by serving lunch, where prices are lower.
Suite 100 was a disaster mainly because it was run by people who never ran a restaurant before; Franco has run 14 restaurants in Toronto and the Caribbean. The menu here is light years ahead of the ridiculous crab cakes and maple pork tenderloin menu from Suite 100. Finally, there might actually be a reason to come to the riverfront.
Full service begins on Tuesday, March 11. Until then, they're open until 3pm for lunch daily.