When you first move to Fort Lauderdale, the first thing you hear about is Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. If you're from NY, it's quite disappointing when you try it. It's not really pizza to me; they throw a bunch of stuff on some dough and flash cook it. It tastes pretty good, but it's not really a pizza to me. They've raised their prices; they now get $18.25 for a 1 topping 16" pizza, which I can promise you it isn't worth it.
But there are other things on the menu that are interesting; I've had the eggplant and it's quite good. But one thing you'll learn about Anthony's is that it's not as good as it could be in almost every way. They do what they can to take the joy out of the experience every time.jump-->
On the surface, Anthony's could be great. This restaurant is large and comfortable with lots of good TVs for Sports watching.
They play really good music; Billy Joel, Natalie Merchant, Jimmy Buffet, ZZ Top. It's one classic after another.
One thing that you need to know is that you can never trust the pictures of the food if they come from Anthony's. The food is very wonky and it never looks the same. And it never, ever looks as good in person as it does in the pictures.
I sat in the back, away from the 1 other occupied table. At 2:15pm, I was surprised at how empty it was. I ordered an unsweetened iced tea, forgetting that they don't have freshly brewed tea; it comes in a bottle
The Anthony's experience begins with the Tea. My server, who seemed like the one table she had was a bother to her, dropped off the tea and scampered away. There are no sweeteners on the table. She came back to take my order; I mentioned that I needed lemon and sweeteners. I ordered the lunch salad and a small order of Pork Ribs with vinegar peppers. She asked if I wanted gorgonzola, except there is no indication of how much that would cost; they don't have it listed as an option for the lunch salad, and it's $2.25 for a full salad. She didn't tell me it would cost more, so I just declined.
The salad came out right away; and it was bigger than I expected. It was sloppily made, with rough cuts of onions and tomatoes, chick peas, olives and a light oil dressing. As I dug in, I realized that there was no bread with the salad; the focaccia seems to be a big selling point on the menu.
The ribs took quite a while; I guess that's what happens when you order something not on the lunch menu, and I almost finished the big salad before they came out. At no time did my server come back to the table, so I couldn't ask about the bread. It was about 15 minutes before the ribs came out.
I noticed the focaccia on the plate, and as she tried to run away, I mentioned that I thought the salad came with bread. "Oh, sometimes they give it to me and sometimes they don't; I'll get you some". Too late now babe, I have bread with the ribs. The problem here is that's it's a server's job to know what comes with a dish, particularly with such a small menu as they have here; if the kitchen doesn't give her bread with the salad she's should say "I need bread for the salad". But this is Anthony's, so such things don't apply here.
Another annoyance were the peppers, which were roughly sliced thin with the seeds intact. If you look at any of the staged photos of this dish, you'll see the peppers are seeded and quartered, so that the peppers are actually edible. I have a feeling that these ribs were leftovers, because the peppers also weren't very well marinated; some of them even seemed raw. Nevertheless, the ribs were very good; if you've never had italian ribs they're a nice change from the typical BBQ; if the peppers were made correctly this would be a fantastic dish. They did give me 8 ribs instead of 6, so it wasn't a total disappointment.
A local paper published the recipe for the ribs, so here it is.
Recipe for Anthony's Pork Ribs with Vinegar Peppers
1 rack pork spare ribs, cut St. Louis-style (about 3 pounds)
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup pickled cherry peppers with liquid
1 cup white wine
Have ribs trimmed and connective skin removed by butcher.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary leaves. Rub ribs on both sides with mixture. Place ribs in a shallow baking pan large enough to hold the ribs. Cover pan with foil and roast 40 minutes. Uncover the pan and raise the temperature to 400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until ribs are browned. Add cherry peppers, 1/4 cup of their juice and white wine. Return pan to oven and cook for 5 more minutes.
Serve ribs with a few peppers on each serving. Spoon a little of the liquid from the pan over each serving.
Makes 4 servings.
According to the recipe, "vinegar peppers" are just pickled cherry peppers from a jar.
The total for this was was $20.52; the lunch menu on their website says that the salad is $5.25 but it's now $5.75 and doesn't come with bread unless you ask for it, apparently. $2.65 for the iced tea.
Pretty good food, but it could be so much better, if only it wasn't Anthony's.