What’s New Around Town

Photo via bdtrap.com.

At one time, the Great Southern Hotel overlooked Young Circle.

Then it sat abandoned for years. Now it’s Block 40 Food Hall, South Florida’s dining venue, with a 10-kiosk dining hub, and central bar. Vendors include Donut Cream; DalMoros Fresh Pasta to Go (offers pasta in a box); Von Asia Kitchen (Jamaican-Asian mashup with robata-grilled jerk chicken); Catch Seafood Market (kosher whole fish, filets and whole-catch dishes); Hangry Joe’s (a hot chicken sandwich franchise), Cho Tu (Indian street food), PhastBreak Cheesesteaks; Ocho Loco (street tacos and other Mexican dishes); C.L.A.S.S. Lux Burger (a burger joint from the same owners behind C.L.A.S.S. Soiree Steakhouse in downtown Hollywood); and Hollywood Creamery (house-made ice cream and ice-cream sandwiches). When we visited on June 9, we were underwhelmed. Only about half the places were open, and those that were appeared to have staff that were more interested in talking to each other than the customers. We walked out and had a great lunch at nearby Krakatoa!

Wiseguy Pizza is part of the stable of brands under the Thompson Restaurants group, which hasn’t been so successful with the recently shuttered Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Matchbox at Las Olas Riverfront Circle. Wiseguy Pizza opened at the Bank of America Financial Center in May and bills itself as “old-school,” cooking pizza on a stone deck. The cheese comes from Wisconsin. The tomato sauce comes from California. The extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano are from Italy. What makes Wise Guys different are the exotic toppings, Korean Chicken, Paneer Tikka, Mushroom Truffle, and vegan and vegetarian pies. It will also have a cauliflower gluten-free pie. The slices are a bit pricey, but on Wednesday evenings, all pizzas are half-price.

Celebrity chefs Ralph Pagano and Jay Shirodkar have created Madame Tang’s to offer what they promise will be a new, modern take on Chinese cuisine and other Asian favorites. The restaurant is expected to open in the Town Center at Boca Raton Mall in December, according to the website. The early word is that the bar will also have an expansive program. Fans of TV cooking competitions know Pagano for his turns on “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Pressure Cook” and “Iron Chef,” but local foodies know him for Naked Taco and Naked Crab, which have multiple locations throughout South Florida. Madame Tang's will combine Las Vegas opulence with Shanghai elegance, into a one-of-a-kind dining experience with a fusion of Asian flavors, beautifully crafted plates, traditional lunch dim sum, and an entertaining cocktail program.

Plantation’s Serious Dumplings, expected to debut this winter in the Plantation Commons strip mall, will specialize in dumplings of every kind, along with noodle and rice bowls, scallion pancakes, squid salad, and dim sum. All served by robots! The restaurant joins outposts in Boca Raton (which debuted in May), North Miami, and Davie.

B&D Trap, a 2,500-square-foot pit stop devoted to Texas-style barbecue, is smoking up Sistrunk. Founded by managing partner Kevin Rodriguez and pitmaster Orelle Young, who says, “My rubs amplify the flavor of the meat, instead of cover it. Here at B&D Trap BBQ, I make sure you can taste each cut of meat — be it ribs or brisket — smoked low and slow, over post oak.”

He’s showcased his skills on Food Network Canada’s “FireMasters” and on Sergio Herman’s “Mijn Pop-Up Restaurant.” The 45-seat counter also turns out ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and turkey, along with sides of mac ‘n’ cheese, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and cornbread.

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