ZUCKERELLO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT: 3017 EAST COMMERCIAL BLVD FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 33308
Zuckerello’s is a long-time staple in the Ft. Lauderdale food scene. Located in a strip mall just before you head over the bridge to cross the intercoastal heading east, you will find it tucked away on the left-hand side. This Italian restaurant is popular with many locals, especially the snowbirds that visit in the winter.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how busy they were. Luckily we had reservations to celebrate our friend Solomon’s birthday. Don’t tell anyone, but he turned 48. Parking can be a challenge when Zuckerello’s is busy, so be prepared to walk once you find a space. But I will tell you that it is well worth the exercise before and after dinner.
Zuckerello’s is a nice-sized restaurant with a mix of tables and booths. It doesn’t matter where you are seated, as people walk around the restaurant giving you perfect people watching from any table. There are two dining room areas, the main larger one is to the left as you walk in, and the smaller add-on room is to your right.
There is also a bar along the back wall and some entertaining bartenders. I might have to make this my new local watering hole when I am not visiting Tropics. The friendly hosting staff greeted us, and within a few minutes, they had our table ready. While not everyone in our party was there, we were able to be seated, which was a nice change from some restaurants in the area.
A few members of the group decided to start with a caesar salad. But Zuckerello’s has many more choices to choose from, like fried mozzarella (which is a favorite of mine), fried calamari, sausage, pepper & onions, homemade meatballs, eggplant rollatini, just to name a few. You can also choose from a variety of salads and two soups (minestrone and pasta Fagioli)
The majority of the group decided to forego the appetizers since we knew that our meals would be very hearty to begin.
The Food from Zuckerello’s:
We’ll start with what John had from Zuckerello’s. The Rigatoni Alla Vodka is served in a nice-sized bowl, mixed with prosciutto, onions, English peas, and a creamy pink sauce. The portion is pretty extensive, and he did not finish it all, taking home about half of his meal. John said that the flavors mixed well together, and he enjoyed it very much.
Next up, we have the birthday boy’s meal. Solomon was the healthiest of our group and ordered the Bronzino topped with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, feta, black olives, and fresh basil. As you can see from the photo, it looked amazing. Solomon said that the fish was cooked perfectly, and when he finished, I don’t think you could even lick the plate clean.
Joe went the more traditional route with Spaghetti & Meatballs. You are served three very large meatballs made from a mix of beef and pork and Italian seasonings, sitting atop a healthy portion of linguini, and topped with Pomodoro sauce. (although, in Italy, they would serve the meatballs separate from the spaghetti). Joe ate every bite and didn’t leave much for the dishwashers to clean. He said the pasta was cooked perfectly, and he really enjoyed the meatballs.
Our friend Mark tried to be a little healthier by ordering the Shrimp & Cauliflower Gorgonzola. And it would have been if it were not for the creamy sauce. Perfectly cooked shrimp is accompanied by spinach, red onion, shallots & garlic in a Gorgonzola cream sauce. Another dish that was finished down to the last drop of sauce. Mark seemed to have a big smile on his face when he was done eating and said that he thoroughly enjoyed the meal.
Next, Mike and I chose the same staple from Zuckerello’s menu, the Chicken Parmesan. The only difference between our two dishes was that I ordered mine with the traditional sauce over angel hair pasta, while Mike ordered his with alfredo sauce over the linguini. The kitchen made a small mistake and put the alfredo sauce on my angel hair pasta as well, but I have to say that Mike had the right idea. It enhanced the flavor of the chicken parm. Mike devoured his dish and left nothing to be packed. On the other hand, I had about half of mine left, especially since they brought out another dish of pasta to make up for the mistake, which I mostly took home with me. The Chicken Parmesan is always my favorite dish here, and we both agreed it hadn’t changed.
The final dish was Ed’s. He went with the Chicken Scarpariello. Say that five times fast. The chicken is mixed with mushrooms, sausage, olives, roasted peppers, and pepperoncini and served over penne pasta. An excellent balsamic jus topped the dish. The flavors combined to form an explosion of taste in his mouth that truly satisfied him. Ed was delighted with his choice and even continued to talk about it the next day at breakfast. Hardly anything was left by the time he was done.