A beer-hall eatery that ca­reens from mel­low to painful

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Mayo SouthFlorida.com

I imag­ine that Town­ship is a fine place to watch a col­lege foot­ball game, par­tic­u­larly for fans of Flor­ida State Univer­sity. The orig­i­nal Town­ship opened two years ago near Doak Camp­bell Sta­dium in Tal­la­has­see, and the Fort Laud­erdale out­post has be­come a de facto Semi­noles fan club, with pep ral­lies and watch par­ties for big games. I also imag­ine that Town­ship, which opened in June, is a fine place to en­gage in youth­ful ac­tiv­i­ties such as watch­ing Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship bouts, play­ing corn­hole on the pa­tio or down­ing $16 “shot skis,” which the menu de­scribes as “four shots, one ski, tons of fun.”

When it came to a re­cent din­ner, Town­ship was about as much fun as a jack­ham­mer to the brain. It was loud. RE­ALLY LOUD!!! For­get nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion of any kind, ei­ther with the per­son across from you or some­one who phones from a county away. “Where are you?” a friend in Mi­amiDade asked when I an­swered her call at the ta­ble. “I can’t hear a word you are say­ing.” Town­ship’s gim­micky and slightly in­com­pre­hen­si­ble motto is, “For the ta­ble, by the peo­ple.” More like, “Floors of ter­razzo, split the eardrums.”

Some food was de­li­cious (a salmon bowl with veg­gies, quinoa and yo­gurt dress­ing), some was care­less (a good, crispy chicken sand­wich was marred by a huge, ined­i­ble pep­per stem in the mid­dle), and the ser­vice on two vis­its was friendly and un­even. Our din­ner server was help­ful and un­der­stand­ing — she felt our pain as we could not help but shout our orders at her — and a server at lunch, which was much more mel­low and bear­able, was pleas­ant enough un­til he dis­ap­peared for a long stretch to­ward the end of the meal.

With its com­mu­nal wood tables and hand­some bar tucked to­ward the rear, I would de­scribe Town­ship as Ger­man beer hall meets mil­len­nial sports bar. It is a place that is more cor­po­rate clean than Mu­nich grunge, like a high school cafe­te­ria as seen on the Dis­ney Chan­nel, only with craft beer served in liter steins (and shot skis).

Given the high stan­dards and gen­er­ally good ex­e­cu­tion of the Restau­rant Peo­ple, the Fort Laud­erdale-based out­fit be­hind Town­ship that also owns Yolo, S3 and

Town­ship

219 S. An­drews Ave., Fort Laud­erdale 954-338-4070 or Town­shipftl.com Cui­sine: Cost: Mod­er­ate. Ap­pe­tiz­ers cost $4-$12, sal­ads, sand­wiches and mains $10-$21, sides $5, desserts $7 Hours: Reser­va­tions: Ac­cepted Credit cards: All ma­jor Bar: Full liquor with large beer se­lec­tion Noise level: Wheel­chair ac­cess: Ground level Park­ing: $7 valet or $10 pri­vate lot, other garages nearby

Boat­yard, the early score­card is dis­ap­point­ing. Putting a fried egg on lack­lus­ter and overly tomato-sauced $15 shrimp and grits (shrimp-and-grits mari­nara?), or putting mac and cheese on a burger ($12.50, which I did not try) might be pleas­ing to the hip­sters, but it did lit­tle for me. I en­joyed a pret­zel with beer cheese ($7.50), even though I could hardly taste any al­leged porter in the gooey dip­ping sauce, but I was dis­ap­pointed in a limp kiel­basa ($10) with sage onions and spicy beer mus­tard that was more sweet than si­nus-clear­ing. It came in a pret­zel bun that fell apart af­ter be­ing cut in half. I wanted a sat­is­fy­ing snap, but I got a soggy and sad sausage that seemed like it had been sit­ting in a steam pan.

I’m no killjoy or fuddy-duddy, and I know a cer­tain amount of noise is to be ex­pected on a Fri­day night in a lively bar where the drink­ing out­paces the eat­ing. But the sound level was ridicu­lous. At one point, when “All Star” by Smash Mouth blared from the speaker sys­tem, it verged on tor­tur­ous. I felt like a Guan­tanamo de­tainee. Thank­fully, the sur­round­ing din al­most drowned out the mu­sic. A week­day lunch was bet­ter, with only oc­ca­sional clat­ter bounc­ing off the in­dus­trial, ex­posed-duct ceil­ings and around the walls and al­coves fash­ioned from steel ship­ping con­tain­ers, which say “Town­ship­ping.”

Tim Petrillo, co-founder of the Restau­rant Peo­ple, knows that noise is an is­sue. He says in­su­la­tion is be­ing in­stalled and other sound mit­i­ga­tion ef­forts are un­der­way. That is a good thing. Deci­bel read­ings I took through­out my din­ner on a noise­mon­i­tor­ing app mea­sured con­sis­tently in the mid-80s and soared as high as the 90s (the range of hair dry­ers, belt san­ders and power lawn mow­ers). Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health, the fed­eral agency that cre­ated the free app, “Reg­u­lar and pro­longed ex­po­sures to noise at or above an 85-deci­bel av­er­age [av­er­aged over 8 hours per day] are con­sid­ered haz­ardous.”

Town­ship has other chal­lenges be­yond acous­tics. The park­ing sit­u­a­tion is not ideal, with the ad­ja­cent lot of­fer­ing $7 valet or $10 self-park­ing for two hours. That’s a big ask for a moder­ately priced eatery. Town­ship re­placed the shut­tered Tilted Kilt on South An­drews Av­enue, near the Broward Gov­ern­men­tal Cen­ter. With the re­cent de­mo­li­tion of the failed Las Olas River­front com­plex and on­go­ing con­struc­tion of sur­round­ing high-rises, the area is in flux. The Restau­rant Peo­ple, which has its head­quar­ters and test kitchen nearby, is bet­ting on the block. In the past year, it has opened Rooftop @ 1WLO, a rooftop bar that is do­ing well, and Taste TRP, a chic, 25-seat din­ing room for special events and vis­it­ing chefs.

I have vis­ited both those es­tab­lish­ments and like them a lot, as I like the fast-ca­sual Spatch Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken con­cept, which re­cently opened its sec­ond Fort Laud­erdale lo­ca­tion. Part­ner­ing with lo­cal de­vel­oper Alan Hooper, Petrillo and co­founder/chef Peter Boulukos have cre­ated a lo­cal restau­rant em­pire af­ter start­ing more than two decades ago with the late, great Him­marshee Bar & Grille. Af­ter shut­ter­ing the more ca­sual Tar­pon Bend ear­lier this year, the Restau­rant Peo­ple launched its vi­sion for the younger gen­er­a­tion with Town­ship.

Town­ship brought some staff and fa­vorite menu items from Tar­pon Bend, in­clud­ing the fine tuna burger ($17). But the own­ers have also cre­ated a scat­tered global menu that veers from gua­camole and tacos to Asian bul­gogis, banh mis and tuna bowls. The nods to Ger­man beer hall are hit-and-miss, with a fine pret­zel-crusted pork schnitzel ($15.75) but not-so-great potato salad ($5) that fea­tured man­dolinsliced po­ta­toes and pick­led cu­cum­bers in­stead of hearty potato chunks with ba­con. There are also nods to ve­g­ans and the health-con­scious with sal­ads, bowls and a roasted corn side that was ex­cel­lent.

“We wanted to of­fer some­thing for ev­ery­one,” Petrillo says.

What I mostly got was a headache. mmayo@southflorida.com, 954-356-4508. Fol­low my food ad­ven­tures on In­sta­gram: @mike­may­oeats. Sign up for my weekly din­ing news­let­ter at SouthFlorida.com/EatBeatMail.

MIKE STOCKER/SUN SEN­TINEL PHOTOS

Town­ship in Fort Laud­erdale, where the Restau­rant Peo­ple (YOLO, S3, Boat­yard) have cre­ated a Ger­man beer hall vibe for mil­len­ni­als.

The hearty salmon bowl with salmon, kale, an­cient grains, cu­cum­ber, zuc­chini, cau­li­flower, corn, bell pep­per, avo­cado, sweet potato, tahini yo­gurt dress­ing at Town­ship. Amer­i­can sports bar meets Ger­man beer hall11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon­day-Tues­day, 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Wed­nes­day-Sat­ur­day, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun­day Tol­er­a­ble at lunch, painful at night (bring earplugs)

MIKE STOCKER/SUN SEN­TINEL PHOTOS

The bratwurst with green ap­ple kraut and house mus­tard at Town­ship.

The pret­zel-crusted pork schnitzel with caper brown but­ter and fried egg is served with Ger­man potato salad.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.