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Last Update: Oct 9th, 2022
Hardy Park Bisto, Fort Lauderdale

Hardy Park Bistro

21 SW 7th Streeet
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33301
954-764-1463
Overall Rating
1.7
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
09/04/2014

Details

Hours: Closed Monday. Lunch 11:30-2:30, Dinner 5:30 - 10pm (11pm on Fri/Sat)
Attire: Casual
Parking: Street Metered
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Wine and Beer
Outside Dining: Yes
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Pros

Big Lunch Portions

Cons

No Fixed Menus
Small, Loud Room
Amateur Hour
Bad Food
Overpriced

Critic's Review

You know you're off the beaten path when you still have coin meters across from your restaurant. Fort Lauderdale has been doing away with these for years; you'll be hard pressed to find too many of these downtown these days.

Hardy Park Metered Parking

Review 9/4/2014

Hardy Park Bistro Fort Lauderdale

I've given up on this place posting a lunch menu, so a couple of weeks ago I started thinking about giving the place a try. They stop serving lunch at 2:30, so every time I thought of it it was either after 2pm or too stormy. Today it was sunny, high 80s and I got organized by 1:45, so off I went.

Usually restaurants off the main grid have free parking, but not this one. It's only 75 cents an hour; the spot I found had over an hour left on the meter so I got a freebee.

There were only 2 people eating outside so I initially thought I'd eat on the patio, but they only have 3 small tables and one communal table, which takes up half of the outside space.

Hardy Park Communal Table

It doesn't seem too smart to have a big table in a small place like this. Forced trendiness; I decided to eat inside.

Hardy Park Bistro Inside

If you don't look out the window, the place is a bit NYCish; a small very loud room with tables positioned to maximize capacity. With only 3 other couples in the place it was LOUD; it must be deafening with a full room. I got the menu of the day and ordered an iced tea. It came out with a sliver of lemon; I asked for a bit more while I decided what I wanted.

Hardy Park Iced Tea

The limited menu gave me few choices. They had a flat iron steak for $20; I didn't want a salad or a burger; I decided on the salmon cakes, which according to the menu are served with "tartare, greens and fries". Tartare usually means "raw", but I figured it was the british spelling for tartar sauce.

There was a constant flow of servers flowing through the room; they were setting the tables for dinner. Music wasn't bad with "Dreaming" and a lot of stuff I couldn't make out over the noise.

When they brought out the food I was surprised by the portions. The cake had a heavy crust which I didn't expect.

Hardy Park Bistro Salmon Cakes Lunch

I cut the cake to see what was inside: Potatoes? Really?

Hardy Park Salmon Cake Cut

The "greens" was a dry arugula salad; they didn't even bother to remove the thick stems. I started to cut it, and a bunch of the fries ended up on the table. I had to ask for a side dish to offload the fries.

The fries were served unseasoned.

Hardy Park French Fries

My idea to salt them was derailed by the gimmicky condiments; a spoon and course salt.

Hardy Park Salt and Pepper

What am I supposed to do with course salt, sprinkle it on the fries and have it fall all over the table? Coarse salt goes in a grinder; kosher salt is for sprinkling or pinching. No ketchup either; I had to ask for that as I can't eat plain, unsalted fries.

As I was eating this, I thought of the old joke: Q: "What's the difference between a cook and a chef?" A: "Arugula". Every other item has arugula here. Enough said.

Hardy Park Bisto Salmon Cake Deconstructed

With the heavy crust and fillers, the salmon cakes didn't taste much like salmon. I tried to get a fork full of salmon, but it was no use. The tartar sauce was good, but I was hoping for something delicate and healthy and I got a deep fried potato cake. And who wants a raw arugula salad with no dressing?

Conclusion

Hardy Park Bistro turned out to be exactly the opposite of what I expected. I expected small portions of well-crafted food, and instead got an overflowing plate of pedestrian stuff that I might expect to be served at Mulligan's.

Something surprising was the amateur mistakes; easily correctable, that have gone unchecked months after opening. You'd think that someone would have pointed out that you de-stem arugula, you can't salt anything with a spoon and course salt, and that you can't serve a heaping salad on a flat plate; the couple next to me struggled to eat a non-chopped caesar that couldn't be cut without the salad ending up all over the table. Get some big bowls, for pete's sake. I understand when people open a new restaurant and make mistakes. I don't understand when they don't have any employees or friends honest enough to point out the obvious things that they're doing wrong.

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Administrator
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It appears that Hardy Park is up for sale.
Janice
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Who are the people leaving the 5 star reviews for this place one after another?

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