Last Update
Dec 24th, 2019

Redlands Grill

2415 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33305
(954) 563-9077
Overall Rating
2.9
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
12/20/2019

Details

Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outdoor: Yes
Reservations: Yes
Delivery: No

Pros

Nice Restaurant
Decent Food
Free Parking

Cons

Expensive
Diminishing Portions
No Bread
No WiFi

Critic's Review

I used to go to J Alexander's once a year or so; it was one of the few nice restaurants in Fort Lauderdale where you could get Prime Rib for lunch; they've made a confusing rebranding of this location to Redland's grill, which is basically the same restaurant with a slightly different menu; but not much different.

They haven't bothered to change the sign on the road; maybe they don't want to pay the permit fees, or maybe they're afraid they'll lose some customers. It's been 4 years and it still says J'Alexanders.

I guess they even decided again the red color; the red awning is now black and they painted the building white; the entrance is about the same.

Inside is exactly the same; dark with creepy beams of sunlight shining through an ill-conceived skylight. They should really get rid of it and get better lighting.

My server was timid and unhelpful; luckily they work as a team here so you can get stuff from other servers. Iced tea arrived with the chain restaurant volume of extra lemon.

One thing different about the menu is that they no longer have prime rib as an entree at lunch; I had to order the prime rib sandwich, which is basically a slice of prime rib on a roll. Another good thing about prime rib is that it's pre-cooked, so you don't have to wait long for it. It came out in 3 minutes.

This comes with fries; the cole slaw is pretty good here. Not as good as Houston's, but edible. The problem with the prime beef sandwich is obvious.

Are you supposed to eat around the fat and gristle? So you basically have to lay the meat on the plate, do some surgery, and then reconstruct the sandwich.

One bad thing they've done is replace the granulated salt shakers with edgy salt grinders; salt grinders are a BAD IDEA unless they produce very fine salt. These produce big chunks, which don't season the food properly, and aren't pleasant to chew. Whoever had this idea doesn't eat in this restaurant. Do I want some salt chunks in my cole slaw or on a piece of fish?

I explained this to a random server passing by (mine was too busy with a big group to worry about me) and she had to go into the kitchen to get me a regular salt shaker. Ridiculous. In 4 years nobody has figured this out?

Finally I was ready to eat.

The horseradish sauce didn't have enough horseradish, but it was better than nothing.

A pretty nice piece of meat. I would have preferred a prime rib entree, but it would have cost $10 more for a bit more meat.

My empty iced tea glass went unnoticed by my primary server. Luckily a floor worker noticed and brought me another glass.

Conclusion

Redlands is really just a bad idea by J Alexanders; for all intents and purposes it's still a J Alexander's. The servers are now a bunch of kids so don't expect service any different than anywhere else, or servers who know anything about the menu. It's still a comfortable place that's a tad overpriced but not too bad.

6/19/2019

After almost 2 years, they've finally put a Redlands sign on the restaurant. The sign at the street still says J Alexanders. I think they're afraid to take the full plunge.

The menu seems about the same as before. One big difference is that they now have a dinner menu which is largely the same with higher prices on some items.

What a concept!

Review 6/23/15

The signs still say J Alexanders. But this isn't a J Alex anymore. It's now the Redlands Grill. What is Redlands Grill, you ask? Nobody knows. J Alexanders is well known for their lack of marketing prowess; they don't have menus online, nor do they have functional social media. There is NO MENTION whatsoever of Redlands on their website, nor can I find a press release.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I was surprised that all of the signs still say J Alexanders. Something else that hasn't changed is the outdoor patio, which gets no use during the day. This is one of the few major restaurants that don't have a covered outdoor space.

Approaching the building, the first sign of the transition emerged.

Inside it's exactly the same. The bar still has the too-high bar that I find very uncomfortable. Still the same TVs as 5 years ago.

The place was pretty dead at 2pm, perhaps a reason for choosing this location for the cutover.

The have a fantastic iced tea service here; lots of lemon and they bring you another glass when you're about half done. And then another. Nice big lemon wedges also.

The specials are almost always the same, which slight modifications. They don't print up a fancy menu for something that's just a daily special. So the specials aren't really that special.

No bargains. The prices just keep going up, up, up. It's really quite ridiculous.

All of these places have big open kitchens, although the dining room is very dark. They could use shades over the windows during the day.

Looking at the menu, I though about a salad but they didn't really have anything I wanted. I used to think that they didn't have a lunch menu, but this IS the lunch menu. The menu we have here is for the lunch portion sizes. Expect largely the same menu with higher prices for dinner. I used to like the prime rib, but it's $28 and they give you a cub cut for lunch; it's totally not worth the price. Something else that bugs me is that they used to have Certified Angus Beef, and then they went to Harris Ranch, and now they're just serving regular choice beef, all while raising prices. So the perceived quality is down, but prices continue to escalate.

I decided on the scottish salmon, and ordered a side of cole slaw. I love the cole slaw here and it pairs well with fish.

No WiFi for customers, and I wasn't getting a good Cell signal. With Verizon right next door; go figure. I asked my server about Redlands, and she explained that it's some harebrained idea of the CEO, or at least that's what they've been told. A different concept with flatbreads and sushi. They're gradually changing the signage and the menu so as not to shock anything. What we have is a company stuck in the 90s who don't understand that re-branding a restaurant is very risky.

Another peeve I have is that with the prices they're charging, there's no bread. So you're just sitting at a big, empty table for 15 minutes.

When the salmon was put in front of me I had to hold back my laughter. Are you KIDDING me?

This is what I get for $22? A mini portion of salmon and cole slaw. You get twice this amount at Il Mulino with 2 sides for lunch for like $14.

I'm not sure what the sauce was supposed to be, but it tasted like mayonnaise. A nice dill sauce is better; or maybe even horseradish. In retrospect, I should have asked for horseradish.

The salmon was good, properly cooked, although the crappy salt grinder again came into play. It doesn't do a good job of grinding, so you get big salt crystals which are really no fun to bite into.

I wasn't really full when I left; not a good thing after a $30 lunch.

Conclusion

I used to really like J Alexanders, but the prices keep going up and the portions are insulting for the prices that they charge. Combine that with no bread, no wifi and no usable outside space and I have to wonder why I'd come here again. Service is excellent, but it's not enough. This place makes Capital Grille seem like a bargain.

I'm not sure what the deal is with rebranding the restaurant. I'm assuming that this store doesn't do well enough; I thought they might be doing it to offer more reasonable prices without having to drop them at restaurants that are doing better, but that's obviously not the case.

I think they could be signing their death certificate with this move; with zero marketing and no brand recognition, how many people are going to just wander in and pay $35 for a small choice filet? I think they're probably losing their regulars little by little now, because the place is just too expensive. Houston's is expensive also, but they give you a boatload of food. Here they don't give you enough.

Review of J Alexander's 10/3/14

I had to go to Whole Foods, and just a bit down the road is J Alexanders and I was feeling like some Prime Rib. Lots of people lunching on a Friday, but I've yet to ever see any one dining on the Patio. Nor has anyone ever asked me "Inside or Out". I think that the patio is just for show.

As I've mentioned many times before, the bar here is built for Giants. The bar is just too high, and it's uncomfortable for anyone under 6'3". So I got a table.

Ice Tea comes with big wedges of lemon, and extra is given cheerfully. I'm off Splenda, but they have it.

Their specials seem to be the same all of the time now, or at least similar. I went for the prime rib. They don't commit to a size and it's $27. I didn't want mashed potatoes, so I sub'ed Cole Slaw.

The music here is mood music, which is fine with me. Weird lighting with bright sun coming in the windows. I can't never get a decent picture in here.

The prime rib is pre-cooked, so it always comes out quickly.

They give you "Au Jus" that tastes like bouillon; you have to ask for the horseradish sauce. It's not a great version, but I like it a lot more than the Jus.

This is a smaller cut than they used to give you; it's the same size, but not as thick. They did give me quite a load of cole slaw. It's not great slaw but it's edible. I pepper it to make it less sweet.

Surprisingly, the thing that disappointed me the most was the salt. They have these big salt grinders, but it doesn't do a very good job of grinding, no matter how I adjusted it. The result was larger than ideal chunks of salt. I don't really want to chew on salt; it should disappear into the meat.

Conclusion

J Alexander's is a pleasant dining experience. I'm comfortable saying that they have the best service in Fort Lauderdale. Places like Lobster Bar and Capital Grille seems forced. Here they are just a lot of people flying around. At one point a girl was walking by, noticed my almost empty glass, and she turned around and went and got one for me; not even my server.

The place is pricey, and I don't like shrinking portions. For $12 less you get almost as much Prime Rib at J Marks. And that's just too much of a difference to me.

Review 4/30/14

J Alexander's is a go-to lunch spot in Fort Lauderdale; Houston's pulled out of town years ago and J Alex is the closest thing to it. Dark, clubby, good service. I don't like the bar here; and today there were some dudes with backwards baseball caps, so I got a booth inside.

One negative is that there is no bread, so you're stuck sitting at a table for 15 minutes with your beverage waiting for your food.

They have a "bistro steak" which sounded like it might be a skirt; but it's a 12oz strip. I ordered a special, which was described as "redfish in a lemon/butter sauce". It's served with quinoa by default (Really?); I subbed it out for broccoli.

Some ladies next to me were having a big day out; bottles of wine, dessert. This is a special occasion venue for the off-Las Olas crowd.

A runner brought out the food.

My initial reaction was "What is this?". For a moment I thought I was in Bonefish grill; another exercise in overreach; the stuff on the broccoli was cheese. The sauce on the fish was incredibly bland; how can lemon butter sauce be bland? This was some bad corporate concoction that saved them 3 cents per dish; luckily I had the extra lemon, but it took me a while to get it to taste like something. "Redfish" is usually some sort of snapper; this was like a grouper. Not a lot of taste, unseasoned. A lot of salt and sauce.

The broccoli was properly cooked, which is the only good thing I can say.

I usually like J Alexanders, but this dish was a loser.

Review 10/4/13

Once in a while, when you're looking for a sure thing, you can always count on J Alexander's. J Alex is a chain modeled after Houston's; it's as close to a Houston's clone as you'll find. It's a nice, classy place, and the food is consistently above average. It's a few dollars less than Houston's; still a bit pricey, but I never feel cheated here. Like Houston's, they dropped the Certified Angus Beef Program; I guess they found that it's really not worth the extra price.

One thing you need to know is that this place was designed by Giants in Norway or something; the tables and the bar are too high for anyone under 6' tall. I don't like eating at the bar here for that reason; and the service at tables is excellent so I prefer to do that. The dining room has lots of big leather booths and they've never been packed during lunch when I've been here.

Iced tea comes out in succession; as soon as one is finished another appears on the table. Extra lemon is no problem.

They had more specials than I remember; unfortunately they had Arctic Char and Scottish Salmon which are substantially similar; I could have gone for some whitefish. Another special was Beef Carpaccio; so I decided to get that with a side of the Mac & Cheese.

There's no bread at J Alexanders. They play jazzy music: Bud Shank and Sade and Istalacao Do Samba. The food came out together.

4oz of sliced raw beef, not great or poor quality. It was served with greens that had caramelized onions mixed in. The bread was completely useless; a nice piece of garlic bread would have been nice. Chefs always have to try some fancy useless stuff. I left all of the bread.

The Mac & Cheese is more creamy than cheesy; this was soupier than I've ever had before. It wasn't as good as I remember it. I prefer more cheese and less milk or cream.

My server today wasn't as good as I've had before, but she was efficient nonetheless. Not the best meal I've ever had at J Alexanders; but a comfortable time. They say good-bye as you leave. Very professional.

Review 2/24/12

J Alexander's, one of the oldest and best Houston's rip-off restaurants, has 33 locations nationwide and 7 in Florida. It's a nice restaurant with a clubby feel, with leather upholstered booths and a large bar area. They have a large parking lot and a convenient location on US1.

The bar seating here is uncomfortable for me; the bar seems too high. I've confirmed this with others, so I don't think it's just me, so for eating I prefer a booth.

Like Houston's but unlike most other chains, J Alexander's is not cheap. Prices lean towards expensive. There is no lunch menu, at least not with lunch portions or prices, and most of the entries are $20+, so unless you're up for a burger or a salad its an expensive lunch. Meat entrees come with 1 side, usually a starch, which you can sub out for a vegetable side but you'll pay extra if you want both.

This place is known for its prime rib; they have a 12oz Prime Rib for $24. They used to have a thick cut; or maybe they have a separate lunch menu now, but there was no thick cut option on the menu this time. J Alexander's doesn't make their menus available, but their menu is about the same as it was the last time I was here over 2 years ago. The menu we have here is about a year old.

Since my last visit, they've moved to the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) program, which is beef that is graded higher than Supermarket and lower than Prime. The last prime rib I had here was Select grade, which is very lean, but also not very good. Unlike J Marks, which advertises CAB but only their strip steak is CAB; all of J Alexander's beef is CAB, including the prime rib. So I decided to order it again, subbing out the mashed potatoes for a special side of Haricot Verts, which are green beans to us common folk.

It's a modest sized cut; normally I'd pay extra for the thick cut and take home a chunk for breakfast, but I ate this entire thing. Once you trim off the fat, it's about 10oz of beef. It was a very good piece of meat; the beans could have been cooked another minute but they weren't raw. I liked that they have grinders for both salt and pepper, but the salt grinder output grains that were too large and I found myself biting into a chunk of salt more than once.

If you're a lighter eater, you could get a prime rib sandwich, which is basically an 8oz prime rib slapped between bread for $18, and discard the bread for a smaller, proportionately priced option.

Service here is very professional; iced teas were delivered before finishing the previous one; I had 3 in all.

Since we don't have a Houston's in Fort Lauderdale, J Alexander's is a formidable alternative. The food and service is much better than the other J restaurant, and while it's not cheap, it's nice enough to consider for a special occasion lunch. If I wasn't dieting, I'd go for the Mac N Cheese here; the kids will love it, and so will you.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Administrator
Reply
I noticed that they've taken down the awnings and signage on the building, so it looks like this will officially be a Redland's Grill.
Bill T
Reply
As a longtime J Alexanders customer i will be blunt. The name sounds cheap. I would spend $50.00 for a drink a filet and a salad at J's. Redlands Grill sounds like a cheap burger joint or something from California like a yuppie bar and grill.

Also i noticed cheap standard paper towels in the mens room...yes nice towels increase the experience and value of your menu as dumb as that sounds.

Overall a bad idea and i will dare predict a decline in sales so drastic the doors close within 18 months.

I will no longer be eating there. There is an old saying...if it's not broken don't fix it!
Steve
Reply
I and my guests were completely dissapointed in a recent visit under the new ownership. I
always order the rotisserie chicken and received a tough, almost rubbery piece that was just luke warm, vastly different from previous experiences. A friend ordered the kabob and could hardly cut through the meat. At these prices and quality, there is no reason to return to what was one of the most consistent, quality experiences in Fort Lauderdale dining. I feel sorry for the wait staff.
Administrator
Reply
It's not new ownership. It's just a bonehead move by the same ownership.

I agree that J Alexander's has lost it's way. Greedy ownership has ruined the place.
June
Reply
Was there last Friday for my son-in-laws birthday. I ordered Filet Mignon but did not eat it all. It was the toughest filet I've ever eaten. When I sliced the balance for a sandwich it was streaked with fat. I don't feel I received what I ordered. At $35. I should have received what I ordered.
Administrator
Reply
Most restaurants will give you another if you get a bad one. To be fair, bad steaks happen. Choice Filet is only $11/lb wholesale so it's only a $6 piece of meat. Some mom and pop may pay a lot more, but to a chain it's just a blip.

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