Miami Living Magazine

Emily Procter

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FOOD Let It ROK ROK:BRGR burger bar + gastropub brings it Words by Martin Haro A décor inspired by the Prohibition Era. Sky-high, gourmet, delicious burgers. And a vibe that is all no-'tudes-allowed laidback. There's a place in Fort Lauderdale – yes, the affair continues… – that combines these three awesome ingredients to great effect, and that place is located in the 954's historic Himmarshee Village (which is like, a hop and a skip away from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the oh-so-lots-of fun Museum of Discovery & Science). It's ROK:BRGR burger bar + gastropub. And, trust, you want to gas up your car and grab a few friends and check it out. Since opening its doors last year, ROK:BRGR has been rockin' people's bones and earning their appreciation of those in the food-know. The joint racked up a number of awards in 2011, including Best Burger - 2011 as voted by readers of the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, as well as Best Burger from Local 10 and the New Times. Well-deserved kudos, alright. ROK:BRGR is an original —headed up by restaurateur Marc Falsetto and co-proprietor / beverage director: Mark Mughabghab. "I've been in this business forever," said Falsetto, a veteran of the South Florida restaurant scene. "I saw there was a need for this kind of restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, for a burger joint of substance." Substance is evident from the moment 74 MIAMI LIVING you walk into the 55-seat restaurant (outdoor seating is good for an extra 25 peeps). The brick walls and dim lights evoke underground rooms from a long-ago era. In fact, I mention it to Falsetto that it's such a darn shame Florida's terrain doesn't lend itself to one such room. It'd be just too cool to go down some stairs to a mysterious room for a nice meal, don't you think? The ROK-in' menu – which Falsetto designed himself (the $12 lobster corn dogs with spicy honey mustard are his personal faves) – features an impressive 18 hold-'em- with-two-hands burgers. There are chicken burgers, lamb burgers, and even an ahi tuna burger, a.k.a. the Riverwalk, a nod to Fort Lauderdale. In fact, the ingredients and composition of many of these burgers pay tribute to everything from a classic burger – which I had and loved because it was precisely that: classic – to the exciting traditional Cuban flavor of South Florida (the Cuban burger is topped with ropa vieja – neat trick, huh?). There even are burgers that serve as tips of the hat to Miami Heat MVPs Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, and both sound like complete slam-dunks. The former's made with like, 10 oz. certified Angus beef served on a sesame bun generously stuffed with four-year aged Vermont cheddar, a homemade chili, grilled jalapenos, and cilantro sour cream; while the latter combines 10 oz. of American wagyu with creamy brie cheese, beautifully roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and chipotle aioli in a brioche bun. Are you going "Yum!" yet? "I'm a Miami Heat fan," Falsetto said. "As soon as the team wins a championship we'll introduce a burger [inspired by Chris] Bosh." So, y' see…even though we're telling ya about a Fort Lauderdale place, there's a little bit of the Magic City at ROK:BRGR, too. And, lest y'all think we are trying to fatten you up, the joint is beyond-happy to healthy up its menu. "Any burger we have we can wrap in lettuce for you instead," Falsetto said. "And you can build your own, too, and make it as healthy or as decadent as you like." Now, that's what I like to hear. I, for one, will be going back. The restaurant has plenty I still want to try – the truffle fries were swell, but I really want to give the sweet potato fries a whirl, and the $10 short rib grilled cheese sounds like som'in' I need to get in my tummy ASAP. Plus, they have some real happy- sounding happy hours. Hello! For more information, visit call 954-525- 7656 or visit (reservations are not needed, but if you want to book a party, you should give 'em a heads up). ROK:BRGR burger bar + gastropub is at 208 S.W. 2nd St. in Fort Lauderdale. ML

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