Fratelli la Bufala

I went to Fratelli la Bufala almost a week ago and I am still dreaming about their lasagna.  Located on the corner of Washington and 5th, I’m sure everyone has driven past it without a second look.  Big mistake.  Huge.  After being featured on the Food Network for their calzones, the restaurant has experienced a serious increase in customer traffic.  Obviously, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Pre-date night movie, we arrived unsuspecting, ready for some pizza and generic Italian food; however, what we got was fresh, homemade, love-filled dishes that disappeared off our plates way too quickly.

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We started with complimentary bread, accompanied by balsamic vinegar and olive oil infused with red pepper flakes. The four of us split a Margharita pizza.  We also ordered (1) ricotta cheese gnocchi, served with fresh bufala mozzarella, cherry tomatoes & basil, (2) fresh homemade lasagna with bufala ragu’, ricotta and mozzarella, and (3) Paccheri sautéed bell peppers, eggplants, smoked bufala mozzarella & cherry tomato sauce. Fratelli imports its buffalo mozzarella daily.  The cheese is on practically every item and melts in your mouth. The pizza was amazing and different.  The crust was seriously delicious with some parts doughy, others slightly charred, and the rest a little crunchy.  The sauce created a bed for the fresh buffalo mozzarella. The same pizza sauce permeated throughout the rest of the meal and shined in the gnocchi dish.  The combination of al denté pasta, simple, delicate sauce, and fresh basil was outstanding. The gnocchi were little pillows of dough, swimming in a light tomato sauce. The heat from the sauce melted the cubes of fresh mozzarella into the pasta. The lasagna was on another level.  This lasagna was different from anything I’ve ever tried. I likened it to a layer cake that’s rested until the flavors have amalgamated and each layer becomes indistinguishable from another.  The fresh ricotta created a bed for the sauce and pasta and the basil added a grassy, lighter element. It was perfect.  I was too busy stuffing my face with lasagna to taste the Pacherri but everyone seemed to love it. The pasta resembled a combination of papardelle and rigatoni. The whole dish was aesthetically pleasing as well. I actually called the restaurant the next day and told the manager how much I loved the food. It sounds dumb, but when people put out great service and amazing food, I think they deserve to know.

Southfloridadines.com has a $15 for $30 certificate right now for Fratelli. I highly suggest you purchase one, head down to the beach, and taste for yourself.  And please bring me back a piece of lasagna. My craving is beginning to cloud my thoughts.

-Shari

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