Nestled between Commercial and Oakland Park Boulevards on North Federal Highway is where you’ll find the trendy, art-filled restaurant Mojo. Once inside, Mojo works its magic not only on your taste buds, but also on your ears, eyes, and liver. From weekly live music, to the owner’s own artwork hanging on the walls, to a great selection of cocktails, this place is redefining the restaurant scene up in Coral Ridge.
Opened in 2010, Mojo is the brainchild of New Jersey natives — and partners, in both business and life — Anthony DeMaio and Domenick Falcione. The place feels like a family business, which is how the owners like it. “When you walk in the door, you’re in our house!” declares DeMaio.
While DeMaio oversees the dining room, Executive Chef Falcione adds his personal mojo to every plate that comes out of the kitchen. But your plate is not the only you’ll experience Falcione’s handiwork in the front of the restaurant: The dining room walls are hung with the chef’s massive abstract paintings. See a piece you like? Well, you’re in luck because you can purchase any of his canvases — and add a little Mojo to your own place.
Many of Mojo’s menu items have been in Chef Falcoine’s repertoire for over 30 years. But a few fell victim to a force Floridians know all too well: Hurricane Irma. Just as the storm changed the landscape late last summer, she also drove DeMaio and Falcione to update some items on Mojo’s menu. Fan favorites like the Duck Breast ($28), 10oz Pork Chop ($26), and Salmon ($26) were rethought. Fortunately, guests have only raved about the new, elevated dishes.
From the moment I opened the menu, I knew I was in trouble: I wanted one of everything. But my eyes quickly zeroed right in on the Beef Carpaccio ($16), one of my all-time favorite appetizers, and a dish not many places offer these days. Deliciously tender raw beef is thinly sliced, drizzled with a spicy aioli, and topped with arugula, then finished with shaved Reggiano Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil. This savory masterpiece practically melts in your mouth.
For main courses, we chose the Home Style Meatloaf ($22) and one of Mojo’s “Fan Favorites,” the Duck Breast ($28). I hate to say it, but the meatloaf was better than my mom’s (Ma, if you happen to be reading this, my editor added that part. I swear!), and that is hard to achieve. From the roasted-garlic mashed potatoes, to the French green beans, to the shiitake-bacon-onion gravy, this dish is the comfort food we could all use these days. I’m not a huge fan of mashed potatoes, but Chef Domenick’s roasted-garlic spuds had my mouth watering, I’ve been absolutely feening for them ever since.
As for the Duck Breast, after the first bite we immediately understood why guests rave about this signature entrée. The moist flesh was pan-seared to perfection and presented beautifully. Topped with a brandied-fig and brown-sugar sauce, and served with sautéed French beans and rosemary-spiked risotto, this dish gave us life!
And the portions at Mojo are generous, so the life it gives will be a full one.
Mojo (4140 N Federal Hwy, Ft Lauderdale). M–Th 5–10pm; F–Sa 5–11pm. Happy Hour M–Sa 5–7pm. For reservations: 954-568-4443 or mojofl.com.